For one of my projects, I designed a knitwear collection inspired by a painting I saw at the MoMA a few weeks ago. The painting titled Intimacy Autonomy, by Joan Semmel really struck a chord with me because I noticed how emotional and sad I felt after leaving the museum. I can be the type of person who can be very dramatic and passionate for other works of art because somehow I was captivated by the essence and root emotion of the painting; Maybe not the intentional emotion the artist wanted, but at least I felt some strong emotions churn inside me as I observed the piece. For one of the obvious things that I noticed, was the odd palette of blues, grey, green and soft yellow. It resembled these odd hints of decaying hues like a dead corpse. The nudity didn’t bother me since as well as the unflattering angles, it was more of a question if the couple lying down was dead or alive. Joan, the painter, explained that she documented a lot of her work with her lover from Spain where they pose in sex positions or lay with one another sharing beautiful conversations. I saw her interpretation as something very romantic and personal, but I developed another concept for myself.
The grotesque colors and vulnerable angle in the painting brought me back to a dark place in my life. I, like many people, felt depressed in their lives. Not too long ago, I dealt with something that made me feel worthless and alone. I would lay in bed naked, alone during the winter time contemplating whether my existence in life after being rejected from college and unemployed made me feel worthy. I spent an entire year wasting my time sleeping, sketching and preparing a portfolio for my admission at FIT after I was rejected the first time. All of my friends started college without me and I felt left behind. I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed and find a job, because I was dead inside. I couldn’t pick up fabric and start sewing or design a collection either. I had all this free time and I wasted every day waking up at 3pm, take a shower, eat and play video games until my pupils would burn. Not to mention, I was involved in a made-up romance with someone who saw nothing good in life, but to act reckless and selfish. I was at my worst. And as of today, every morning that I wake up I feel inspired to get something done because I have a job, I am a full time student and I am in the best relationship I could ever be in. This isn’t a story about depression or resilience. Every person I have met has experienced deep sadness that has lasted for very long periods of time. It’s important to acknowledge the tribulations in ones life to find the motivation to go far in life.
My collection manifests from my experience of depression as well as the brilliant painting into knit wear pieces for the cold season. The season of winter is misleading in a sense that we focus on the holidays and how great the change in weather can be. But days are shorter, we don’t see the sun as often and there is not much to do outside. We stay inside our homes to keep warm from the biting cold and we feel lonely because we are trapped leaving our homes. The cold is a reminder to us that change is an often thing and sometimes it can be unpleasant and unbearable at times like winter.
It’s okay to feel sadness, just remind yourself that at the end of the day the sun can come out and make the days feel warmer.