ART SPACE Part I:
PIMP MY MAG x Quattrocento
Quattrocento has collaborated with young artist Paola, also known as PIMP MY MAG, in order to revive and reinterpret an already existing campaign, showcasing her amazing talent and passion. Her work is based on fashion magazines’ ads and editorials on which she adds another layer by drawing on top of them and giving them another dimension. In our extremely insightful and interesting interview she shares her inspiration, working process, connection to fashion and the importance of collaborating.
What led you initially to “pimp” your magazines?
I started PIMP MY MAG a few months ago for fun and now it has become a personal artistic project. I was at my parent’s place browsing my copy of Lampoon Magazine when I started painting on the pages with my Posca (specific pen). I didn’t plan things in advance. I wasn’t thinking about drawing, I just let it happen. I started improvising guided by instinct, remembering when me and my sis were two little girls painting the faces of models on our mom’s fashion magazines with bright markers. Big red lips and big blue eyes were our signature.
Now PIMP MY MAG is something different. Inspiration and ideas change for every trio of images I create. I choose a mood, something that inspires me, that evokes suggestions of faraway eras, of imaginary worlds from movies, books, music, subcultures, artistic movements. My work is a constant research for inspiration. Then I sketch my ideas, my vision, straight on the pages with pencil before using my Posca.
What are your favorite magazines to pimp/read and why?
I really like to pimp The Fashionable Lampoon. I literally love its high quality paper and size, both perfect for my works. The magazine’s staff pays a lot of attention to details. Fashion editorials are always amazing, very attractive to my eyes; a temptation impossible to resist. Dazed & Confused is my go-to reference magazine for fashion, style and culture. I love it because it mixes high and low culture, identifying and giving voice to new trends and subcultures while also having a non-reverential relationship with the celebrities or the fashion system.
What’s the inspiration behind your work and how would you describe your art in few words?
My goals are to reinterpret the popular and cultural references that accumulate and overlay in my head and also to react to the constant stimuli of the current digital era in order to digest them into a new and personal aesthetic vision and a very personal concept of beauty.
Through the use of superimposed hand drawn illustrations on the covers of magazine and fashion editorials for mass distribution, I personalize them and therefore transform them into unique pieces.
Through this form of creative recycling, I build a new vision and mood while stratifying new images on top of old ones. By making these pieces unique, I extend their shelf life and alienate them (and perhaps save them) from the looming, inevitable “new issue” cycle while introducing the concept of a series of one-of-a-kind pieces.
Particularly at a time of uber-fast and superficial consumption, PIMP MY MAG makes the cultural reference and visual suggestions evoked by the photographic print images explode to give them a new meaning.
Are you personally interested in fashion and what is happening in the industry?
I studied Fashion Marketing and Styling and Editing for Fashion. I worked as Fashion Stylist, so, yes, I definitely have a personal and professional interest in fashion.
The fashion industry is living a moment of deep crisis and hordes of tweets and Instagram posts accelerate the product cycles.
Social media is quite literally disintegrating the concept of time in fashion therefore destroying the seasonality of fashion collections while also drastically reducing their lifecycle so that brands are either forced to sell their collections with them whenting the runaway (as Versace’s case) or to produce more and more “capsule” collections in order to constantly entertain an audience already immune to the appeal of the latest collection, seen again and again on the web, in order to keep their interest alive. When these collections arrive into stores, the Internet audience has already consumed them and digest them through an army of tweets and Instagram posts. In this regard, I found extremely brave and praiseworthy the choice made by Massimo Giorgetti, MSGM’s and Pucci’s creative director, to forbid all social media sharing of photos of his runaways in order to allow his collection’s lifecycle to take his natural course and his audience to plunge into his fashion shows without any filters. Certainly, I am not suggesting that we have to go back to the ‘600 and its lifeless poupée de mode. It would be, to say the least, an anachronistic way of divulging fashion in our day and age, but it’s necessary to question the status quo. We need a new fashion system that dictates its own timing without being subjected only to the needs of the market in order to avoid fashion becoming merely business at the expense of its cultural, innovative, experimental and research components.
The user/consumer is way too disoriented and exposed to a myriad of different messages and so risks to be guided in his/her choices only by a consumeristic instinct and to almost become a victim of the system, too incapable to evaluate the quality of a good product if not based on the number of Likes and unable to build his/her own fashion sense.
The vision and aesthetic deriving from this broken system change constantly and often don’t even have the time to settle. The transition between underground and mainstream doesn’t satisfy social and cultural dynamics and needs, but only economic ones.
We need to be careful that fashion, devoid of its cultural value, is not replaced only by clothes.
Who are the artists/designers you look up to and why?
Molly Goddard — Fashion designer Her vision is the one that represents me the most at the moment. In her collections, Molly Goddard introduces wide frilled gowns made with tulle, organza, satin, taffeta and corduroy. Her dresses recall the ones that our mothers would have made us wear as little kids, re-invoking a sense of nostalgia. Through her tulle dresses Molly Goodard breathes life into an ideal of femininity that’s beyond old, out-dated stereotypes. Her model is a sort of contemporary fairy tale princess. Her femininity is romantic yet not affected, playful, and a little childish; a femininity that refuses to force the female body into structures that aren’t ergonomic or that sacrifice comfort in the name of sensuality. And also a femininity that perfectly combines dresses adorned with smocking and embroideries, frills and layers of tulle with a pair of sneakers. It’s like Molly Goddard asserted that there is no contradiction between wearing a fluffy, pink, lacy dress and being an independent woman conscious of what she wants and what she can achieve. I couldn’t agree more.
