i-D Magazine

i-d.co is best viewed using a newer browser

We recommend you choose one of the following for the best experience possible. Click to download:

I don't mind. Take me to i-D.co anyway

the painters we wish were print designers

At this moment in time, the fashion world and the art world couldn’t be better pals ;) Walking arm in arm, artists collaborate with designers and art fairs become the new catwalks. For the past few seasons, painterly techniques have inspired prints, provided mural backdrops for runways and been applied delicately to models foreheads for Simone Rocha’s autumn/winter 14 show. As we reflect on the artistic influences of the past few seasons, we daydream about the 5 iconic painters we not-so-secretly wish were print designers.

Text Sophie Vent

  • 1. Primitive expression

    Artist Sterling Ruby was let loose on Raf Simons for their autumn/winter 14 collaboration. The results are a beautiful mess of expressive marks, dripping paints and nostalgic band patches. For expressive gestures in painting at their rawest we look to the expansive primitive canvases of Cy Twombly. His abstract scrawlings aim to capture the passing of time and manage to create a story on the surface of the canvas. Aesthetically, these ‘Action Paintings’ celebrate the brush mark in all its textures and 60 years on we can still feel the paint drip.

    Cy Twombly

  • 2. Fluid femininity

    Another follower of the Abstract Expressionist style is 1950’s Colour Field painter Helen Frankenthaler. Unlike her male contemporaries, Frankenthaler’s paintings have a sensitivity to colour that would fit delicately amongst the watercolour prints of Burberry Prorsum. Created by pouring solutions of oils mixed with turpentine over the surface, the liquid spreads and forms organic planes of colour. Described as ‘feminine the way water is feminine’ her paintings should always be imagined on silk.


    Helen Frankenthaler

  • 3. Casual surrealism

    Upside down umbrellas, raining men and pipes that aren’t pipes; Opening Ceremony's latest collection is fully submerged in Rene Margritte’s dream world. Magritte’s paintings of everyday objects misplaced in tranquil landscapes have become the perfect motifs for this range of surrealist garments including footwear collaborations with Birkenstocks, Vans and Manolo Blahnik. The dream-like quality of the designs together with their understated colour palettes have made this a laid back and nonchalant collection that says ‘Oh, sure! There’s a nose in the sky!’



  • 4. Illusions of grandeur

    Baroque influences have been lavishly draped over models and a number of collections for the past few seasons. Our next painter takes similar inspirations, working in the Rococo, or Late Baroque period. Artist Johann Wenzel Bergel paints large scale trompe l’oeil landscape murals, his most famous being the Garden Rooms at Schonbrunn palace in Austria. His wall-to-ceiling wonderlands progress from a traditional baroque garden to an exotic forest of hand painted flowers and tropical birds.

    Johann Wenzel Bergel

  • 5. Outsider

    In the broadest context, artistic inspirations have been drawn from much further afield than the traditional framework. From Prada’s activist murals echoing the political street artist of South America to Claire Barrow’s naive fan art style painted leathers. Folk Art, Fan Art, Art Brut - the Outsider Art aesthetic is a trend that inspires us for it’s simplicity and DIY aesthetic. Outside of the box, the painters to choose from are plentiful so we pick Takahiro Shimoda for taking the final leap of painter as print designer. Despite the connotations with issues of body image, his Salmon Roe and Fried Chicken Pyjamas make some charmingly simple repeats.



    Takahiro Shimoda