Industry Week: Elaine Foster Gandey

Industry week for me consisted of attending talks by a selection of artists, who each had different ways of working and have worked in their field for years. I found the week really inspiring and it gave me hope that there are jobs in the real world for artists of all kinds.

 

Elaine Foster Gandey was the first artist to speak. She is a fashion designer, worked for a variety of famous names in the fashion industry and now owns her own company. As a teenager she was involved in the Punk movement, this allowed her to dress in any way she wanted, usually in dark tones, but in an unforgiving way. After leaving school as soon as she could, she found she had to change how she liked to dress and act to increase her chances of employment. Despite this the punk genre has never left her, she still makes her own clothes and most often than not the clothes have a Steam-punk/ punk aesthetic to them.

‘NO MISTAKES IN LIFE’ – Elaine Foster Gandey

Over the years she’s worked for numerous big names and worked her way up, starting as a van driver for Jasper Conrad and eventually moved her way up to higher roles in the company. Later she decided to create her own company ‘Designer fashions UK’ and built this up by holding fashion shows of the clothes for sale. The fashion shows were walked by ‘Real people’ and was coincidently called ‘The Real People Catwalk’. These featured people of different ages, sexes, sizes, races etc. The meaning behind the shows were very important and I found the ideas really powerful. She wanted people to embrace their differences and insecurities and realise that is what makes them stand out and why they are so brilliant. I love the idea behind this, not only is she doing something she is passionate, but also helping people stand out and giving them the chance to walk the catwalk, which was many of the model’s dreams. As well as this she offers students a chance for work experience, I have been lucky enough to have been asked to contribute to the photographic side of the shows. Watch out for that blog post!!

During her talk she did 2 exercises with us. First she got us to close our eyes and imagine we were talking to our future self, then we had to tell the people around us what they said, this could be a word or phrase, detailed or not. Personally I didn’t find this helpful until we had to share with the other, I’ve never realised how people can have different views of their future, some people had fine details and an overall big picture, whereas some, including myself only saw one word. The second exercise was to draw a person in 2 minutes, this could be any styles, using any medium, but it had to reflect ourselves. I ended up not drawing much, this shows how I felt about the task: uncertain.This is my drawing:

20170314_191638.jpg   I started by drawing a mannequin body and then filled in the details; however I was unable to finish my drawing before the time ran out.

real-people-catwalk-2real-people-catwalk-1(Images from the real catwalk show)

From this talk I found that even though the subject matter and the genre of art she focused on wasn’t similar to my work, I still managed to get some advice and motivation from her. The key thing I took from Elaine Foster Gandey was the way in which she never gave up, even though it didn’t always seem like she was moving forward in her job, everything she did got her to where she is now. I’d like to take this perspective and mindset from her and adapt it to myself, there is always a reason for everything, if something doesn’t work it doesn’t matter. Who knows where it could lead?

 

Photo Source: http://designersales.co.uk/the-real-reople-catwalk-show/ (15/03/17)

 

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