Artist Simeon Farrar turns his art into fashion and back the other way too.
Simeon Farrar is an artist who revels in all things paint-splattered and hand drawn. Having focused on his fashion business for the last seven years, Simeon made a welcome return to the art world with a mini-retrospective at The Basement Galley. i-D loved his mono-prints, rainbow shed and melted glass bottles, but what really caught our attention were the incredible T-shirts that accompany the exhibition. Artworks in their own right, the T-shirts are to be sold exclusively through Pyrus – the store/label who owns and operates the gallery.
i-D online photographed the rainbow brights on Conor Macklin and caught up with Simeon to talk art to fashion; fashion to art and the light at the core of us all.
How did the collaboration with Pyrus come about? I had worked with Agnes Mok before and when she joined Pyrus she kindly asked me if i’d like to exhibit at the gallery. It was a great idea as there aren’t many galleries that are so closely linked with fashion. It was a perfect opportunity for me. Lorraine and Ash are such open minded people that they made this such a joy for me. Not many galleries will let you paint wherever you like, I don’t think they said no to anything, even when the fire alarm went off as I was melting the wax bottles.
You last exhibited as an artist in 2001 – why did you choose to focus on fashion for so long? It wasn’t really a conscious choice. As an artist I was always working with different media and for a while fashion was just another medium for the art. It quickly turned into a business and I haven’t looked back since. Until now that is. It’s still all about the art ultimately even though it manifests itself as fashion. It’s all the same really.
What were your inspirations for the title ‘Of Rainbows and Halos’? Well a halo is another word for a rainbow and they both have interesting philosophical connotations, they’re both reflected light. I pretentiously wrote a poem to accompany the title. “We stand morose, near comatose. In a state of repose, we shoulder woes. As loneliness grows, our weariness shows. And nobody knows, that we are composed. Of Rainbows And Halos.” I like the idea of us all being made up of light.
This is a mini retrospective – would you consider exhibiting entirely new works at some point? I would love to exhibit all new work. Some of the main pieces in the show are based on things I have done in Japan and Hong Kong over the years and I was so proud of them that it’s great to be able to show them in London. It was all going to be old work at one point but then I got so into making the new pieces, like the Halo Girl mono prints and the works on silk, that they make up most of the show. However, the last thing our cramped studio needs is more paintings coming in so I need everyone to get down to the gallery and take them off my hands.
The rainbow t-shirts are super – tell us about them… Even though it was an art show I wanted there to be a clear link to the fashion label. So I thought it would be quite cool to make a range of T-shirts that used some of our most successful prints from over the years but print them all in rainbow colours. The 3 colour screen printing process makes them extra special as the more you print the more the colours merge into each other giving a wider spectrum.
Simeon Farrar: Of Rainbows and Halos is on at The Basement Gallery at 10 Newburgh Street until 24th November.
Text and Styling: Aaron Walker
Portrait Photography: John de Lima
Model: Conor Macklin
Hair Stylist: Meggie Cousland using Bumble and Bumble