Thursday, 12 March 2009

Right said Fred

Yesterday the ingenious Fred Butler visited our little class and allowed us into her kaleidoscopic world of toy robots, eye watering colour and her refusal to be defined.
Although Fred is vague about what it is exactly that she does for a living, she can be described through a medley of definitions as a fashion prop stylist or an art director, and she can now add the title of accessories designer with her new S/S 09 range of adaptable origami style pieces. Which of course she was wearing when she arrived, with two geometrical cubic pieces pinned to her head, setting off her white blonde hair.
From her softly spoken voice and polite manner, you wouldn't have expected her to have been so bold as to go to New York on her industry year, as part of her Brighton based degree in fashion, and to seek out some little known designers called 'As Four' and promptly become their first intern. Or to have phoned up Shona Heath, an art director and set designer, to ask her 'just a few questions on a project I was doing. I had to ask her how much she earned! But she did offer me a job after the conversation' and she then worked for Shona for a 18 months, painting plants gold and making giant sweets from cellophane.

Although us students and Penny Martin, ex Show Studio editor in chief, battered her with questions Fred was completely unfazed and at ease. She only became excited when someone nailed her perceptions of her work; how she likes to place the set on the body, tries to get as much humour into her work as possible 'my friend wanted me to put a joint in the photo but I don't think Kickers would have gone for it, but I managed to sneak in a flag with the word cannabis!', and how she loves children's memorabilia.
Explaining her working method and haphazard approach to finding inspiration, she mentioned how she cannot go to the library and just consume visuals or read but has to pick things up, touch stuff and fiddle with everything in order to be intrigued by something.

This intrigue is also surrounding Fred unconsciously as she is many things; a hoarder, a magpie, a tactile touchy-feeley person, an artist, a surrealist, a believer of magical realism, and most definitely unaware of her inspiring others.

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