Artist: Mimi Haddon
Media: Fiber Art
Gallery: Gatov West Gallery
Mimi Haddon is a graduate student in the Fiber Art program at the CSULB School of Art. She received her Bachelors of Art in 1994 and recently went back to school to further her career in art. She started her career in the Fiber Art department by creating costumes, then she was inspired to further use her materials to create different pieces of artwork.
Mimi uses old shirts that she finds at Goodwill to create her art. She starts by dissecting them and re-stitching them back together. Although she typically uses a sewing machine, she also spends the extra time to sew them back together herself. Mimi emphasized that she spends extra time considering the interaction of colors when creating her artwork. For example, in the piece on the wall that looks like deflated balloons, each of the colors plays off of each other to give a deflated look to the artwork all together.
She was inspired by studying indigenous cultures and how they used natural materials to build their own structures and art. She wants to use her art to bring life back to things that would otherwise be discarded. By using old, used shirts from Goodwill, she is using something that someone once bought and eventually gave away when they were done with it. She wants her audience to think about how the clothes we own got in our hands, as well as where it will be in later years. She told us that almost 2 billion shirts are sold each year, and once we are done with them, we send them away to be someone else’s problem to take care of.
My conversation with Mimi was really thought provoking. I thought about how often I buy clothes, and then eventually, after they have only been worn a few times, give them away and never see it again. Shopping has become something so normal to me that I completely disregarded what happens to my old clothes once I’m done with them. I really enjoyed how she was trying to give these old shirts another chance to be something beautiful, like a piece of art. This gave me a sense of redemption because even though someone threw it away like it was a piece of trash, Mimi gave it another purpose to be apart of her artwork, making it more beautiful in someone else’s eyes. It showed me that even though sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough for other people, there will always be someone out there to give me a reason to be a better me. Whether its someone from my family or one of the kids I tutor at work, I will always have the opportunity to be a better version of myself each day.