Welcome to the Dior Talks podcast series themed around the seventh edition of Dior Lady Art and hosted by Paris-based journalist Katya Foreman. For this year’s event, 11 artists from around the world have participated in a game of metamorphosis by rendering the iconic Lady Dior handbag as a unique piece of art.
Drawing on his life experience growing up in a mixed-race family, universal representations of the human experience remain central to the work of rising Californian artist Alex Gardner.
“I really wanted to make this generic avatar of a person that is sans identity,” says the artist whose stylized figurative paintings portray androgynous, featureless Black subjects.
Here, the artist chose to reinterpret his work ‘Malleability,’ depicting a hand pressing down on an ambiguous part of another figure.
“I was thinking about how easy it is to manipulate and get in the heads and control the actions of people,” says Gardner. “Fashion, for instance, has a lot of influence on culture, and then for anyone who wears the bag, it’s the influence they may feel they have on the room.”
Maintaining the bag’s silhouette and form, the artist, whose inspirations range from 16th century European art to movies, chose to experiment with materials. The bag’s lining is in a blazing shade of cadmium red and the exterior features a pearlescent, holographic molded leather suggesting draped fabric, while the body parts are in contrasting matte black velvet.
Being approached to participate in Dior Lady Art proved a creative curveball for the artist who is hoping to do more functional objects and three-dimensional work.
Concludes Gardner: “It was actually the perfect timing to face the challenge of making this very cool art object, but also maintaining a lot of functionality because, at the end of the day, I do want people to be able to use it as a bag. So, that push and pull.”
Tune into the episode to learn more about the artist’s fascinating universe.