Artists and their influences


”Change is the only thing we’ve got” -Zandra Rhodes

What is it exactly that inspires other artists to create something from the past? Things from the past have this element that we are unable to leave behind us, it’s as if everything from the past was pure and original, there is something special about it, whether it’s the influential people or historical elements that were happening at the time which is why designers now, can’t keep themselves away from it.


Zandra Rhodes is a very subtle designer who produces garments from light, graceful and fluid fabrics, she had pieces worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, Elizabeth Taylor, and Diana Ross. Her first independent collection, 1969, which was made with her distinctive, hand printed silk designs with motifs taken from knitted and embroidered stitches, were made from printed silk chiffons which would move in an incredibly light and declared way. She would style her pieces in an elegant way, they would just make you want to have every single piece of the collection!
”I made swirling dramatic shapes with no concessions to the saleable, the acceptable or the ordinary.” -Rhodes, 1969



In 1977, Rhodes decided to step away from the elegant, sophisticated designs and create her conceptual chic collection, the garments included elements such as ripping, tearing, cutting, reconnecting with safety pins or metal rings.

”suddenly there was this movement from the streets with safety pins and tears and i thought, why not actually make real tears…” – (Rhodes, 2012) The collection came from the streets of London where the punk movement was forming at the time. It allowed Rhodes to experiment with various techniques such as tearing, cutting and adding questionable accessories such as safety pins and chains to her made black,bright pink and vibrant red jersey fabric garments.

Comparing this collection to her other previous collections and collections after this one, there is a obvious change within the way she works. She went through a stage of rebellion with her fabrics, this has been shown with how she has not only handled the fabrics but how she has styled her garments. The models are in very unnatural and unique stances, poses which wouldn’t be seen within her other collections. She has almost rebelled against her own work by making a statement that she isn’t afraid to step outside of the box with her designs and styles.


Jean-Michel Basquiat was a neo-expressionist painter in 1980’s he’s known well for a collaboration with Andy Warhol and his aboriginal style. Basquiat emerged from the punk scene in New  York as a gritty, street smart graffiti artist who successfully crossed over from his ”down-town” origins to the international art gallery. Within his paintings there are a vocabulary of words, images, colours and signs that for most part have an archaic response to them. Despite their unstudied appearance, Basquiat very skilfully and purposely bought together in his art hosts of desperate traditions, practices and styes to create a unique kind of collage.


His work is very rebellious, similar to Zandra Rhodes. They both push the limits with different media. Graffiti is one major technique that is seen from most people as vandalism, it was associated with gangs of teens, in the 1970’s people began writing their names or ‘tags’ on buildings all of the city, during the mid 70’s it got so bad that it became difficult to view out of windows of trains as they were covered in spray paintings known as ‘masterpieces’. in 1980 it became harder to do without getting caught so they moved to roofs of buildings or canvas.

While people associated graffiti with Hip-hop, punk also adopted the idea of graffiti to help spread messages. Crass, a UK anarchy punk band regularly had stencil like images on their art work. Graffiti also became a large part of Amsterdam’s punk scene producing a magazine called Gallery anus which documented graffiti works. In America, it was the band Black Flag and their fans that widely stencilled their logo.


Warhol and Basquiat collaboration 

Warhol and Basquiat worked on a series of collaborative paintings between 1983 and 1985. the series almost looked like it was trying to make a statement of rebellion using two completely different movements of art: pop-art and graffiti art together. The two are very different from one another, however worked very well when the two artists colabortated we see pop-art as a technique of block colours, almost like cut-out art whereas graffiti is more expressive and free hand. using them both together created intricate, interesting pieces which could catch the attention of almost anyone.


In 1976, the runaways released their first album, the band was formed of 5 girls. Due to their heavy rock sound emerging during an era where their music wasn’t popular they were ahead of themselves in many ways. A lot of the public weren’t sure what to do with5 girls who sang about sex, rebelling and partying; the runaways felt dismissed by audiences and critics because of their gender and ages. The musicians fashion choices also separated them from conventional enthusiasts.


Jett was an extremely rebellious character. This has something probably to do with the fact that when she performed (along with the other girls in the runaways) she was treated like a ‘sex object’ rather than a musician, this was due to the very sexist, male-dominated industry of the time. It’s a subculture of integrity, rebellion, frustration, alienation, she found that she set well within the punk culture and that’s what worked for her.  ”I’m living my life and doing what I want to do.Sometimes people call that rebellion, especially when you’re a woman.”-Jett. She is perceived as a person who provokes conflict, the reason for this is that she is very opinionated and likes to get everything out into the open, he relationships towards others were a great deal of competition they would result in anger or friction.

Joan Jett was the main feature when The Runaways performed, Jett became a female innovator in the masculine dominated world of rock  music, she was also a producer and lyricist. When she split from the Runaways she spent a lot of time working with two former members of the well known punk band Sex pistols.large

So overall, there are various elements which contribute to an artist choices whether it’s their fashion, performance or attitude. Particular subcultures can influence them largely, especially if at the time they are just starting out, we can see that just by looking at three different people you can see how much punk influenced not only themselves but each other as well. Rebellion was a topic that frequently occurred across the three different elements of this exploration and that is because punks knew this was a way of grabbing people attention, this is not done just through their personalities and characters but also through their fashion. 


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