Sunday, 9 January 2011

Artist profile: The Tailor

The Tailor is an artist based in New York who likes to make the world a little less mundane by dressing stick figures with custom-made stickers. It's the kind of brilliant idea that on one level is so creative it is bound to change the way you see signs around your city, and yet on another level is so simple you wonder why no one had done it before.

We caught up with The Tailor in a non-existant cafe in cyberspace and asked him a few questions about his creations.

EC: Explain a bit about what you do.

TT: I like to call it 'clothing the naked'. Basically I 'dress' the stick figures that appear on signs in public places. My first subject has been the cab-hailing stick figure on the fare sticker found on the side of every New York cab. There's more on the way, and I hope to also help other people do the same thing in other cities.

EC: How did you get started with your art and what ideally would you like to achieve with it?

TT: I'd had the concept in my mind for a while, but the triggering moment was when I got into a cab one day after work and to my surprise found a young white guy behind the wheel. We talked about how strange that is, and toward the end of the ride I asked him his opinion on street art in general. He seemed like he was down, so I told him my idea, and he's been my 'inside man', consulting on the project ever since.

Honestly it's just about fun. I haven't really given much thought to what I'd like to achieve with it, but I think that if I can just get people to notice something that they didn't notice before, and laugh, I've accomplished something worthwhile.

EC: Explain a little of your creative process.

TT: I find inspiration in noticing the small things that no one notices and tweaking them to draw more attention to them (or not - I'm fine with most of the people who see my work not even noticing it). I love subtlety in art, especially in public art. Public art has always been about egos and getting your name out there, but mine is more about making a subtle statement. You could easily get into a tailored cab (opening the door that has the sticker on it) without even noticing it. I've had a few people submit sightings to me, but you have to really be looking for them to capture them in a photo.

EC: Do you have specific inspirations? i.e. people, literature, film, philosophy, dreams etc?

TT: I try to draw inspiration from as many diverse sources as possible. I'm pretty sure I have undiagnosed ADD, and it shows in the way I plan projects and the way I consume media.

It's not hard to find inspiration in New York. Just walking the streets here, you stumble upon pieces by the likes of Banksy and Os Gemeos and Roa. I'm influenced pretty heavily by fashion and pop culture, and New York is a world capital for both of those as well.

EC: In your opinion, what’s the best thing about being creative?

TT: I think the best thing about being creative is how it changes the way you look at the world. I think that I started looking at my surroundings differently when I started skateboarding - a normal staircase became a 10-stair with a square handrail, and other architectural details became ramps and ledges to skate on. The way I take in my surroundings now is similar - I see a sign with a blank stick figure on it and I see an opportunity to bring it to life and give it personality by dressing it.

For more on the Tailor check out his website here.

EC - Style is a Language

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