Grace Wales Bonner — Fashion designer is one of my absolute favourite designers. Through her collections, she creates and gives voice to a new aesthetic code and she does so through a creative process that originates from the appropriation and reinterpretation of the stereotype toward African Americans developed by a white colonialist society. She may be the only designer who can tackle such a delicate and political theme as racial representation and black culture and who can explore it through her men’s collections. Through her clothes, she analyses black male identity and mainstream society’s perception of it, which is often not depicted as aggressive, urban, and hyper-sexualized. She very aptly uses her refined, precious, dapper, and vaguely 70s clothes, adorned with accessories and hats that emphasizes their symbolic value, to construct a deep political meaning meant for an audience that’s initially only interested by the novelty of the collection and unaware of its political message.
These cultural references, however, strike a chord and convey and spread a message that challenges the status quo and therefore changes the perception of century-old stereotypes. Her desire to be political through fashion is not only extremely fascinating, but also admirable and so is the path through which she achieves her vision. It’s enough to check her website or Soundcloud to get a sense of it.
Paula Knorr e TAGS by Giulia Collina — Fashion designers German the first, Roman the second, they are both two young emerging designers with two different career paths, but commonalities in their collections’ concept and vision. Both designers are inspired by the 90s: Giulia Collina in grunge terms, while Paula Knorr in glam terms. They both introduce a new woman that is sensual, confident, and comfortable in her clothes and style.
I see strong references to Maffesoli’s tribes and to the desire of belonging to a social group and sharing an aesthetic code — clear signs of the desire drive along to a certain subculture. They both work with attentive research of textiles and with transparencies. Giulia Collina uses tulle underskirts and tank tops in bold colors combined with textiles in different textures, expressing the grunge style through cuts, tears, and smears. Paula Knorr, instead, uses metallic textiles with bold colours and floating tassels like cheerleader pom-poms sewn into transparent spandex fabric in order to create a look that winks at rave aesthetic.
Gill Button — Artist I adore her paintings. I consider her an extraordinary painter both stylistically and technically. Her portraits are so expressive and the eyes of the women she paints seem to communicate their emotions. The look and makeup of her subjects are always amazing. I love the way she uses color on the canvas, how it blends creating different shades and shadows on their skin and around the eyes. By looking at the pictures of her paintings on Instagram, I feel like I could touch the texture of the color.
Lauro Samblas — Artist An artist of tridimensional collage who revolutionizes and makes each image unique by mixing it with different materials.
La Fille Bertha — Artist An Italian, Sardinian to be precise, artist and illustrator. I find her vision and her floating female characters always immersed in imaginary places irresistible. I really like the way she photographs her artwork, the shots she picks, the perspective she draws, and the continuous impeccable choice of palette.
Do you see yourself as an emerging artist and is this the profession you see yourself doing in the future?
At the moment I’m focused on my PIMP MY MAG project. In my opinion, nothing happens by chance and everything comes full circle. Since I was a little girl, I had an interest in art and fashion. I still have the notebook on which I drew my first fashion sketches. I was 8 or so.
In all these years I never stopped drawing or paintings even if I didn’t go to an art school. I’m a self-taught artist. My art school was watching my grandfather paint in his studio. He was a painter and I was totally fascinated by him and his microcosm of dirty brushes, palettes, large canvases and smell of turpentine. I never limited myself to one style or medium. I used oil colours, acrylic colours, watercolours, oil pastels, markers and graphics tablet. I like to draw by hand as well as with my Mac.
Art has been a constant part of my life and PIMP MY MAG is a perfect synthesis of my personal, professional and academic backgrounds. Each piece I create is simultaneously an extension of the past — where I’ve come from and what I’ve learned — as well as a preview of the future, the place where I’m going and where I want to go. My art is a journey, a constant evolution that by definition never stops.
Describe the importance of collaborating, for you personally as well as in general.
I believe that every collaboration represents a challenge with oneself. It allows us to measure with something different and to compare to one another instead of becoming too self-referential. For me a collaboration is an opportunity to expand and enrich my vision, to learn to look at my art each time from a different point of view, distancing myself from it in order to look it as new.
According to you, how important is it to connect fashion and art?
It’s not only important, I think it’s something inevitable in a way. I see fashion as a form of art. Like art, fashion is a language to express a concept, a vision. Since the beginning art and fashion haven’t been just reflecting the times around them, they also helped shaping them.
What’s your favorite pair of Quattrocento glasses and why?
Sixtille. These sunglasses have a vintage allure. I really like the strong angular design highlighted by black on the upper part of the glasses and balanced and made softer by the mix with a black and white spotted pattern on the bottom. On your IG profile I also saw a preview of the new Aguaplano. They look amazing, so tribal. I like them a lot.