- Artist: Mimi Haddon
- Exhibition: Looking at Color through discarded T-shirts
- Media: T-shirt, fabric
- Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
- Website: http://www.mimihaddon.com
- Workshops: http://www.mimihaddonart.com
- Instagram: @mimihaddon
Mimi Haddon is a native Southern Californian, with her art studio being located in Santa Monica. She is in her last year at the School of Art at Cal State Long Beach. She plans on graduating with a MFA in Fiber Art in the fall semester of 2017. She comes from a background of photography and with a high interest in theatrical costumes. She received her BFA in graphic design, also here at Cal State Long Beach in the 1990s. For her masters, she is focusing on the study of textiles and development of costumes based off of her findings. The artwork that she had displayed in the gallery was inspired and made with plain T-shirts. She considers this article of clothing to be a native material used in the American culture.
The art work of Mimi Haddon was made of different parts of a T-shirts. After collecting about 500 T-shirts, she divided the sleeves, the collars, and the body of the shirts into separate piles to begin conducting the project. Color was an important element in her art pieces and it is the first thing one notices when looking at her art. There are vibrant, primary colors being used that come from the non-dyed fabrics. Her display consisted of five pieces of art. One piece was on the floor and had a map-like pattern to it called “Fluid Territories”. It almost seemed as if it were woven. There was another piece that was on flat surfaced wall. There were symmetrical rows of what seemed to be heavy bags, but later Haddon went on describing that they were made from T-shirt sleeves. It was very clear that throughout her gallery display, the use of colors and patterns were used to create the art. Some were purposefully aligned while others were meant to show disorder, like the piles of T-shirts that seemed like laundry. There were no other elements used other than the T-shirts, which I found to be very unique.
Mimi Haddon’s art show is based off of the idea of braiding and weaving that Natives are known for doing to create art. Because of this, she wanted to find the native material for the culture she belongs to, as stated before. She believed that this material had to be something that comes from the Earth, and that is why she chose something that is cotton based. She discovered that there were hundreds of T-shirts that people got rid of yearly and only wore a couple of times. Through donations, she was able to collect the material for her project.
Haddon described her work as that of a cell structure, composed of small sections to create one identity. Her wall piece is inspired by one of her other artistic works, a photograph of inflated balloons that she took on the Santa Monica Pier. That piece specifically, she mentioned, was made to express a feeling of disinflation while incorporating color theories. The idea of layering colors to make a relationship of some type is seen throughout her expo as a common theme.
The art exhibit gave me a sense of playfulness, and made me feel as if I was in primary school again because of the colors in the environment. The “Fluid Territories” reminded me of bodies of water on our planet and how dense they are. Although some of the pieces had a more negative context to them, the setting had a positive, vibrant atmosphere. When I first entered the gallery, I started from the east wing, where the art from an other artist was plain and with earth like tones. It was interesting to experience the visual contrast between the two displays. When I started analyzing the T-shirt display, I went to go read on the background of the work to understand the concept a little more. I noticed that the name of the artist looked familiar to me. Sure enough, when I stepped outside of the gallery and saw the artist, it was Mimi. Mimi Haddon and I had met last semester in a costume design class that we both took in the Department of Dance. I recall her describing on the first day of class, her passion for photography, costumes, and textiles. It was so satisfying to finally see her art work and experience by first hand her ideas that she had discussed with me last fall. After chatting for a little, she went on to tell me that this project is leading into a larger project where she will be designing costumes from the pieces of T-shirts. She was exploring that idea on the mannequin in front of the gallery. This will be her first time creating costumes.