Sydney A. Braat
For years graffiti has been deemed a disgrace to the intended beauty of buildings, walls, cars, and other objects in our everyday lives… until recently. Artists are redefining the art of graffiti with up-and-coming murals that fill dismal urban streets with life. Artist Stephen Wilson is returning to the Hamptons this fall with an exhibition entitled Luxury Graffiti at Roman Fine Art. Wilson’s first exhibition at Roman Fine Art will feature works from his ongoing Luxury series as well as debut selections from his newest Model Tapestries and Brick Wall series.
Stephen Wilson is a mixed-media artist best known for his artistic exploration of the intersections between traditional craft and contemporary culture through blended use of handicraft techniques with modern technologies and pop iconography. His work is also influenced by high fashion. Wilson’s redefinition of textile and embroidery-based art forms evokes questions regarding luxury consumerism and high-low art distinctions.
“Art has always been with me – my early career, I was a musician- playing in band and also doing embroidery-design freelance work in the New York fashion industry,” reflected Stephen Wilson. “I have always been drawn to the decorative arts and I fortuitously started working in the embroidery field in the 1990’s. I have been an embroidery designer for over 25 years now and have designed for fashion, home decor, traditional sewing and crafts as well as now, contemporary art.”
Wilson has been inspired by street art and fashion. His latest work fuses these inspirations into unique mixed-media works that immediately catches your attention. Wilson’s acclaimed Luxury series takes discarded designer packaging and renews their spirit through intricate embroidery work and luxurious fabric applications, like Hermès silk and Chanel wool boucle. Wilson has an impressive background in embroidery design and technology, which has helped him create designs that are then machine-embroidered and finished with mixed-media hand processes including found-object assemblage and painting.
The new series features supersized luxury boxes with themes inspired by Wilson’s previous explorations. These larger-than-life objects are adorned with Wilson’s signature embroidery, paint and mixed-media applications to create a grand scale previously unattainable for the artist. The Brick Wall series features designer shoeboxes that have been deconstructed, laser-cut into pieces and reassembled into uniform brick-like abstractions, echoing the street art and graffiti appeal. The exhibit also features tapestry-style pieces featuring photographic images of fashion models which have been transformed with layers of thread. All the work is brought together by embroidered iconography, mimicking graffiti tags. A rainbow of graphic appliqué stretches across Wilson’s dimensional pieces, ranging from classic stars and skulls, to fresh emojis and brass knuckles.