For Nettie Wakefield, the illustrious illustrator tapped into the irregular muse to collaborate with POAN on a capsule collection that is sure to outfit you whether for dinner or dance. In the mind of a certain type of person the urban camo that comes with crumpled McDonalds bags on the street and the disregarded cans of beer match well with countless sea of empty cigarette containers and candy wrappers. Any city dweller can appreciate this mundane part of life when you walk amongst the night creatures.
What inspired you to take on these specific disregarded items to add to your collage.
So I actually produced all these watercolour and colour pencil works in 2014 but they’ve recently attracted more attention than ever before. I think this might be down to a thirst for colour and vibrancy post pandemic! But at the time in 2014, this was my second series after the reverse portrait series. I was sitting with Georg Weissacher (creative director at POAN) and he took a liking to the trash series, especially for a summer collection. We went through a few background options and settled on the ocean background both because of the cheerful aesthetic juxtaposed with an environmental reminder. We called it Ocean Trash. POAN are big on sustainability and cruelty free clothing. They don’t use leather, fur or feathers. They opt for materials kinder to mother nature such as recycled materials and organic cotton. The clothes are made at family run artisan workshops in Florence. They reduce waste in a number of ways, including a more mindful approach in pattern cutting and reworking leftover stock fabrics.
The nature of human neglect has resulted in human nature itself to suffer. The “Ocean Trash” print has been mindfully created by London based artist, Nettie Wakefield, raising the awareness into the way in which we live each day. The print highlights the polluting of our seas, oceans and the harm to animals – an issue close to our heart – POAN
So much of your work has been profound stilllives how was it indulging in color for these portraits.
I’m always faithful to the classic graphite pencil but recently I’ve been interested in injecting a little colour into my work …such as some of my traditional drawings I’ve made into giclee prints and started to write slogans with luminous pink with a little comedic factor to go with it.
Whats the frequency which you see these particular items on the street; what items do you see most when you travel?
So, the cigarette packets don’t look quite the way they used to! The simple “Smoking Kills” warning box has now been replaced with graphic photos to deter the individual from smoking. So those pieces really are a bit of a time capsule in a way. I have to say chewing gum is what I see most, traveling or not. The crumpled red stripe was found after the famous Notting Hill carnival in London where the streets are practically tiled with it.
How did this collaboration with POAN come about. Do you see more work in the fashion side in the future?
I’ve known Georg for years and it just came about one evening during lockdown. I’ve always been super passionate about fashion so the idea of merging my two loves is a dream come true. I would love to do more and collaborate with brands in the future.
What are you working on next and when do I get to see you
Well, funny you say because next stop is LA! I’m in a large group show called BEYOND THE STREETS. It started in DTLA, then moved to NY then The Hamptons (this was the first one I was involved in) and then back to it’s origin, LA. I was in LA in February and went to see the space, its huge. On La Brea, can’t wait to see how it looks when I revisit for the show. The dates are still up in the air but earliest July and latest September. So come to that please!
Other than that, private commissions as always and I’ve been working on a capsule collection with Maddox gallery but its still very much in the early stages.
Photos Courtesy Nettie Wakefield/ POAN James D. Kelly