Questionnaire: JW Anderson

Q. What is art for? A. To tell us where we are.

magdalene-odundo-2_900.jpg

Magdalene Odundo, Black Vessels, 2013, terracotta. Courtesy: the artist and Anthony Slayter-Ralph Fine Art, Santa Barbara; photograph: David Westwood

Magdalene Odundo, Black Vessels, 2013, terracotta. Courtesy: the artist and Anthony Slayter-Ralph Fine Art, Santa Barbara; photograph: David Westwood

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

It’s a shifting mood-board of fashion, art, ceramics, photography … It changes everyday. At the moment there are images of a Magdalene Odundo vase, a wood carving by David Pye and photographs by George Platt Lynes.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

A Basil Blackshaw painting of windowpanes which I saw in the Ulster Museum as a child. I’d never seen anything like it before and knowing he was working just down the road from where I lived was inspiring.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?

A Howard Hodgkin painting – just that in a white room. His paintings can both make me smile and bring me to tears.

What is your favourite title of an artwork?

Hodgkin again: The Rains Came (2014).

What do you wish you knew?

How to speak another language.

What should change?

People’s dependency on ‘like’ culture.

What should stay the same?

That most museums and galleries in this country are free and open to all.

What could you imagine doing if you didn't do what you do?

I’d probably be a gardener. My first job was in a gardening centre and I’m still obsessed by the idea of being able to keep a plant alive.

What music are you listening to?

A Spotify buffet - I like how a piece of music can change my mood unexpectedly.

What are you reading?

Listening to Stone: The Art of Isamu Noguchi (2015) by Hayden Herrera. The way Noguchi threaded a singular vision through projects spanning art, design, architecture, landscaping is astounding.

What is art for?

To tell us where we are.

Disobedient Bodies: JW Anderson curates The Hepworth Wakefield’ runs from 18 March – 18 June 2017.

Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland in 1984 and studied menswear at the London College of Fashion. He established his label JW Anderson in 2008 with a menswear collection before launching a womens’ collection in 2010. In 2013 Anderson was appointed Creative Director of Loewe and now works on both brands in tandem. Awards include British Fashion Award for ‘Emerging Talent, Ready-to-Wear’ (2012), ‘The New Establishment Award’ (2013) and ‘Menswear Designer of the Year’ (2014). He was the first designer to win both womenswear and menswear designer of the year in the same year at the British Fashion Awards (2015). 

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