Couture embroidery in the paintings of Canadian artist Sean Alistair
Sean Alistar- a young artist who creates paintings in mixed technique: paint and embroidery. He lives and works in Canada, in the city of Vancouver.
“My art is a visual journal and the memories of my life. I grew up in a house of artists and musicians, where creativity is a common activity. But when I was a child, we did not have enough money to buy art materials. Fortunately, my caring parents allowed me to use everything I found in the house for creativity. Mom taught me how to sew, and dad taught me how to use tools. My love of art has been realized.
Later, I visited Langley Fine Arts, which is the highest school of fine arts in Fort Langley. There I studied art with a focus on photography. In senior courses, I took a course in textiles, where I learned how to embroider: it was like I finally learned how to communicate. Upon graduation, I received the Hyeon Award for embroidery skills.
After graduation, I started a career as a visual merchandiser and studied fashion, working on my art only as a hobby. At the same time I had a constant longing for self-expression. After certain unpleasant events in my life, I realized how important art is for me, and began experimenting with materials. Without learning, discussion, or even the slightest idea of what to do, I began to create. Then, having a picture of a blooming field in my head, I began to embroider. After almost seven years without a craft, it was as if I finally spoke again after a long silence.
The time spent in the fashion industry greatly influenced my work. I am constantly inspired and focus on the largest houses of high fashion. I like to combine love of nature and experiments with materials used in couture. I use the lessons I learned in my teens, applying experience in creating each picture.
The most important thing for me is that the work is live, it changes depending on the lighting, inspires and surprises. I deliberately add details and use materials that can only be seen at a certain angle, or when the light falls consistently with the perfect guide. ”
Exclusive Interview with Sean Alistar
- Why did you choose the pictures as a reflection of your creative vision? Why not clothes or jewelry?
- Drawing inspiration in fashion, I show it on the canvas. With the help of pictures I can refer to the widest audience. Unfortunately, clothing as an object of art repels some people.
- Nature in your paintings looks abstract, but on your tattoos - realistic, why is that? What do you like more: fantasy or realism?
- I am influenced by many different styles of art and aesthetics. I decided to make myself a tattoo, being inspired by old botanical designs. I liked the idea of being covered with drawings, and not necessarily classic tattoos. I apply the same principle to my works, creating abstract paintings, not in the classical technique, but with the help of fabric and threads. In the process of creativity I always aim to surprise using non-standard techniques.
I can not choose between fiction and realism. But the direction in which I create my work can be called an interpretation of the simplest and often overlooked aspects of reality through the prism of science fiction.
Work on the painting "Holiday"
- What materials do you work with? And with what you do not work, but want to work in the future?
- I can not list the materials with which I work, because on my canvas, I can use anything. In addition to the usual fabric, threads and beads, I also use paints, pastels, pencils and even furniture lacquer. I really want to put in a box with unused silver door keys, which my father saved from the trash can and brought home for me. I do not quite know how I will work with them, but I am sure that this will be something in the context of inspiration from frost and ice.
Materials to work on the painting "Meadow"
- Usually women who are engaged in embroidery, like to buy materials for creativity in reserve and often many of them consider themselves to be “hamsters” in this business. You are a man who does embroidery. I think women embroiderers will be very interested to know how your workplace looks like, how you store materials, what you have in stock and how much, where you buy materials.
- I am an organized and loving clean person and a bit minimalist, but usually I collect and store everything that I can use in the future.I work in my apartment and have dedicated most of its space to my craft. I store materials for creativity in boxes, baskets or on a shelf opposite the desktop. I do not consider this to be something distracting or messy, because seeing my materials and art books, I'm not only motivated, but also very inspired. At the beginning of each work, I usually clear the space and postpone everything, then I take only what I will use.
Most of my materials come from handicraft shops, but I also use materials from fishing and hardware stores. I am always looking for some special materials from which my work will be born. If this can be sewn to the fabric or put a needle in the eyelet, I will always find a way to work with it. Two of my favorite stores are Opus Framing and Art Supplies and Dressew, which are local companies here in Vancouver.
Workplace, work on the picture "Warrior"
- I suppose, during the training of embroidery among your classmates there were more girls than guys. Based on your experience, is there a difference between how a woman embroiders and how a man does it?
"The main difference between how I embroider myself and how embroider women I know is that I tend to be a bit rude and aggressive.I think that, in general, women work more gently and subtly where I am not afraid to spoil something or destroy the work that I spent weeks on. Sometimes expressive painting or cutting is what the picture may need. So it was with the picture “Light and Magic”: I covered most of it with white paint, having spent more than a month before it on embroidering and stitching hundreds of hand-cut out circles. At the same time, it can be said that I am also not very careful, once I spilled paint on the job and just continued with what I did. I like the idea of mistakes and the unexpected result obtained from a complete rejection of control in the process of drawing. I often splashed or dripped the dye onto the canvas before starting to embroider, allowing the color to tell where to start.
"Light and magic"
- Sean, please tell us how is the creation of each work? What are the stages, how long do they last? Is the finished work always the same as the original ideas?
- Each picture begins with three different types of inspiration. The first is always my emotional state at this moment. Secondly, what sphere of nature I want to portray. And the third is just color.As soon as I have a basic idea of what I want to create, I am reviewing the work of high fashion houses in search of ideas for the appearance of the picture. I make sketches of form and scale in my sketchbook, and then I start working on the canvas.
Most of the pictures begin with the creation of a paint background to set the depth and outline the shape of the embroidery. Then I embroider. I usually begin work with thick threads, and then turn to thin ones; I use the same principle with beads and sequins - from large to small. As soon as the embroidery is completed, I stretch it on the frame. After that, I look at how it looks and decide whether to add more paint and materials. Depending on the size and scope of the work, the process can take from several days to several weeks, and the result rarely coincides with the very idea that was originally in my head. It's always a little scary, but every picture is an adventure.
- Do you put into the content of the picture a certain social message about art, nature, people, relationships?
- I believe that there is nothing that could not be discussed with the help of art.Every picture I create has a deep concept and a personal message embedded in it. In my works, I revealed such concepts as loneliness or isolation, the feeling of invisibility or misunderstanding, as well as self-esteem or an idea of inner strength. I believe that it is very important to create something truly beautiful from the pain that I experienced and let people know that they are not alone in their experiences. I was stunned when I first started sharing the concepts of my work with Instagram, but also quickly realized how many people are experiencing the same thing as me. Coverage of my story in such a public forum was one of the most positive results of my work, it was very healing. I can not even express all my gratitude for the kindness of people who responded to my work.
- What are your creative plans for the future?
—My current goal is to first become more experienced in my craft. I don’t want to feel like a master, instead I want to challenge my concepts, materials and quality of work. In addition, my second goal is to work on a personal exhibition.I never wanted to create art, to earn money and be famous, I began to create these works because I wanted to speak out and emotionally inspire other people. Unfortunately, through the Internet it is very difficult to show all the little things that I have invested in my work, so it is important for me to show them so that people can experience this experience personally. I add so many details to my work that many can only be seen at a certain angle or when light hits them.
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