We chat to artist collaborator and designer of the 'Fractal' work shirt, Karri McPherson about the inspiration behind the shirt and the conversations she is hoping it starts!
TM: How does it feel that your design has been the most popular of the collection so far?
KM: It's incredibly humbling that my design has been the most popular of the collection so far. When I completed the design I felt confident that it would translate well, but the merchandise came out even better than I anticipated! The printed design is so vibrant, and the message behind the artwork is very pertinent too. I hope this design resonates with many people whilst sparking important conversations around mental health.
TM: Can you speak to the inspiration behind the design?
KM: All of my work is stylistically geometric as that is the language I use to communicate my ideas and thoughts. When TradeMutt reached out to me about this collaboration, the concept of diamonds being built under pressure really struck a chord with me. Geodes and fractals have inspired a lot of my work in the past, so this was a direction that I was keen to explore again through this collaboration. As someone who has struggled with mental health in the past, I've come to learn that adversity truly does make us stronger - just like diamonds are formed under extreme pressure, we too can become the best version of ourselves when we open up and start tackling our problems head on.
TM: What about the colour palette?
KM: As TIACS is all about starting conversations, I figured what could be more effective than a shirt that screams "look at me!". Vibrancy was key for this design, and I wanted to squeeze as many colours as I possibly could into the design. I personally love the colour blue, so I tried to make sure that colour was sprinkled all throughout the design.
TM: Can you run us through when TradeMutt got in touch with you about the opportunity. Had you heard of the company before?
KM: When TradeMutt reached out to me I wasn't familiar with the organisation, but I had seen TradeMutt's merchandise around. I have friends who own some of the work shirts, so I finally connected the dots when TradeMutt reached out to me about a collaboration.
TM: As an artist who has primarily worked in the mural/installation space, how did you find designing for textiles different or challenging?
KM: This is a really good question. Generally when I create my work there are elements of palpability and immediacy, which you don't have when working on digital textile designs. When I create an artwork, I get the immediate painted result directly in front of me, and I don't need to visualise it translating to a different scale or platform. I initially struggled to visualise the scale of the design and its translation to textiles, but once I overcame that mental hurdle, I had a lot of fun working on the design.
TM: What would you like our community to take away from these designs and what kind of conversations are you hoping that the design starts?
KM: I would like the community to remember that adversity makes us stronger. No matter how tough things are right now, you can always start a conversation to begin finding some light at the end of the tunnel. I hope this design encourages more people to speak up and find support so their concerns can be tackled head on. Nothing shows more courage than opening up and finding help - the most difficult part is starting the conversation.