Interview with Shoppe Stay Lovely… On display at Culturefix July 6th-9th
Kevin Amato, an NYC based lifestyle photographer and Johnny Sagen a curator/producer, joined Culturefix last week to talk about Amato’s newest project to be on display at Culturefix June 6-9th, titled Shoppe Stay Lovely. Shoppe Stay lovely will feature articles of clothing that are each one of a kind pieces produced and designed by artists and emerging designers. The gallery will act as much as a showroom as an exhibition space. Like many of the shows he organizes at Culturefix, Sagen (a.k.a Snowy Wildness) avidly pushes fashion forward concepts and heavy exhibitions that skew the lines of functionality and art for art’s sake. Kevin Amato’s vision as an artist and organizer is driven by collaboration with subjects, artists and mediums. Sagen, as a ferocious salesman of art as concept views fashion “being equally for function’s sake as [it is] for art sake”. The conversation with these gentlemen led to an expression of a hopeful vision of reshaping the culture of consuming, displaying and providing an audience for art; a conversation that Culturefix has always hoped to encourage.
As a lifestyle photographer, Amato’s work is mostly defined by human subjects, and personality. Personality, Kevin argues, is something that can be defined in millions of ways, but the one most impossible to miss in the eyes of the camera is that of the subject’s clothes. Kevin explains from a photographers view, “these things we wear define us so much that the clothes become the people and the personality as much as any other quality would or could define anyone”. His relationship between clothing and his artistic and documentary talents is reflected through his emphasis on functional and ‘slow’ fashion. Amato sees this as a process that takes into consideration all facets of fashion – from production to consumption. Through this production style, there must be a story behind each step.
One of the most important tenants of Amato’s, Shoppe Stay Lovely clothing collection, focuses on the building of familial relationships through collaboration with a group of artists of a wide range of mediums and condensing these mediums into functional pieces. This, Amato argues, is a common occurrence in the art world, but one found less in the American fashion industry. “Slap it on a t-shirt and sell for more than it cost you is an easy task” says Sagen. Additionally, this very notion has become a common technique in the fashion world. But take, for example, Amato’s shot of a man curled up on a bare bed with a pillow over his face in a sparsely decorated bedroom. The image could impart anything from loneliness and depression to coziness and serenity in a viewer’s mind. Take this image and print it on a fleece blanket and drape it over your bed. You have an emotive visual as you would hanging on your wall, but instead it’s laying on your bed and is there for you to wrap up in.
Culturefix sees the show as an opportunity to display a different idea of art while promoting several artists’ work at once. Sagan and Amato see this underappreciated and underutilized platform for collaboration as an opportunity to make the people walking on our streets a little more lovely.
A renown and elusive street artist has been quoted saying, “Imagine a city … where every street was awash with a million colors and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where every one was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Image a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet”.
Amato’s world might not look that different. Stay Lovely at Culturefix July 6th.