Call it manifested destiny. Inspired by Alessandro Michele’s collections, Jayde Fish began drawing his designs with her quirky characters and uploaded them on her Instagram account @mrsjaydefish, with his name as a hashtag. After seeing them, the Creative Director asked the San Francisco-based artist for a selection of artworks.
Her whimsical illustrations of animals and the major arcana of the tarot appear on the Spring Summer 2017 collection. One of her creations—printed on a silk scarf—is brought to life in hand-painted colors on a wall in Lafayette and Prince Streets in New York. Here the artist talks about her drawings for the House.
Tell us about your illustrations for the Gucci SS17 collection.
They came about through inspiration and Instagram. I'm a big fan of Alessandro's direction, I feel like I can relate to this new Gucci Girl. So at my own volition, I began to weave elements I saw on the runway into my own work. It was as if each one of Alessandro's runway looks told a story, and I was to elaborate on that story. I started posting these illustrations to Instagram with the hashtag #AlessandroMichele, to both respectfully note my source of inspiration and to (possibly) catch his eye. To everyone's surprise, it worked! A little while later I was contacted by Gucci, it was an incredible connection.
Why were you inspired by tarot cards?
I began drawing the Major Arcana of the Tarot out of curiosity. I'm fascinated by astrology, astronomy, and spiritual studies. I think the tarot is an interesting way to look inwards and learn more about our inner Self. It also has a mysterious or dark side. For example, the first card "The Fool" felt like the most silly version of myself, I was Alice going down the rabbit hole. It's about absolute fate, disregarding logic. I imagined what I might wear, the Princetown loafer, comfortably traveling on a carpet in the sky to unknown destination. Another card "The Chariot" tells me a story about war, triumph and victory. For this I imagined a King in the Carte de Tendre dress, leading his carriage to battle. I just let the ideas flow out, each card came easier than the last. I wanted each piece to evoke its own unique narrative; a story of love/loss, inspiration/deprivation, growth/decline. It's this juxtaposition and drama of the Tarot that I find captivating, I think the same can be said about Alessandro's collections.
What is it like to see your drawings on the collection, and people wear them?
Seeing my work in the Gucci collection is a dream come true. I feel shock, joy, pride... it's emotional. There were tears of happiness and sporadic outbursts of laughter. I've always imagined that I would work more closely with fashion, so seeing people wear them is surreal. To have received the attention of a designer that I have so much respect and admiration for feels like a great honor.
What inspires you for the characters and animals you draw?
The characters in my drawings derive from my personal life. The Monkey is an interpretation of my cat, a chocolate brown British Shorthair who can be both devil and angel. I often draw a small, naked nymph, this is the most free and uninhibited version of myself. Aesthetically, I aim to create a mix of geometric and natural forms. I enjoy a studio full of plants, so flora and fauna are usually present in my work. I'm inspired by nature, science books, fashion, architecture, antiques and folklore. Many other artists influence me as well; Hieronymus Bosch, Frida Kahlo, Edward Gorey and Jeremy Fish to name just a few.