For the latest Act of Gucci and GQ’s video series ‘The Performers’, embroidery artist James Merry creates a new piece of art.
The artist, who moved to Björk’s native Iceland over five years ago, is the creator of some of the singer’s most intricate headpieces seen in ‘Vulnicura’ and ‘Utopia’—the latest album released in 2017—on display at the Gucci Garden in Florence. Together they share a creative vision and a passion for sci-fi flowers, which enabled them to transform floras into silicon face-pieces.
"The way I embroider is almost always freehand," explains James Merry. "I will sometimes make a very rough sketch, sometimes in my head, occasionally on paper to check proportions. But usually I just start with needle and thread and just see where it takes me. I think I have an automatic impulse, something that just flows down my arm. I just feel like I am absorbing nature, seeing it all around me, and then my interpretation of that comes out at my fingertips."
"I thrive off the natural world. And I have always been obsessed with those objects, or animals, or plants that are in a process of transformation; half human and half botanic, caught in the moment of metamorphosis,” adds Merry.
For ‘The Performers’, the embroiderer creates a mask inspired by a traumatic personal experience: "It is almost like a dark twin brother of a different headpiece I made, one that was made from gold and oak leaf and a bit like a green man from English folk myth. This other mask is about processing a time when I nearly drowned last year in Puerto Rico. I wanted to turn that experience into an artwork full of life and light."
Music: Sísí by Grýlurnar, Vix by Sigrúns, Þræðir by Sigrúns