The art of living fearlessly: the creatives revolutionising the worlds of art and fashion

By Ross Forbes | 05 Jul 2021 | Style, Design, Art

We meet 10 of the creative visionaries revolutionising the art and fashion worlds with the Sarabande Foundation

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* Karimah Hassan - Colour Your City

Visionary fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen was renowned for his fierce creativity and desire to push the limits of fashion and its artistry. It is unsurprising, then, that his Sarabande Foundation, founded in 2006, has grown to become the pinnacle of that legacy, nurturing and celebrating more than 100 pioneering artists and designers.

Providing everything from top scholarships to low-cost studio space and bespoke mentoring, Sarabande has supported visual artists, sculptors, filmmakers and photographers, as well as accessory and fashion designers.

With annual showcases, artists in residence programmes, pioneering industry talks, workshops and exhibitions, McQueen’s inspiration is felt throughout the organisation, to which he left the majority of his estate upon his death in 2010.

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* A Casto Smith design

Famous supporters include ambassadors Naomi Campbell, photographer Nick Knight OBE, filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson OBE and Andrew Bolton, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Foundation is now led by CEO Trino Verkade, McQueen’s long-term collaborator, who says: “No other institution offers the same depth of support across such a breadth of disciplines… We keep our objectives simple: to support the most exciting creative talents who will truly help shape the world going forward.

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* A piece by contemporary artist Alice von Maltzahn

“Culture requires bold, fearlessly creative individuals to move forward into the future, to focus on today and tomorrow’s issues,” she says. “We don’t let talent and ideas fail because of lack of a studio to work from, or a lack of education that gives someone the necessary tools to hold their voice out loud. Neither do we let exciting ideas just disappear because an individual didn’t have the community with whom to brainstorm or explore them.”

Hawkins and designers Craig Green and Molly Goddard, and artists Mircea Teleaga and Molly Goddard and Michaela Yearwood-Dan, there is no shortage of exciting work within Sarabande’s impressive portfolio – with new work available to buy through the Foundation’s retail arm, House of Bandits, which operates an online boutique as well as physical pop up events.

Here, Tempus meets 10 of the most exciting artists and designers of tomorrow.

KARIMAH HASSAN

Born in Wales with Yemeni and Bangladeshi heritage, Karimah Hassan creates live paintings at performance events in London and New York to highlight the important of communities in the city. Her bold, expressive works has seen clients including The Barbican, Ted Baker, Arts Council England, and The Highline New York.

She also spent the first lockdown painting a series of one-a-day portraits of people who tag her in photographs on Instagram, which she has turned into a book and exhibition, The Strangers Yearbook.

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* Karimah Hassan painting live

AURORA PETTINARI YORK 

Textile artist and embroiderer Aurora Pettinari York was born in Milan, and is inspired by Greco- Roman mythology, and stories of “humans colliding with other humans, animals and gods” –creating lonely figures longing for connection.

Pettinari York has exhibited her work internationally, including group shows at the V&A in London and MUDEC in Milan, as well as projects with architects and fashion designers for London Craft Week and Milan Fashion Week.

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BIANCA SAUNDERS

Selected in 2018 as ‘One To Watch’ by the British Fashion Council, London designer Bianca Saunders launched her eponymous label just the year before.

She has shown four seasons at London Fashion Week Men’s with her boldly constructed garments, which push the boundaries of gender and create fresh new ideas for menswear intertwined with inspiration from her Caribbean heritage. Her designs have featured in publications including Vogue and i-D and she is a finalist for this year’s LVMH Prize.

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CASTRO SMITH

Jewellery designer Castro Smith began his training as a painter and printmaker before his apprenticeship with the Goldsmiths Company and subsequent studies with engraving firm RH Wilkins.

In 2017 he was awarded the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust scholarship and travelled to Japan to study under the guidance of master silversmith Hiroshi Suzuki.

Working mainly on bespoke orders, he produces contemporary pieces combining techniques and styles. Smith is the recipient of the Goldsmiths Special Council Award; the Podolsky Award and the Theo Fennell Award.

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CONOR JOSEPH

The macabre and the human form are key themes in the jewellery of Conor Joseph, a Central Saint Martins graduate who takes inspiration from film, visual art and sculpture to create piece that are like an extension of the body.

The darkness of his designs is juxtaposed by his sometimes delicate, fine classic craftsmanship. A Sarabande jewellerin- residence, Conor’s ‘Second Skin’ concept recently found a client in actor Luke Evans, who ordered a custom ring created using an image of his hand.

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SAELIA APARICIO TORINOS

Born in Spain and now based in London, multidisciplinary artist Saelia Aparico Torinos works in sculpture, animation, large scale free-hand drawings and glass blowing.

She has exhibited more than 75 times – including 12 solo shows – and recently won the prestigious Generaciones 2019 Award for contemporary art. Saelia also created a large installation at the Sarabande x JOYCE pop up in Hong Kong.

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ALICE VON MALTZAHN

London-based contemporary artist Alice von Maltzahn is an international artist working predominantly with paper.

Von Maltzahn studied at Wimbledon College of Fine Art, The Ruskin School of Fine Art and Oxford University and her work has been exhibited in Germany and the UK. Working with sustainable material, such as Japanese papers and inks, her work, with its meticulously created, larger-than-life artworks, examines the traces we leave behind.

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WED

London based bridal and eveningwear brand WED was established in 2019 by Amy Trinh and Evan Phillips.

Semi-finalists of the LVMH Prize, WED is inspired by the surreal and imaginative drapes of early couture, WED aims to disrupt the bridal market and create a sustainable shift away from the notion that the wedding dress must be a one-day occasion piece.

The same styles are offered in white for bridal, black for evening, and each piece is designed to be worn on, pre- or post the bride’s wedding day.

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SHINTA NAKAJIMA

Award-winning silversmith Shinta Nakajima produces ornaments and vessels inspired by natural forms – such as plants, seeds and fruits – using hammering and chasing techniques.

Nakajima describes traditional hammering as a meditative practice, and spends approximately 100 hours on each piece, hammering 15,000 times per hour. Nakajima’s work was exhibited and sold at Masterpiece London 2019.

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STEPHEN DOHERTY

Stephen Doherty’s works (such as Fading Pink) embraces multiple disciplines including drawing, painting and print, to reflect on his environments – the people around him, their relationships and shared rituals.

His first solo show ‘Gratitude Blooms’ was exhibited at SHOWstudio in 2020 and was developed during a residency in Goa. Featuring paintings of flowers, petals and studies of the human figure, the show was centred around themes of ritual celebration and performative acts of gratitude.

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