Writer and fashion critic Charlie Porter released a book last month to warm critical acclaim. A labour of love, equally detailed and insightful, What Artists Wear is revealing analysis of the deceptive power of a creative’s clothing choice.
The genesis of the book formed during an evening at a Tate cocktail party in Venice to celebrate the start of Biennale. Cutting through the invitation’s dress code formality, Charlie observed 5 artists, Charlotte Prodger, Helen Marten, Magali Reus, Anthea Hamilton and Helen Cammock, all sporting considerably more self-expressive and causal attire.
Embracing the artists’ collective act of nonconformity, Charlie began to chart art’s relationship with clothing from a mighty 10,000BC, through the to 20th century’s leading visionaries like Delaunay, O’Keeffe & Basquiat to contemporaries that continue to amaze - Cindy Sherman, Andrea Zittel and the aforementioned five.
Expansive and authoritative, What Artists Wear is accompanied by an exemplary selection of photographs pulled from official archives and personal collections. Amongst these photographs is a portrait of Anthea Hamilton, taken by myself, which celebrates the intricate pattern paisley on page 280. It is an honour to be included amongst such esteemed work.
Shot during a lovely morning in one of London’s hidden gems, Bonnington Square, Anthea and I set about making a series of portraits before the sun rose too high and burned too harshly. The area had added personal significance with Anthea, as it was a key stomping ground during her years studying and developing her practice.
Here are a few more from that session.
I have had the pleasure to work with Charlotte Prodger too. Charlotte contributes to the book in the form of a fragmented personal journal anchored around her clothes through the decades. You can see my photographs of Charlotte and many other extraordinary people in my gallery called Creative Forces.
Thank you Charlie for choosing my portrait of Anthea for your wonderful book. I think Penguin Books has struck a little seam of gold, and I wish it continued success.