Drawn from fashion

"Style" by Marcos Chin at Brooklyn Public Library
“Style” by Marcos Chin at Brooklyn Public Library

Can you believe it’s December tomorrow? This year has gone crazy fast, and all the Christmas decorations, gift guides and carols that popped up before the Thanksgiving hangover had even subsided are a scary reminder of 2012 being all but done. The fact we’re nearly in December also means I’ve left it way too long to tell you about a fantastic free exhibition happening at the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch (my office). But December 1 – tomorrow! – is the last day of the exhibition, so hurry and check it out!

Design sketch from NY label Ruffian
Design sketch from NY label Ruffian

Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look showcases the fabulous work of Brooklyn and New York-based illustrators from the past few decades. It’s a small exhibition, with different artists’ works scattered around the building, but what could be sweeter than stumbling upon beautiful drawings while waiting for an elevator or having walked into an unfamiliar hallway? Illustrating fashion is a unique art, striving to evoke the movement, texture and colour of clothing along with less tangible qualities like mood, the designer’s voice and the artist’s personal style. Quite a juggling act for the artist trying to weave together their own vision with an interpretation of the designer’s work that will appeal to both the fashion industry and those who will ultimately wear it. This exhibition shows work in a range of media, from pencil sketches and sweeping ink linework to ethereal watercolours, computer-generated imagery and even masking-tape!

It’s interesting to see how fashion illustration has evolved over time, with trends and the innovations of new artists, but I think the bold, fluid, sexy lines of the pieces by Antonio Lopez are my favourite. His work was groundbreaking in the field, he both influenced and mentored many who followed in his footsteps – Carlos Aponte, also on show at BPL, was mentored by him. And Lopez was a fascinating fixture of the New York scene of the 70s, pally with Andy Warhol and the glamour set. There’s a great photograph of him drawing a statuesque Jerry Hall up on the second floor near the Popular Library, along with more of Lopez’s work.

Illustrations by Antonio Lopez at Brooklyn Public Library

Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look features work by: Anja Kroenke, Antonio Lopez, Autumn Whitehurst, Carlos Aponte, Don Oehl, Elaine Pedlar, Izak Zenou, Jennifer Lilya, Marcos Chin, Richard Haines, Samantha Hahn and Sara Singh. The exhibition is flawlessly curated by Brandon Graham. If you’re interested in fashion illustration, or pretty things in general, his website is a fantastic resource.

Fashion Illustration: A Contemporary Look is on view at the Brooklyn Public Library (near Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza) until December 1.

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