We All Get Dressed For Bill

Since discovering Bill Cunningham - I haven’t seen fashion the same. 

What started with a "simple" idea to pay respects and remember the amazing legend and life of Bill Cunningham, resulted in one of my biggest creative and personal challenges to date - not only taking on a drawing for the 30 days of September using snapshots from Bill's "On the Street" New York Times style section, but also using the 30 days to also challenge my skills introducing watercolour, paint, colour pencils and pens to my repertoire and completely eliminating (the personal ease of) digital colourations/finishings.

The inspiration from this series specifically came from the quote by Anna Wintour "We all get dressed for Bill", ladies who knew Bill would dress for the smiling man behind the camera, they knew if they got snapped, they were on trend. He had an eye - he captured parts of a WHOLE trend. Although he never judged, his attention is worth more than most. “We All Get Dress For Bill” is about highlighting what he captured. Fashion evolving, moving, growing - as my 30 day challenge I wanted to use the pictures off the streets captured by Bill to evolve, move and grow my style and ideas.

To be completely honest I had no game plan, I had not even started early for the purpose of "smart move" or Instagram ready. I just gunned it from day 1, which caught me off guard quite quickly. Initially I had somewhat planned, maybe some days I would scan a piece half done in and finish it with digi colouring - but I soon realised I could use the 30 day challenge as the added challenge of experimenting all month long with analogue mediums - most that I didn't have great relationships with.... Over September I practiced with mainly watercolour, pens and some acrylic paint (we still haven't gelled). By day 5/6 I felt like I was getting into the groove of things/whilst still thinking what have I started - and using my pinterest board for constant inspiration. At this point I had also started to embrace more imperfections, becoming more free and somewhat comfortable with the imperfect and letting go of the millimetre differences - as I felt I had nowhere to hide with mediums new to me/my style. I think at this point, even though fairly early into the month I also had more drive to add different styles and ideas into the illustrations - completely changing the final product

Flick over to day 9/10, I got a big shock to the system when exhaustion hit and once again having nowhere to hide my work (if I wasn't happy with it), my confidence took a hit. The biggest part of the 30 days for me was pushing through my tired (and a severe body flu). There was no way in my eyes I was going to start and commit to this challenge and not follow through, having it so public was also a deciding factor. It was definitely a rollercoaster ride and between a few rough days I did gain more confidence with analogue mediums, instead of the safety of Ctrl+Z when digital colouring.

At the end of the day I AM happy I started and finished the challenge - day 30 quite literally felt like a graduation piece - not only had I gotten the hang of watercolour enough to create a piece I was so happy with but I felt I could b r e a t h e !. There are some pieces in the series I absolutely love and the minority of what I wasn't happy with - I just had to get over. I think it will definitely impact my future pieces as I am more confident in experimenting (which I had been wanting to do for a good year). To end, I was also lucky enough (through the world of Instagram) to be connected with Bill's right hand man, if you're reading this John, I thought of Bill everyday - This challenge was there to be enjoyed for myself with my practice and the people watching on the side lines - just like Bill. It kept me on my toes and bought excitement to my supporters, for that I couldn't be more grateful.

RIP - Bill.C 

*Personal favourites: Day 7, 11, 16, 17, 21, 25, 27 - 30.