13 May 2016

Ant Pearce is a London based fine artist and recent Fashion Enter graduate. Having enrolled onto the ABC Awards Level 1 Award in Fashion and Textiles (Sewing and Textiles) qualification in 2016, following a degree in Visual Arts, Ant is about to embark onto his second ABC Awards qualification, this time our Level 2 Award in Fashion and Textiles (Pattern Cutting).

Ant has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions as well as group exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the USA and is currently represented internationally via Artsy.net and White Court Art.

We asked him how the Level 1 Award in Fashion and Textiles has helped him with his work, where he gets his inspiration from and what the future has in store.


What brought you to a qualification in sewing? And why did you choose Fashion Enter and the Level 1 ABC Award in Fashion and Textiles?

While undertaking my MA Visual Arts at Camberwell College of Art (UAL) my work transitioned from solid sculptural work to more delicate organic installation pieces which used thread as one of the main materials. These pieces always seemed to be a starting point to me rather than the end point, the start of something conceptual which would naturally progress into wearable pieces. However, I parked that thought, as well as making that type of artwork, choosing instead to revisit more practical techniques to create work which could be wall hung. However, I retained the thread element as I started to develop thread drawings — creating image by sewing thread onto paper.

I exhibited some of this work at The Other Art Fair in October 2014 and it caught the attention of Helen Clinch, co-founder of luxury womenswear brand HEMYCA. Having focused solely on creating and showing my artwork for 18 months I felt it was the right time to explore garment design and construction but I was unsure where was best to do this, so I asked Helen. She recommended Fashion Capital. Stitch Level 1 seemed the most sensible course to start since I had no previous machine sewing experience.


Did you start the course with a specific idea in mind for a project?

I don't generally start anything with any preconceived ideas, so no, I did not have any project in mind when I started the course. I simply focused on practising and developing the skills I was being taught — I find that works best for me in anything I undertake. Once I had completed all the required tasks in the syllabus I was then able to form ideas about a project which would best incorporate a selection of these key tasks. This allowed me to build on what I had learnt, improving my overall machine and fabric handling skills while designs and create a lightweight coat.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

Many things inspire me, everyday observation and interactions with people, emerging myself into an 'environment' and becoming part of that environments 'narrative' for short periods of time — numerous ideas begin taking shape while I am at a concert or walking.

From the arts I have found a strong connection with classical music, particularly the piano works of Bach, which are profound, suggesting the breaking apart and reformation of matter. I also find listening to the written works of Kafka and Dostoyevsky, like a 'music', allows me to connect with my own sense of reality.

My artwork addresses the fragility of life through aspects of human psychology — the constant flux of breaking apart and reforming. As a result, I have been drawn to people who I feel embody these ideas while demonstrating strength of 'will' and 'intellect' — most noticeably Brigitte Bardot and Kate Moss. In a world increasingly littered with celebrity and vulgarity, both these women, particularly Brigitte Bardot, standout as true icons flowing with their own unique artistic talent and elegance. As Vogue stated '…Kate Moss defies categorisation' while Brigitte Bardot continues to challenge dominant social norms, while her enduring appeal as an icon of youth, beauty, fashion and lifestlye are best summarised by the critic Michel Cieutat who noted, '…Bardot will always be Bardot'.


How has the qualification helped you in pursuing your career so far?

I've never really thought of myself as a career person. I enjoy exploring the boundaries where disciplines meet —the undefined areas of clear mist where ideas are formed and can grow. While on the Level 1 Stitch I was inspired to produce a new series of artwork and during the process of creating the lightweight coat started forming ideas to develop elements of the design into a small collection. This is all very exciting and positive for me.


What does the future have in store for you?

I am more concerned about the present than the future, although I do like to have a rough 3 month plan — next I hope to compete the Level 2 ABC Award in Fashion and Textiles (Pattern Cutting) at Fashion Enter, plus create a new series of artwork based on Brigitte Bardot which is scheduled to be featured in Issue 11 of the Arts & Fashion magazine After Nyne.

Based on past experience, I would say the future will bring with it busts of energy and ideas which I will realise through periods of hard, intense, focused work. This will be coupled with a sense of pleasure and excitement as the ideas take shape and become reality and then finally move into a period of disappointment and boredom before the cycle begins again.


To find out more about Ant’s work visit his website www.antpearce.com

If you would like to follow in Ant’s footsteps, ABC Awards offer a full suite of fashion and textiles qualifications including design and craft, footwear and leather and sewing and textiles.  If would like more information about any of our qualifications, please don’t hesitate to call our team on 0115 854 1620 or email centresupport@abcawards.co.uk.