Imagining the Gucci Zumi bags with their own personalities, illustrator Alex Merry depicted the structured bag amongst animals and symbols of nature.
Her work appears alongside poems by Alaska Lynch, published as a special mini book for the new bag collection. The artist—who has also collaborated with Gucci on drawing the Décor collection—spoke about her work and where she’d take the Gucci Zumi bag at sunrise on May Day.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind how you draw the Gucci Zumi?
I started each illustration by looking at images of the bag I was about to draw and let the colours and content appear around it in my mind before I put pen to paper. To me, the bags have their own personality and I try and listen in closely to who they are before I start painting them. I try not to over think each image and come up with the colours and composition pretty quickly.
Tell us about the symbols of nature that appear in the illustrations.
I slip in to a bit of a dream state when I’m illustrating & a lot of the time I’m not really sure where the symbols that appear in my images come from! I want to let the subconscious lead the way. Most of the creatures appear from this dream-land, apart from maybe the black cat who is my real life drawing companion & often sleeps on my lap while I’m working.
How do your illustrations fit with the poetry by Alaska Lynch?
I made the images before reading the poems Alaska had written I really love the way they work off each other. His poetry has an incredible drama and theatricality that stirs up an interesting atmosphere when they’re page to page with the illustrations. Getting to know Alaska’s work has been a really special part of this project for me.
Where would you take the Gucci Zumi bag out for the first time?
I’m part of a folkdance group, Boss Morris, here in my home town of Stroud, in Gloucestershire west of London. We take part in lots of different kinds of events, including rituals that mark the turning of the seasons. The next one on the calendar is May Day. We get up at 4am and head to a special spot in the local countryside where we watch the sunrise and welcome in the summer. I imagine the Gucci Zumi bag would look magical in the morning light!