International Playground is a global brand collective that blurs the lines between art, fashion, and e-commerce. Curating an innovative roster of international and NYC-based talent, the showroom and retail location focuses on good people making good clothing. Similarly, Print All Over Me is a collab studio based out of New Inc, the New Museum's incubator, that allows anyone to upload their artwork online to pre-designed silhouettes like t-shirts, pants, jockstraps (yes jockstraps) and a myriad of accessories and even home goods. Every piece available via PAOM is custom made; PAOM prints the fabric first and later cuts and sews, emphasizing that by taking fashion slowly they are able to offer high quality items and produce in an environmentally sustainable way.
Add artist Trey Speegle to the mix and the result is a hyper-collaboration for SS16 we can't wait to get our hands on. The trio partnered to produce and wholesale a men's and women's collection through International Playground based on Speegle's Paint By Number paintings, drawings and collages. We caught up with the artist who knows a thing or two about marrying fashion and art.
Hi Trey, please introduce yourself.
I'm an artist that recontextualizes vintage paint by number paintings. I have a collection of some 3000 of them. I use them to create new meanings with pop bent. In addition to showing in galleries and museums, I've created a home collection for Anthropolgie and painted a mural for one of Michele Obama's charities.
Tell us about collaborating with International Playground and Print All Over Me.
Print All Over Me is a great facilitator in putting any drawing, painting, design or photograph on fashion and accessories. International Playground has a SoHo retail store but they also represent a dozen or so designers including the CFDA nominated Chromat. So, we decided to do this hyper-collaboration and wholesale my 25 piece collection.
Does fashion influence your artwork? How do these two mediums coexist within your world?
Not exactly. I used to work for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Allure as a designer and art director, so I know the biz. Many of my friends are big names in the fashion world and I've always wanted to turn my work into clothing . PAOM has done a great job of managing to be fashion-foward and sort of classic at the same time, which is a neat trick.
Marrying fashion and art comes quite naturally to you- what are some previous collaborations that inspired the idea to create your first collection?
Stella McCartney asked me to create a huge backdrop for her SS '10 show in Paris, which was really exciting. She had ideas of what kind of painting she wanted, but as soon as she sent me swatches of the collection, I thought of this colorful vintage PBN of the Arch de Triuomph. I painted it in a set shop in London and then it was trucked to the Palais de Tokyo, which is actually very close to the Arch. In the painting the streets are wet with folks running around with umbrellas. It rainied the morning of the show. Yes! Life sometimes imitates art.
Walk us through the collection- what are a few standout pieces?
You know that's tough to say. I really like everything, of course. Jonathan Pozniak shot these pictures of the collection, like any other, they really come to life when worn by real people. Valissa Yoe is a DJ and a stylist and she really looks great in the blue shirtdress and the coral shift. Joaquim de Santana is a dancer that's in "Sleep No More", and the sleeveless mesh tee really suits him perfectly, I think. The horse paintings translate great as a textile. It looks like camoflage, but it's actually a close-up of a PBN, enlarged and painted on canvas.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I think the men's bathing suits are great. We only did two this time but I have dozens of designs. I want them all.
Describe your process in creating the collection.
Well, I just kept trying different paintings with different garments and then I culled it down to about 50+ pieces. Then I went over the line with Johnny & Virginia at International Playground, as well as Jesse at PAOM and we edited it down to two dozen of the strongest pieces that seem to work as a mini-collection.
How did the idea to incorporate Paint By Number come about?
Well, it wasn't my idea, really. The short answer is still long.... Michael O'Donoghue was the first head writer on SNL and he was a good friend. He collected paint by numbers and I helped him organize a show of them about 20 years ago. He died suddenly a couple a years later and his widow gave me the collection which was about 250 paintings. I proposed a PBN retrospective to The Smithsonian that was then mounted in 2001. At that time I had about 500. I was the art director for Us Weekly and I had been making word art, so at some point I had the idea to merge the two. I decided to quit my job and make art full-time. That was 10 years ago.
What's on the horizon- any exciting projects we should look out for?
Several things. I'm designing the Fall '16 collection, working on a project for the W in Times Square, in talks about a fun book project and beginning a new series of paintings, the title of which is, "Start Where You Are"... in the end, that is ALL you can ever do. Just start where you are.
Photography by Jonathan Pozniak