“Numerous galleries do artwork festivals, however the problem for us has been that we didn’t actually match with the extremely edited festivals like Frieze and Art Basel, and what you would possibly name straight up to date artwork — we have been at all times going to be the odd one out,” says William Ling, founding father of the Fashion Illustration Gallery. His answer: to create FIGAF, his personal Fashion Illustration Gallery Artwork Honest. Final yr’s inaugural occasion was so profitable that the second will probably be held subsequent week.
That trend illustration is an artwork kind on the rise grew to become clear to Ling a while in the past when he began to promote his spouse Tanya’s work. “I used to be promoting it to associates after which associates of associates and I realised that when your precept inventive identification is that of a trend illustrator you possibly can’t really promote your work anyplace, and I believed there actually must be a gallery doing it.” So 10 years in the past he opened his. Now he has a roster of names together with Gill Button, Richard Grey and David Downton.
On the subject of fashionable trend illustration all roads result in Downton, who has been a number one title for greater than 20 years and can also be the superstar portrait artist for Vainness Honest. He has witnessed how the medium itself suffers the vagaries of trend. “It waxes and wanes, but it surely’s at all times there,” he muses. “So long as now we have trend designers there will probably be artists to interpret their work. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Collectors too will at all times be round, slowly edging the costs up — though that is undoubtedly nonetheless a extra inexpensive space of the artwork market. At Sotheby’s New York a current archive of Kenneth Paul Block trend illustrations, estimated to fetch $three,000-$5,000, offered for $16,250. In 2011 some René Gruau works offered at Christie’s for thrice their estimate, attaining £10,000 every. Common costs for authentic sketches on the Fashion Illustration Gallery run from about £2,000-£10,000; its bestselling artists are Downton and Ling.
Works by Gruau, Sir Cecil Beaton and Romain De Tirtoff — often known as “Erté” — typically function in Christie’s interiors auctions, “attracting lengthy-time period collectors, inside designers and artwork lovers in the beginning of their amassing journey”, says Krassimira Kuneva, a high-quality artwork specialist at Christie’s. She factors to current targeted exhibitions which have sparked a wider curiosity in the style on the Barbican and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has its personal trend illustration assortment.
Claridge’s resort has been busy in the sector, too, working with Downton as its trend artist in residence. “Though we're maybe higher identified for our trend images in the resort, now we have additionally lengthy been followers of trend illustration, with work from René Gruau and Carl ‘Eric’ Erickson already gracing our partitions. Once we met David Downton, we hatched a plan to get him to ask lots of our style and trend friends to take a seat and be drawn,” explains Paula Fitzherbert of the Maybourne resort group, which incorporates Claridge’s. The resort will quickly unveil a wall of a few of Downton’s portraits, together with Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane von Furstenberg.
And trend illustration has been having fun with a extra intimate relationship with trend itself currently. Tanya Ling is presently engaged on a collaboration with Nina Ricci, for example, and Helen Downie has been working with Gucci since she was found below her working title (and Instagram deal with) of @unskilledworker. Many credit score social media with the expansion in curiosity of the medium and Ling linked with a variety of the brand new artists at this yr’s FIGAF through Instagram.
Wendy Yu, the 27-year-outdated philanthropist, trend “frower” and founding father of Yu Capital, first received hooked on trend illustration when she moved to London to review aged 15, and snapped up her first illustration at a market. “It wasn’t a well-known piece,” she says, but it surely was the beginning of her life as a collector (she additionally collects couture clothes). “[This is] an artwork kind that crosses cultures and continents seamlessly; it’s an ideal bridge for each trend and artwork.” Her assortment features a private portrait by Downtown and two Hermès luggage personalised by Ling.
Yu’s agency is sponsoring this yr’s FIGAF, and he or she hopes she could take the truthful overseas. “One in all my missions is to be a bridge between east and west, particularly in the artwork and cultural change area, so that's one thing I’m undoubtedly contemplating. With personalisation so necessary in the posh area I can see the development of Asian women commissioning western artists to color on their luggage or fee portraits and I might love to have the ability to join these sides.”
June 30-July 2
Pictures: Fashion Illustration Gallery