Monday 10th March, 2008
I’ve been transfixed by this black lingerie painting by Brian Ayling, and even moreso since I haven’t been able to find much information on the artist or his work . . .
FASHIONABLE people with money to burn don’t think twice about furnishing their homes with Ralph Lauren four-posters, piles of Donna Karan cushions and Gucci ashtrays. Now, in their quest to discover new methods of interior design one-upmanship, they are falling at the paint-splattered shoes of Brian Ayling, who paints pictures of clothes.
For those who love dressing well, it’s not just the pleasure of making a purchase or how it feels when worn but the way the creation looks that sends a shiver down the spine. Commissioning a picture of your favourite dress, skirt or bag immortalises it.
“I think that having a picture painted of clothes is an extension of a worthwhile shopping trip,” says Ayling. One couple even commissioned him to paint the Prada, Gucci, Chanel and Harvey Nichols bags they amassed after a shopping spree.
Ayling’s clients include Sir Terence Conran, who asked him to paint the coats, scarves and umbrellas hanging in the cloakroom of his Mezzo restaurant. He was also asked to paint a Fashion Targets Breast Cancer T-shirt for the London boutique Helsinki.
Maria Abraham, manager of Helsinki, is so taken by Ayling’s work that she commissions a new painting for the shop every season. “People always stop and react to the pictures. Often they ask what the point of them is. But there isn’t a point – they just look nice.”
Ayling began painting clothes by accident. With a degree in fine art from Birmingham College of Art, he started work as a freelance textile designer. Surrounded by glossy magazines, he decided to paint some of the featured clothes. “I then painted one of my old suits, and I also did a couple of second-hand leather jackets which belonged to a friend.”
His most recent project was a Christmas present: “A husband sneakily ‘borrowed’ his wife’s favourite Fendi baguette bag so that I could paint it in time for Christmas.” Clever man: he must have realised that the way to a woman’s heart is through her clothes and accessories.