This week’s cover, “Turkey Trotting” by Audrey Schilt, can only be described as one in which there’s “more than meets the eye.” Yet, it certainly helps knowing about the artist first, her background and world view, in order to go beyond the image’s surface reality. For example, notice the woman’s skirt, particularly the fabric’s texture, which resembles leaves on the ground. Consider also her red hat that matches the turkey’s red head. Conclusion: Schilt has enjoyed a notable career as a fashion designer, bringing this to bear in her current fashion illustrations.
Moreover, Schilt is a big believer in the idea of balance, a principle that permeates both her life and art. Such balance manifests itself in the image’s composition, where the turkey and the woman are on different spatial levels. This opposition (high and low) is one way that Schilt achieves equality. The artist accomplishes balance through contradiction in other ways as well. “White Lace Pinafore with Hat” is a fashion illustration with black-and-white figures and standing/tilting poses, all elements that also contribute to balance. Besides subtle balance, there’s a sense of whimsy in Schilt’s images.
The first thing I noticed in your cover was the idea of whimsy and playfulness. Is that a signature of your work?
There’s whimsy and a sense of humor in my images, but the pieces have more to do with sophistication. I don’t want them to be silly.
How about the idea of balance what does balance mean to you?
Life is a balance, and it’s serious. I’m always struggling with balance in my art, too. It shouldn’t be too ultra decorative. It should be detail-oriented but loose. Balance should be manifested in aesthetic elements, like movement, shape, form and subject matter.
Balance has a lot to do with creativity. How do you approach being creative?
Creativity is original; it’s having a fresh approach. There’s service in creativity, too. You can help people in so many ways.
Then, how is balance like creativity?
It’s not typical. I want it to capture attention, to provoke fun.
You are now creating fashion illustrations, rather than working as a fashion designer. How did that transition work?
The last couple of years, I started doing graphic illustrations. I went back to my art background. I had taken fine arts as part of my major at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I have taken art courses through the years, including learning about the computer, which is another kind of tool.
How is your style different now that you are doing fashion illustration?
I’m creating shapes within the body of my figures. I’m now exaggerating the “fit” of a woman. She’s more voluptuous now, but she’s not fat. She’s healthy, goes to the gym, eats healthy.
More like Jennifer Lopez than Twiggy. You are developing your own style.
Yes, perhaps a signature style. I learned in fashion that every designer has his or her own signature.
This style of yours has a balance, too. Can you describe this balance?
Exaggeration is okay, but it has to be healthy.
What in your life would give you balance?
To be a grandmother someday. But my children aren’t married yet, so I have to be a mother-in-law first. I would also like to consider doing products and working with interior designers. Being commercial is part of my background.
Another balance you have is where you live.
I live in New York and Quoque in the summer, which is not overbearing. I love nature, the light in the country. In the city, I have access to trends, to see what’s happening.
How can we maintain balance in life and art?
Keep being optimistic. Keep fighting. Keep believing you will find balance.