“The Gospel According to Gucci” is shown on a Web striped book—just one of the 11 designs by Angelica Hicks featured in Gucci.com new limited edition T-shirt collection. Available May 25.
The British artist’s ironic take on some of Gucci’s signature pieces—and characters—come to life on the T-shirts exclusively available on the House’s European and US websites. Each of the designs are limited to 100 pieces (numbered like an art print) and come encased in a vintage-style metal box, featuring the same drawing as the T-shirt inside. Talking with Gucci Stories, the illustrator reveals her inspiration for the collection and her artistic family’s influence on her work. Grandfather David Nightingale Hicks was an interior decorator and designer and father Ashley Hicks is an author, architect and furniture and interior designer.
What inspired you to first start drawing in your style?
I actually think I've been drawing in the same way since I first picked up a pencil. Obviously on a technical level I have improved with age, but the style is very much consistent I’ve always interpreted people and places with the same strong graphic line, reducing faces to their key structural components. It’s funny to try and explain my style per se as it is something that has developed organically - the way I draw is the way I see people and things. I pick up on the key defining lines but there are also elements of anime influence with the exaggerated features and disproportionately large heads. This is quite likely a result of watching a lot of the cartoon Sailor Moon when I was little.
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
My creative process is very much centered around achieving symbiosis between wordplay and image. Both are equally important in my illustrations. The image is, quite literally, drawn from reality - and the wordplay is borne from culture. Idioms, popular expressions, sayings, known slogans. all products of culture - popular or otherwise. I could be equally inspired by the title of a book, an advertising campaign or a popular saying. I have to emphasize that it is never forced, as I approach my illustrations in a similar fashion to how I approach a joke. If it’s forced, it is unlikely to make anyone laugh.
What pieces were you drawn to of Alessandro Michele’s collection to riff on and why?
I began illustrating at around the same time that Alessandro Michele became the creative director of Gucci. From the beginning I was incredibly inspired by the total aesthetic transformation of the brand- immediately apparent in the Fall 2015 collections. One of my very first drawings is a riff on this aforementioned transformation. It is a reaction to the Women’s Fall 2015 show and is captioned “Gucci bids farewell to hoochie and welcomes Alessandro Michele’s new vision. Glasses included.” So from the outset I was drawn to riff on his rupture with his predecessors’ vision.
How does your artistic family influence your work?
I would say that my artistic family and upbringing were extremely influential in my creative growth and helped give me confidence in my hand as well as my opinion. My parents, both designers, instilled and nurtured a passion for drawing within me from a young age, and were always encouraging of my ability. My father introduced me to books such as “OHO” (illustrated by the great Rex Whistler) which triggered an early interest in the comic potential of illustration, while mymother taught me to appreciate fashion beyond trends, to see the beauty in individual garments. I was raised by two aesthetically astute individuals who taught me the wonders of being observant and encouraged me to find my own voice, and to value my own opinion.