The drawings, ceramics and designs of East London polymath John Booth shake off the weight of creative labour to float, free-form, in the here and now.
The set for Fendi’s spring 2017 menswear show was straight out of a David Hockney painting: mod grass, a paved walkway and a long cerulean pool with
a lemon diving board at one end. Models sported painterly deck-striped bags, leather rucksacks and polo shirts embellished with multi-coloured leather appliqués in the form of psychedelic flowers and Cubist-style facial lineaments — all the hand of 31-year-old illustrator John Booth.
There were also t-shirts with colour-streaked, hand-drawn faces and a speech bubble stamped “FENDI” — prints Booth had designed for the Autumn–Winter collection six months earlier. In his round-up of Milan Menswear AW16 for the Financial Times, fashion critic Charlie Porter singled him out: “Shout out to Fendi, which in its first relevant men’s show for an age had sweet prints by the British illustrator John Booth.”
Booth is also a textile designer, printmaker, collagist, ceramicist and occasional embroiderer. His clients range from the fashion elite — he’s sketched countless couture collections for Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio and developed prints for top British designer Ashish — to the cream of the art world; last year the Tate commissioned a series of drawings from him in response to its Sonia Delaunay show at the Tate Modern.
Booth’s vivid mixed-media fashion illustrations are impromptu explosions of pattern, line and riotous colour. Using ink, gouache, pencil, pens, crayon — any pigment he can get his hands on — he slathers sheets of paper in high-octane hues before cutting and reassembling each tactile slice into... Subscribe to read this article in full
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