Trouble Andrew was painting in his Brooklyn studio when he received a call from Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele asking him to collaborate on the Fall Winter 2016 collection. A few days later he was on a plane to Rome, and co-designing pieces for the runway show. Now the artist is preparing for a lineup of GucciGhost celebrations in some of Gucci’s biggest flagships: first stop New York’s 5th Avenue store on Sept. 14. Here he reveals more about his art in Gucci’s fall collection.
How does it feel seeing your work finished in Gucci accessories and clothes in the stores and being worn by people in the street?
It is really exciting to see the finished products, especially after such an amazing and intense process. I am really proud of how it all turned out. Some of these ideas had been living with me for a while so it feels kind of surreal to see how they have come to life, and I couldn't have imagined a better team to collaborate with. Their instincts have been impeccable. Seeing people wearing them in the streets has been really fun.
How did Alessandro Michele discover you?
My old friend Ari Marcopoulos (the photographer behind the Gucci Pre-Fall 2016 lookbook) introduced my work to Alessandro. Ari contacted me when he was working on the Gucci look book because he knew I had been obsessively painting Gucci on everything around me for a while and asked me to send some of the images of some of the things I was creating. He showed Alessandro and the rest is history.
What do you and Alessandro Michele have in common?
I think that Alessandro and I are a lot alike in how obsessed we get by our creative ideas. It's like we can't rest until our vision comes to fruition. That made it really easy for us to work together. Well, that in addition to that fact that his vision is so inspired and really embraced the spirit of what I was doing, which was a bold move on his part. That's another similarity I guess, we both work from love, not fear.
The pieces you collaborated on—are they exactly what you had in mind when you first starting working on the Fall collection?
The pieces came out better than I imagined. That's what was so fun about working with Alessandro. He has a magic eye and can spot how to build on something with out taking away from it. When I first came to Rome I brought two big suitcases full of things I had painted (bags, jackets, canvas etc) along with a hard drive full of designs and concepts. From there it was easy for me because I immediately had a sense of direction just by what caught Alessandro's eye. I was given an office to paint in and we just kept the flow going. I transformed the office to feel like my studio at home, painted all the walls, had music playing and just created at my usual pace. When I would finish painting something I would take it up to Alessandro's space and he would add on to it. We both had so much trust in each other so it made the process quite easy.
Eggs, skulls, diamonds, pie, the words “Real Gucci” where did all of these symbols come from? What were you inspired by?
I've always been into symbols, everything from hieroglyphics to logos. A symbol can be so much more powerful than words, unrestricted by language and appealing to our senses on many levels. In this case, I often played with the idea of symbols as a narrative, placing various images together to speak on elements of pop culture, and also the idea of symbols as logos or branding tools, which even includes my raw take on the monogram print. In the latter instance I would sometimes pair the symbols with words or tag lines that read like campaign slogans. My symbols are kind of free associative in that they can mean anything to anybody, but for me they echo my own interests, influences and experiences, and some fun things I just like to draw. Some are nostalgic, some come from my everyday life.
What can we expect from the GucciGhost events in Gucci’s biggest flagships?
It will be a more immersive experience. I've created some original artwork for the stores based on the themes used in the line. I also made a video piece and have curated DJ sets that help tell the story of my inspiration for the collection.
How has GucciGhost changed after working on the Fall collection?
Now it's real, people believe in ghosts.