Oh yes, Faile’s new book and a craving for a new printed bag for my laptop, but let me rewind a little first to the time I first saw Faile’s mix of colour on a Brooklyn street. An hour off the plane from JFK, June 2004 I took a cab into Brooklyn.I don’t really know how it happened, to be honest I – whoever I was – had disappeared and I – whoever I was – had been replaced by David Attenborough (Sir). I know it sounds silly, photograph Brooklyn, photograph Manhattan and photograph them like David Attenborough, but I love how he does things you know (not showey offey) and I wanted to do it like that. Like nature. Now, this is the mistake I always make – conveniently forgetting the most important thing, that I could barely hold let alone use a camera and all I can say is. Thank God I’m good with notebooks and thank God I took the chance.
Have you ever had something keep you awake like this?
Now I’m a snap-it-and-spend-a-few-days-processing-it-and-filtering-it kind of person and so it wasn’t until the following week that what I’d seen in Brooklyn really settled in my head. I spent the best part of what should have been dreamtime processing the photographs in my head thinking incessantly about how wonderful the Faile streetart on the damaged and maltreated walls in Brooklyn was. Have you ever had something keep you awake like this? People tell me it’s an Irish thing; we lie awake wondering about the love affairs between stuff, like pictures and walls and nature and yes INANIMATE printed things!
Longing with the desire to have more of their imagery in my home, I found them in a limited edition Lavender book printed by a wonderful publisher in Germany called Die Gestalten Verlag. Even the book paper was infused with the scent of lavender – when I opened the Lavender book to take these photos of it this morning it still smells of LAVENDER eight years on. A tiny bit Attenborough me thinks.
The Brooklyn based Faile (pronounced “fail”) collective are the two artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller who’ve been stenciling walls together since around 2000. Alternately seductive and scary, their vivid imagery built from multicultural shards has appeared in prestigious galleries worldwide. Their paintings resell at auction for hefty prices these days but their art prints and limited edition books are more attainable. Previous book print runs by Die Gestalten Verlag were tiny so they’re scarce and a little hard to get. Their latest book Faile:Prints + Originals 1999-2009 however is really easy to get and it’s their best one yet – I’ve a few little paintings of theirs and a Faile hand customized bag I found on Ebay (love the chunky interchangeable chain strap) but this new Faile book is like standing in front of their entire collection of paintings and prints up close. As you flick the pages you’ll turn a New York corner and spot their archetypal mock ads made of stencils, posters and fliers overlaid to maximal excess. There is always that wonderful sense of an accidental encounter with colour and the risks they take in their work.
Likewise, that’s why I really loved everything about the Louise Gray A/W 2011 show at London Fashion Week; it was the perfect love affair between fashion and art, (to be fair she has been the queen of coloured embellishment with her embroidered scattered printed swatches since her first collection for S/S 2008). So I’m backstage standing and staring and snapping for an awfully long time at the prints on her model line up feeling that Irish emotional thing that I was telling you about earlier (ie. feeling the right and sometimes the wrong emotion at the right and sometimes wrong time) and in that moment realising that the patterns coloured in daffodil (Attenborough) and turquoise blue and mint and lemon were all my favourite colours from years of Faile paintings and I suddenly realised that I was getting overemotional about the colours of a dress and a bag.
Seriously when this dream of a kaleidoscopic collection lined up, the colours from ALL-the-pages-of-my-favourite-Faile-books and my first Faile encounter – those two spray painted blue and pink lines on that bare Brooklyn wall – came tumbling towards my eyes; the lavenders and blue on a mohair plaid coat set on the perfect shade of dark concrete grey overlaid with gold dots and the neat shiny ponytail; so, so smooth (a huge hair trend next season and more of how to get yours that way later) only confirmed how wearable stripe, plaid and dot prints really are and to me it was as exciting as finding a new wall of Faile’s.
Oh God, I must go now! I hope your wardrobe and you walls are better coloured in than mine are at the moment and that the next few months bring many lovely coloured things your way. I’m going to hopefully have a little dreams in COLOUR tonight of me reading my Faile books and wrapping myself in up in Louise Gray and my laptop in this printed envelope bag (it really is rather lovely). (Has anyone a favourite print this season yet? Come September the trend is imminent!!!!).