Artist Pippa Cunningham: The Scenic Route

2.5 min read
Crocodile and Bird; Miami Zoo by Pippa Cunningham

Crocodile and Bird; Miami Zoo by Pippa Cunningham

In MOJEH Issue 26, artist Pippa Cunningham takes us into her world of brightly coloured vistas and fluid figures that are just as likely to be inspired by the Cote D’Azur as a backstage moment at Christian Dior. Bringing the worlds of fashion and art together, her paintings have adorned accessories for Louis Vuitton and beyond.

By Natalie Trevis

Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist ?

I studied textiles at the Royal College of Art in London and spent a lot of my time printing one-off scarves, I think then I started to really become interested in painting.

How would you describe your artistic style and has it changed over time?

I would say that it has developed, I am not in such a rush with it, I look more and take my time!

Where do you find inspiration for your artwork?

Travel is my main inspiration, different light and colour. Also movement, I did a series of paintings at the Lido in Paris and the Haute Couture shows, I like the challenge of capturing speeding people. 

Are there other artists or creatives (whether historic or current) that inspire you?  

David Hockney’s work I love so much, he is amazing, his drawing is so sensitive and his colour joyous. I used to go to the Dior fashion shows when John Galliano was the creative director there, my brother is a fashion photographer and he would some times sneak me in so I could draw backstage, to me they were always the stand out shows, visually so exciting.

How do you choose a medium and where is your favourite place to work?

When I am working outside I work with Gouache and paper, because I like the speed it dries, the quickness of it, it has a high pigment content so the colour is really pure and bright. My favourite places to paint are often being high up, looking down on an incredible view. 

Makeup Backstage at Dior by Pippa Cunningham

Makeup Backstage at Dior by Pippa Cunningham

You’ve collaborated with Louis Vuitton on two collections in the past (Resort 2008 and the Louis Vuitton Ailleurs collection in 2011), as well as Marc Jacobs (spring/summer 2009), how did those projects come about and what did they mean to you?

I worked on prints and images for a cruise collection with Louis Vuitton then that led into other work for them, I really enjoy working them always because they are so creative, its always very fun and exciting.

What was the most rewarding part of your experience of collaborating with these brands?

Seeing your images made in to such beautiful quality products is amazing.

Is there a different process to go through as an artist when creating a piece destined for a handbag or textile rather than a canvas?

I do think about the shapes that the images are going on, but I also keep it at the back of my head so I don’t become too rigid with it. 

We are seeing many successful collaborations between artists and luxury fashion houses of late, why do you think the two work so well together?  

Fashion is a dynamic creative conduit which is maybe more accessible than Fine Art. Fashion benefits from creative input from many directions and artistic collaboration has been successful since Schiaparelli in the 1930s.  I think the boundaries of different disciplines are crossing over more and more.

What do you think is the current relationship between art and fashion, does one influence the other?

There is a very strong link between fashion and art, with museums showing retrospectives and fashion companies showing art. I think some fashion designers are artists but agree with the sentiment of Karl Lagerfeld that art is art and fashion is fashion.

If you could collaborate with another fashion line in the future, which one would it be and why?

I really enjoy working with fashion, the pace of the process is exciting. It gives you a great buzz. I would love to do a project with Dolce & Gabbana.

What has been a highlight in your career to date?  

It was brilliant to see my paintings on the big handbags in the Louis Vuitton store on Bond Street.

What does the rest of 2015 hold for you?  

I am going on a painting trip in the Italian Riviera in a few weeks and Sicily later, which I am very excited about.

(From L-R) Miami South Beach view from Shore Hotel; Menton Harbour; Cactus Plants, France and View from Captainerie Menton