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Max Mollison, inspired…

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Our latest exhibition, Current, features nine creatives and their works inspired by items in the Museum’s textile collection. In a series of blog interviews we introduce the artists. 

How would you describe your work and aesthetic?

My work is rich with narratives – every piece I make has a story. My aesthetic is built around pop culture references and nostalgia. I like to evoke a memory, an emotion, an obsession or a smile, so that viewers will identify with my work and form an emotional connection.

Who is the Max Mollison girl or guy you are designing for?

I used to say the Max Mollison brand is what Romy and Michele would wear to their next high school reunion; I still say that. My audience is youthful or young-at-heart. 

 

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Describe your creative process from conception to completion.

With everything I make, I try to follow four main design principles: the use of technology, innovation, illusion, and storytelling. With these in mind, I describe what I want to make in words. So often I will have a really good idea, try to draw it, the drawing looks bad, and I become discouraged. I am much more likely to be content with something if I don't draw it. Also, drawing an idea sets a limit to what it can be. If you don't have any preconceived notions of what a piece looks like, it could progress further into your wildest dreams. It’s like writing a sentence and not putting full a stop at the end… the things I create will never be finished. Kinda like what Walt Disney said, ‘Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.’

Why did you choose this particular object from the Museum collection?

It was mysterious and glaringly obvious at the same time. You can look at it and think ‘oh it’s a …, but wait, is it? The in-between space of unknown and obvious identification made me realise it can be anything I want it to be. I can bring this object’s narrative into the current day. The mystery behind the object opened it up to the questions: Who wore this? Where were they going? Are they what they look like? What is this? And it sparked my imagination and excitement.

What do you think the value of museum collections are?

I have always loved the Museum, but am newly fascinated with it since viewing the basement collections. What I've found most interesting is that the collections archive today’s world. I have always wondered what defines the current decade. In ten years what will we find and say ‘that is soo 2017’? It blows my mind that the Museum pinpoints these objects and garments in context in their collections, so we can look back in 20, 50, or 100 years and see what was ‘soo 2017’.

What environment do you like to work in?

I work a lot at night-time. I don't listen to music but I have TV series playing – different shows playing for the various things I'm working on, so when I've finished the garment/object/project it reminds me of that specific show. It also greatly influences the title of the piece – that’s why a lot of the things I make appear unrelated to their titles. The process dictates the title, not its appearance, theme, or originating idea. With the Current project I watched a lot of The O.C., Lizzie McGuire and The Nanny.

 

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Where do you draw your inspiration from and what inspires you most?

Television inspires me most – cartoons mainly. That’s why a lot of my designs have a 2D, flat look and white or black outlines. This sometimes makes the garment look like a cartoon drawing.

What is your favourite piece of equipment or tool that you couldn’t live without?

Out of fear of being branded a millenial, which is now almost a derogatory term, I'm almost too scared to tell you. But definitely my technology, my computer, my phone, my camera; social media is my favourite. The internet is a huge part of my work, my fashion and my audience. I create and design for my own sanity and as my passion, but without an audience and its reaction, my work remains unfinished, unpublished, unshared and recedes into an abyss of zipped-up garment bags.

 

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Where do you see your work going in the future?

My work has become more bizarre and misleading. In the future I want my work to propose an ever-changing creative realm between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, optimism and doubt, in the pursuit of uncanny and elusive horizons. 

 

Check out more details about Current exhibition and programmes here.