Tales from the Back Row
I had the amazing opportunity to do an illustration for The House that Lars Built. Brittany Jepsen hosts a monthly book club, and for the month of August we read Tales from the Back Row by Amy Odell. Odell shares hilarious (and sometimes shocking...like how did Victoria’s Secret fail to have its first Asian model only in 2010?!)) stories as a not-so-fashionable fashion blogger navigating her way to the top of fashion industry. As a fashion illustrator who is still very naive to the going ons in the fashion industry, this book brought me such a sense of relief. Particularly that I could, despite how much I feel that I don’t, belong in the industry. Read my NYFW experience here if you wanna catch my drift.
Creating this illustration was so much fun! I happened to handle this process with ease, even though I was stressed about doing great work for my former boss. I also surprised myself when I calmly decided to redo the portrait after the first piece looked like the lovechild of Marie Antoinette and Ursula (does this mean I’m growing as an artist?!). I didn’t think it was the right direction for the accompanying quote, “There is nothing normal about this business.”
I chose this quote because it’s both critical and complimentary, which is exactly how I feel about the fashion industry. I admire the daring creativity of the fashion world so much that at times I feel like I may have rose-colored glasses on, loving every garment that comes down the runway. At times I feel my love for fashion grown too intense when I defensively roll my eyes after hearing non-fashion folks criticize anything in the hallowed pages of Vogue (why are these haters perusing through Vogue anyway?). But then I don’t hesitate to throw those rose-colored glasses off when I see a portrait of a woman with a giraffesque neck bent in ways I didn’t know necks could bend or when I read about the inequality and mistreatment of models in the industry. Odell’s book reminds me it’s cool to fangirl, but don’t forget to check yourself before you wreck all your ideals, and lose your humanity! (That’s what the saying means right?).
With this illustration, I wanted to go for something that was beautiful, but abnormal outside of the fashion world. So it was the long-necked, androgynous woman with blush covering more than necessary, with parted lips that looked like she has a lazy jaw, all while looking down on you as if to say, “You’re not as beautiful as I am!” It’s an attitude, I’d never want to emulate, but it makes for great art! Well I hope you enjoy the illustration! You can download the printable poster and bookmark on the Lars blog here. Enjoy!