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This article will mark the first in a series of regular artist and designer features. The individuals that I’ll be writing about will be connected in some way to the digital medium through their creative process. In my own practice, I’m always looking for new ways to push myself out of the comfort zone. Exploring and studying the way other successful professionals in the arts industry work, is one of the most effective ways of opening up fresh developments in our own making.To get the ball rolling, I’m going to present the work of the talented Julianna Bass, a fashion designer who has gained recognition as an innovator in her field.
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Maxine Noth, director of Haute Presents, explains why she decided to introduce me to Bass.
I wasn’t at all surprised that Bass had developed a fascination for incorporating the digital medium into her designs once I’d discovered that the original idea for her brand began in Berlin, where she used to live and work. Berlin is well known for being one of the leading pioneering capitals of fine art created with new technologies.
“I am interested in exploring a subtle fusion of tech and luxury fashion.” She mentioned, in the build-up to the launch of her SS17 collection which was premiered at the New York fashion Week in September 2016.
The process of putting together the SS17 collection involved a partnership with Slovenian artist Blaz Kutin who’s photography was digitally infused into her works. Kutin takes photographs of urban fragments; the unremarkable eroded street surfaces that capture his interest, are rendered without digital enhancement on a monumental scale and transformed into powerful abstract compositions.
I think it’s encouraging that digital artists are embracing opportunities to work alongside rising designers such as Bass. It makes sense on so many levels.
The designer benefits from having access to a never-ending source of inspiration that gives her creations their uniqueness. The artist gains that all important recognition, not only from the fashion world, but above all from the designer who in a sense becomes their patron.Bass talked to me about the process of incorporating an artist’s work into her designs. She explained how a mutually beneficial agreement between herself and the artist is created. As such, the artist sells her the rights to use and (within reason) rearrange the digital original. The artist has to be happy with Bass’s interpretation in the final outcome and of course is credited when their work is featured. In this project, Haute Presents acts as curator and artist agent.
Once Bass has chosen specific art works, she then selects, plays with and reorganizes these back in the studio using applications such as photoshop to help her refine and prepare the final edited images ready for printing onto textiles. In the same way that I might oversee the printing of my Giclee reproductions, Bass is present throughout the all important finishing stages. Once she’s happy with the colour quality, the printed material is then cut and fashioned using the usual traditional methods.
The results are incredibly powerful. She describes her creations as a: ‘Post-apocalyptic cocktail: a dreamscape of honeyed calamity, oblivious opulence and drunk femininity—shaken, not stirred.
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