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The Modern Suit is Over 150 Years Old

men's fashion illustration As a result of being a men's fashion illustrator I find myself delving into the history of men's fashion. I like to know where history can be painted in to each illustration.

Recently I discovered a tidbit of knowledge which was quite interesting. Suits are over 150 years old!

men's fashion illustration-sunflowermanThe styling has been variable over the past century and half or so. When Beau Brummel (the man often credited with inventing the modern suit) decided to wear the first hipster pants in the 1800's he was just trying to be different and unique. Who knew that he would start a revolution?

It did help that in the 1600's King Charles the II made a royal change to the dress code of the court. They were to no longer wear the opulent French uniform, but switch to English cuts and fabrics. Politics and environment heavily influenced the change which prepared the way for Brummel.

150 years is still very young in comparison to so many articles of history but the influence it has taken hold of over the world is massive. Nearly every developed nation is marked with the inclusion of the suit in politics and business.

men's fashion illustration-sunflowerman

I often wonder at the oddity of lapels and collars, the need to secure a noose around the neck of the shirt and the overall lack of color in men's clothing. Where does the desire for retaining vestigial patterns in clothing come from? The most odd thing about it is that I love it! I truly do love it. I love beautifully cut jackets with a perfectly complimenting shirt. I love ties in all of their absurdity and the craft of a well made pair of shoes.

The joy is confusing. All of the descriptions are particularly arbitrary; 'beautifully cut,' 'perfectly complimenting,' and 'well made.' It must partially be contributed to the suits' symbol of power, but I like to think that it also says something about our past. In the same way an aged wine is born with decades of knowledge and passion I see the modern suit as a sip of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

So I continue to illustrate. I continue to paint and create and iterate in the fashion of the bespoke tailors in Savile Row. I see and feel the beauty of men's clothing and fashion and I am excited to participate with everyone in wearing and exhibiting men's fashion.

men's fashion illustration-sunflowerman men's fashion illustration-sunflowerman

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A Collected Gentleman

If you have not heard of A Collected Gentleman yet, please stop and see what is going on with that community (acollectedgentleman.com). The posts are all by one man and focus on several aspects of a creative life. A Collected Gentleman highlights great style with an economical mindset.

"My aim is to show style and self acceptance is priceless and that you can look good without breaking the bank." -A Collected Gentleman

The fashionable mindset is carried through the photography, the styling and even the poetry.

I met Isaiah Johnson (A Collected Gentleman) on twitter. He had inquired about the cost of fashion portraits after eyeing some of my fashion illustrations. We tweeted a bit and below is the result of our conversation.

Isaiah Johnson, by Sunflowerman

To have your own Fashion Portrait contact sunflowerman at sunflowermatt@gmail.com

or you can meet sunflowerman on...

instagram- @sunflowerman

twitter- @sunflowermatt

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Men's Fashion Templates

I started a little project for general use creating Men's Fashion Design Templates. These are the first concepts of many to come. I am hoping to create a wide range of 'specific use' like the templates below and 'general use' for added customizability. Look for free template and vector downloads to be coming soon. Double Breasted Suit

Single Breasted Suit

Double Breasted Topcoat

Would it be helpful to see the outlines of the heads?

If you want to see more Men's Fashion Illustrations check out the Illustration Weekly section of the blog.

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Illustration Styling, Rashgmaal

Illustration Weekly 5

To kick off the new illustration series at The Follow Fashion I give you Rashgmaal. Rashgmaal is the founder of The Follow Fashion Online Magazine where he provides daily inspiration with links to designers and clothiers all over the web and the world.

The Follow Fashion

This new series will be capturing the fashion icons of our day such as Patrick Grant and  Scott Schumann and re-styling them through illustration. Submissions/suggestions of who you think should be included are welcome.

(Read more about this article at  TheFollowFashion.com)

-Sunflowerman

instagram- @sunflowerman

twitter- @sunflowermatt

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Cuffs… A Fashion Illustration

My roommate made me download Pinnacle Studio for my iPad. It was a free download at the time and I didn't think it was going to be worth it, but I stand corrected. I shot the video, edited it, and uploaded it all using my iPad 3 and Pinnacle Studio. Below is the product of the day's work.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEFc6CgdV7g?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

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Illustration Friday… Carry

Carry me, on the belly of a sloth- slow and slow and slow.

Move me,

through the never ending jungle- on and on and on.

Feed me,

with the fruit of joy- more and more and more.

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Exhibit the Fashion...

I have been looking for a place to exhibit these. Preferably I would love to find a Men's Boutique here in Atlanta. Let me know if you would like to collaborate with me. sunflowermatt@gmail.com

Linked below is a little proposal I put together explaining a bit about what I'm doing.

Men’s Fashion Proposal2

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Redeemed Book! and the Dapper Lou...

I had some pages that fell out of a book I was reading and decided to have some fun with them instead of tossing them. It's one of the few times that saving useless junk came in handy. These pages can no longer be lumped in the same useless category as the slabs of dried acrylic paint in my drawer, or the oddly shaped scraps of paper cut from old projects, or the plastic scraps from the used, dried masking fluid. No, these pages have been redeemed! And special thanks again to the Dapper Lou. I was perusing the site again and found endless inspiration for sketching.

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Fashion Portrait… Brandon Sadler and the Black Goldfish

I did this Fashion Portrait of a friend of mine a while back now. I have mixed feelings about this piece. There is so much great about it and a few things that irk me. Things such as my lack of thought about the background. Overall the painting showcases the character and the clothes very well. Featured here is Brandon Sadler. He is a painter based in Atlanta, GA.  He has been involved in the growing street art scene with a mural near the Studioplex in the Old Fourth Ward and has shown his work all over the city including work at the ABV gallery.

