If fashion isn't art, but art you live your life in, what does that make painted dresses? We're all aware of the way style can cast spells; either on the wearer or observer. Multidisciplinary artist Eddy Segal is well aware of this too, so she's decided to elevate wedding dresses into walking talismans of heartache, adornment and healing. The co-curator of the Whitney Houston Biennial with a penchant for Hedonism is all about embracing the beautiful, transmuting the pain and creating something fabulous as a result. Needless to say, we're here for it.

FASHION IS DYING talked to Eddy Segal about fashion magick, maximalism and muses. 



FASHION IS DYING: You work in many mediums, namely through painting and photography, but with clothing. How would you describe your practice with art? How did you start creating?
EDDY SEGAL: I am a hedonist…I love beauty, I love good times and I create to preserve, replicate, and magnify those things. My mom tells me I spent all my time as a little kid drawing, dancing, and dressing up; my friends and my interests haven’t varied. Once I love somebody I love very deeply, and portraiture (both film and paint) is my way of holding on to hard-to-pin-down people I fall for. Adornment and preservation.

FID: I love the installation of the dress you painted. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind this piece and the process of creating it?
ES: "A Spell That Binds” is my mother’s wedding dress from her first marriage, which ended painfully. I was on the precipice of heartbreak myself when I started it, I was looking for a way to document and transmute both of our pain. I have continued to use wedding dresses as a medium because I love how they are expensive symbols of purity and possession, but once I cover them in personal talismans and autobiographical hieroglyphs they become the antithesis of purity: confirmation of emotional and bodily experience.

"A spell that binds"

"A spell that binds"

"Heartbreak Dress"

"Heartbreak Dress"

FID: How does fashion inspire and impact your art, if at all?
ES: When I was creating traditional paintings I would often have to choose between buying art supplies and indulging my inner clothes-horse. I was traveling a lot and finding it hard to schlep around big canvases. It was such a duh moment; paint on clothes! It allows me to work on the go and gives the pieces a life they’d never have hanging on a wall. I really, really love seeing my paintings move on bodies.

FID:  Who are your muses? 
ES: My chosen family, my beautiful friends. Artists who create really clever, guttural, raw, work across all mediums; Tracey Emin, Francis Bacon, James Bidgood, Maurizio Cattelan, Barbara Kruger, Anais Nin, Artemisia Gentileschi, Egon Schiele. I’m an indiscriminate art groupie.

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FID: Is fashion dying?
ES: No! I think there’s a resurgence of maximalism happening right now and I love it. Mainstream fashion is still boring with all the branded athleisure but there are so many young designers out there making exciting things. 

FID: If you could sell a piece to any one person, who would it be, what piece would it be and why?
ES: I’d die to see Rihanna in a painted gown, but more than anything I love to sell a piece to Eli Broad since having a piece in the Broad collection would solidify my spot in the art world. Sorry, I’m shameless.

FID: What’s next?
ES: The Whitney Houston Biennial! We will be bringing it to LA for the first time in Spring 2019 and I will be  stepping up to co-curate with my mentor, painter C. Finley. I am so excited. I’m looking for submissions and assistants. 

 You can follow Eddy's work here and submit to The Whitney Houston Biennial at eddysegalart@gmail.com

gabriela herstik