–By Sally O’Dowd, CEO of Sally On Media
In a previous post, I said I would soon talk about fashion as creative expression, so this is a shameless plug. I was featured in BloombergBusinessweek’s fashion page earlier this spring.
In preparing for the Brooklyn photo shoot, reporter Arianne Chen asked me some questions about my thoughts on fashion.
I told her that I learned to appreciate fashion as an art form while living in Paris for two years. The French have a fashion sense all their own, and want to appear irreproachable in their attire and accessories–down to the smallest detail. Women wear jeans much less frequently than American women do. And dresses are key–the French see them as a huge sign of femininity.
- Ode to Givenchy by Ben Saulnier. 2013
Given my love affair with Paris designers, I guess it’s no wonder that the first piece of artwork I bought shortly after my 2012 return to NY was a fashion sketch. Created by up-and-coming artist Ben Saulnier, it reminded me of Givenchy’s 1980s conceptual drawings. I recently chatted with Ben, who graduates this year from the School of Visual Arts. Below is his take on creativity and doing something new every day.
Sally You’ve done so many sketches–of both men’s and women’s clothing– but you’re a painter, not a fashion designer. What’s that about?
Ben I thought, “What do I do everyday? I get dressed.
Sally We also eat everyday.
Ben I don’t like to repeat outfits so last August I started sketching daily outfits to decide what would look good and make an aesthetic statement.
Sally That is a lot of self-discipline. Something all of us creative types could learn from.
Ben In New York, there are so many distractions and it can be hard to stick to a routine. I had to find a way around it if I wanted to get a running start on my career. Even if I did the sketches in my dorm room, it motivated me to go to the SVA studio and work on larger pieces.
Sally Does your artistic discipline apply to other activities?
Ben Yes, it also inspired me to work out every day, even on days I don’t want to.
Sally And your outfits?
- Portrait of the artist.
Ben I want to show people that colors and fabrics don’t have to be exclusively masculine or feminine. A jacket in marigold yellow can be a strong statement, a really self-confident look. Paired with a satin shirt, you get two different sensations against each other. In fashion, like art, you can communicate an entire idea without saying a word.
Sally You’re going to Paris this summer to meet with gallery owners. How are you prepping?
Ben You have to be ready when opportunity knocks. I am constantly growing and changing my portfolio so I have current works to share. If you’re not constantly making things, no one will tell you to.
Ben is part of a group SVA show taking place April 26-28 at Studio 420, 335 W 16th between 8th and 9th.