Tuesday, April 15, 2014

STELLA CHANG, Artist and Designer

I was once Madame Fifi's student at Novi High School and when she asked me to guest-blog on laughter effects, I said "yes" without really knowing what to write. Indeed, I was the kind of kid who loved French but was always too shy to express myself properly. In fact the only times in my life that I am able to express myself with confidence is through my art. 

So I think the best way for me to write this post is to tell my story through my own illustrations and nutty fashion creations. (So be warned, this post is likely to meander as freely as my thoughts do!)

I'm a visual artist working in the fashion world.

Point of View, April 12 2014 Mix Media                                                 Self Portrait, 2013

In fashion, everyone has to have a strong point of view because to be in the "middle" is no place for a designer's future. Either you are leading the flock with your aesthetic vision or you are being led. As for me, my natural inclination to art has evolved into an interesting take on fashion, so much so that it has become an impactful visual statement that legitimizes my nutty thoughts. Or so I hope. 

Intersection between art and fashion, or ModaRévisé, that's what I do. A little rebellious and a little in your face, I like to create fashion objects inspired by art, and create art inspired by fashion. Then deconstruct both with my imagination. 

My naive ambition drove me to create a handbag collection called Black Iris Without Black in 2012, inspired by American artist Georgia O'Keeffe's Black Iris flower paintings. To capture its elegance, I used origami technique on leather to-recreate the flower itself, a time consuming process so hated by the pattern makers that I thought it was a lost cause.  

Black Iris by Georgia O'Keffe                                   Black Iris Satchel by me

Until I received a personal letter of recognition from Anna Wintour. 
Letter from Anna Wintour, 2012

As for my process, I like to work in a free-associating and unstructured manner during the conception stage, where I start hand illustrating images that flash through my head without editing. 

The culmination looks something like the below concept illustration called Matuschka, or Russian Glory. A visual narrative of color scheme, texture, and the feel of the overall look of the collection.  

Matuschka Concept Illustration, 2013

From there, it was all about figuring out how to faithfully translate Matuschka the concept of Russian opulence and glamour into Matushka the Pouchette and Satchel

Matuschka Pouchette, 2013.
Matuschka Satchel, 2013. 

There are other times I just want to indulge myself in whatever I fancy at the moment such as fashion icon Marie Antoinette. Not a new inspiration but very few designers realized the color she wore to her death was actually white. Therefore my obsession became the "white" that Marie Antoinette wore to the guillotine. 

Pandora Concept Illustration, 2013.

So I played with white, lots and lots of white satin twill to make Pandora Pouchette with detachable onyx necklace. 

Pandora Ad, half photograph half illustration, 2013. 

During this time, the trend of photo-realism was all the rage, and I thought why not adapt the trend into Pandora's ad campaign by creating ads that are half photographed and half illustration? A strange mixture of visual realities where the artistic truly meets the fashionable. 

This is what I do, I am a visual artist working in fashion, and I welcome you to follow my journey through ModaRévisé.