Wk 3 Artist Conversation – Mimi Haddon

Exhibition Information

Artist: Mimi Haddon
Exhibition: Untitled
Media: Refurbished T-shirts
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Website: mimihaddon.com
Instagram: mimihaddon

About the Artist

Mimi Haddon has a BFA from CSULB in Graphic Design. She has done photography work since her undergraduate studies and spent two years in a graphic design career. Now, she is currently a Graduate student pursuing an MFA in Fiber Art at CSULB. One of her newest projects involves the use of clothes with a focus on color expression. She started working with t-shirts about a year ago. Her inspiration comes from the way our culture is one of “fast-fashion” and that t-shirts end up to be an easily wasted resource. She was inspired by a Ghanaian sculptor named El Anatsul who used discarded bottle caps as his medium. T-shirts are readily available so she sought to turn what is normally wasted into a showcase of color.

Formal Analysis

What stands out about her work the most is the vibrant colors she used. All her pieces have a mix of vivid colors that are eye-catching to the viewer. She used t-shirts and clothing pieces for all her work in this exhibition. She uses thread to stitch together different strips of fabric to create her designs. She did not use any dye in her completion of the pieces so the vibrant colors are the original colors of the t-shirts. All her work is very structured. In some of her pieces you can tell that she leans towards warmer colors like red, yellow and orange. She expanded her color scheme in two of her pieces to include cooler tones. Some of her pieces in the exhibition use circular patterns. All her pieces are large in nature and are larger than the human body.

Content Analysis

Haddon’s tendency to gravitate towards warmer colors in her art comes out of her personal preference for those colors. She originally purchased 100 t-shirts that were all warm-toned, but she realized later that including many different colors was vital to enhancing her work. Since she is working with shirts, she realized that it is important to try to get away from the image of the body. She focused on having her art mimic architecture, which she says is like its own body. Haddon was interested in the physiological effects of color after studying Josef Alber’s Interaction of Color. She said that she liked the idea that when you stare at vibrant colors and then stare at a blank, white wall, that the colors reflect the opposite of what the original colors were. Her art being vibrantly colored surrounded by white gallery walls mimics this effect.

Synthesis / My Experience

Her idea of recycling fashion into art really interested me. The amount of clothing waste that we have on a global scale is astounding. With our culture of wear once and then dispose of, it is easy to see why we have so much waste. I loved that she could incorporate t-shirts from the Goodwill into aesthetically pleasing art. She talked about how she was interested in how indiginoues cultures utilize their native materials to weave and build stucture, and I really like her connection to t-shirts as native to us. We are so familiar with their fabric and we tend to overlook the quality of their colors. To us they are just a normal, even boring fixture of everyday life. Seeing her pieces and how they command the space they are in is inspiring. All her work has whimsical tones to it, such as the line of fabric to the ceiling that reminds me of a tree, and the deflated balloons on the wall. They look like something you might see in a childrens’ picture book. She left me with the feeling that basic pieces in our closets and what is considered to be waste can actually be quite beautiful and thought-provoking.

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