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But is it Art?

December 13, 2010

Andy Warhol created art out of a can of soup. It hangs as a series in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Roy Lichtenstein took a panel from a comic book, blew it up and created his style using the dot pattern from the screen print as a focal point. It worked. He hangs right next to Andy.

Fashion art and commercial art, as graphic design was once called, is usually created to sell something. A fashion designers’ latest creation or Andy’s can of soup. It was churned out fast, often weekly, in time for Sunday’s newspaper (deadline was 6 pm on Wednesday) and after it’s run, shoved into files like any other requisition form. Getting no respect. But now, and maybe it’s because fashion art really is a ‘lost’ art, something has moved it out of the commercial, making it worthy of slipping into a frame to hang on a wall. Is it the medium used? Charcoal and watercolors? Or the subject matter? Beautiful women in dramatic poses and flowing gowns? Maybe the style? As tightly rendered as a photograph or loose as an abstract painting? Just what is that special ‘something’ that jumps the boundaries of commercial art and makes a piece worthy of framing? Maybe adding an overhead spotlight if you really dig it?

I believe that’s determined by you. By us. It’s art simply if you say it is. If we say it is. In my mind, fashion art IS art. I was convinced over blah-blah years ago when I tore the illustrations of Kenneth Paul Block and Steven Stipleman from the Vogue and Butterick pattern books and taped them to the wall of my little bedroom back in Chicago. My young and impressionable mind was made up then. Fashion art IS art. And I hope when you see our gallery offerings you’ll feel the same way, too.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 8:10 pm

    I recall in the 60s, (maybe the 70s) the Toronto Star started printing these full page fashion illustrations. The work stood alone with no advertising next to it. I didn’t take notice of the artist at the time but I recall being so impressed with the work.

  2. December 22, 2010 6:43 pm

    Interesting David. The illustrations weren’t ads for a dept. store?

  3. January 11, 2011 9:21 am

    I agree! Anything that evokes an emotional response is art, really. That is the best thing about it, the creative mind can be set free, and the rest of the world benefits!

    • January 11, 2011 7:14 pm

      Yes. The rest of the world benefits. What a lovely thought, Anne-Marie. Thank you.

  4. January 17, 2011 1:07 pm

    I wish publications would use more illustrations. I could use the work.

    • January 17, 2011 1:32 pm

      Perhaps the pendulum will swing back this way but I’ve gotta tell you, Newman, it’s been decades now and I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

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