Brandon allowed me to photograph him while he was painting so I could capture the moment as it would be in real life. I went home and compiled a series of images of him painting and several images of suits from the 1920's. I love the idea that someone would always dress so dapper even when painting and not give a second thought to where the paint might end up. Several compositional drawings later I began. I struggled with the placement of Brandon in relation to the fish and probably drew at least 15 18x24'' sketches to get it exactly right.

This piece was so much fun to work on. Despite my reservations about the background it came together beautifully and it is part of a progressive process in my own work.

 

Brandon Sadler. 18x24". Acrylic, watercolor and india ink on hardwood board.

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Paul Chelko…Portrait

I must say that I am suddenly and properly honored to have done this little portrait of Paul Chelko. It was quite the accident that I came across his photograph on the cover of a 2007 edition of 'The Atlanta Magazine (which I could not find on their website- so it's possible I am confused as to the actual magazine).' Over and over I mentioned the character in his face. Sarah, my mentee, and I were practicing some techniques in painting at One Love Generation and I grabbed the magazine at the top of the towering pile for reference. As I walked over to our table where Sarah was eagerly awaiting the chance to paint. My eyes were trained on the photograph that was the cover of the magazine, analyzing the face we were about to use as practice. She exclaimed at the difficulty of drawing his face with a brush.

At the bottom of the post is an image of the portrait that Sarah did. She also painted an eye that would have been nice to grab a picture of. Her focus was a bit more centered on the painting of the eye than the portrait.

The following five images are the stages of the painting. It begins with an ink brush drawing, followed by washes of watercolor, highlights of white acrylic, dabbles of color in the cheeks and nose and retouching blacks with india ink.

Check it out. Enjoy. Share with your friends.

Sarah's version of Paul Chelko. I thought the line-work was brilliant and a beautiful image of what she is learning as she is becoming her own artist.

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Vultures...

In High School I fell in love with the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I realize that's not particularly unique as many high schoolers identify with his sort of reality. Somewhere in me that same sort of intrigue exists. The vultures are testament to Poe's influence on me. To look at things that are dark and relay them to the world. And the hope that is within that is not to shock people, but to engage people and challenge culture.

I was writing a Poe-esque fiction to follow along my vulture theme and to co-habit a space with this image above. Like Poe I wanted to create a space that drew the audience out of the words and into the story. To feel the talons of the bird, and smell the stench dripping from the end of its face. Unlike Poe I have a tendency to be contrived and reaching. Poe had an ability to over embellish and yet simply tell his story.

Vultures are shadows in the sky. Searching for the dead. Coveting the diseased.

Vultures are death-eaters and life-bringers.

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Cathartidae...

Think about the the thoughts that are associated with the imagery and name of vultures.  

Are they majestic?

Are they noble?

Are they beautiful?

It is common to view vultures with contempt. They are symbols of death. How could they not be with their writhing, red, balding heads. The sunken eyes are the vision of their teetering between the living and dead. When there is a vulture over-head then death is near-by. What high praise can be given to a bird that seeks out death?

John Mayer expresses this view plainly in his characterization of vultures in the aptly titled track 'Vultures.'

All of these vultures hiding Right outside my door I hear them whisperin They're tryin to ride it out Cause they've never gone this long Without a kill before

 

I might just go ahead and posit another thought here. Perhaps the nature of vultures is not about death, but about life?

It is about more than the vital role that they play in the environment. Vultures represent a specific moment in the transitional times of life. Their lives transcend the simple but lead us to the sublime. In certain cultures the vulture is revered. It is called a death-eater, a cleanser, a purifier. Imagine the beauty of life. Imagine a life being lived and filled with the joy of existence. When that joy has turned then death enters. Note that this is not when the vulture enters. Death takes what it wants and leaves nothing but a token of what once had lived. In the midst of the tragedy of death comes the vulture to eat what death has left behind. In this death the vulture finds life. The vulture redeems the act of death to an act of life.

 

The vulture's life is all about redemption!

 

The vulture's life is about renewal!

 

Ponder that idea. Wrestle with a new understanding.

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The Age of the Vulture...

As I was peering out the window of the rickety old Taurus I inherited from my parents I saw a shadow circling in the air. With my poor vision it was hard to make out what exactly it was and came to the conclusion that it must be some sort of carrion eating scavenger. Its movement in the sky was nothing less than graceful. Wondering at the fowl creature's beauty several thoughts crossed my mind. Thoughts of ravaged carcasses, thoughts of rotting flesh being torn from the bone, thoughts of a rickety old bird with sunken red eyes and an 80 year old man's scalp huddled in shadow, reaping death's reward. What is it about vultures that invoke such thoughts as 'reaping death's reward?'  I think back to Disney's Snow White, toward the end of the movie and the portrayal of vultures. There is nothing endearing about these birds. They are framed in greed and lust for death. As the Queen falls to her death we are comforted by the justice of fowl loathsome animals descending to devour a fowl and loathsome being. And even from the first shot of the vultures' piercing eyes, crooked necks and stormy sky debut we are begged to have an unease about them.

I like Disney's portrayal of vultures in the Jungle Book much better. Perhaps they are not quite endearing characters but they have an attractive appeal that is lost on such- dare I say- noble birds. And I will not go as far as to say that they will help you tie a burning branch to the tail of a lion, but they certainly represent something more honest about the ideal of a vulture.

As I drove on down the highway I wondered if there really was something dead nearby. I wondered how it might have died. I wondered if it was something that had to happen. I wondered where my exit was.

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