A painterly take on our popular Five-Pocket Chore Jacket, the Artist Chore draws on hardwearing studio clothes worn by painters and sculptors throughout the 20th century.
Putting the jacket through its paces is renowned British painter and friend of Drake's, Clive Hodgson, who shares some ruminations on studio wear.
Studio Wear and its Complications by Clive Hodgson
Winter: As well as stingy heating, the studio has a lot of draughty windows. One year my left-over tea froze in the cup during the night and didn’t melt during the next day. I figured that heating myself was more economic than heating the space, so I bought an oversized padded overall ‘onesie’, very blue, from a workplace clothing store. But even with my padded onesie and a lot of clothes I felt the chill. Then came the breakthrough idea: I found an old fleecy ‘gilet’ and sewed into the back of it an electric foot-warmer – a sort of mini electric blanket. I could pass the cable through a slit in the side of the padded overalls and connect it via an extension lead. This gave me a certain arc-like range of activity, though I couldn’t reach the studio door when I was plugged in. Visitors were somewhat disconcerted by the inexplicable flex that came out of my overalls at groin level. In the end, I abandoned the system.
Summer: I have a second-hand warehouse coat that is, or was, a very bright orange. I assume it was intended to render operatives highly visible. I was concerned that it might adversely affect my sense of colour – and maybe it did. However, with time, the orange has been mitigated and the textile stiffened by paint spatters. It looks now as if I have weathered an extraordinary storm from passing seagulls.
Spring and Autumn: I rely on a very unpleasant olive green fleece that my mother, long deceased, bought me from a charity shop. The zip is broken and it is time for a new old fleece.
All the above listed items are too large in size – large enough to wear on top of my ‘normal’ clothes.
All year: In all circumstances, I wear a hat of some shape or form – I’m unduly anxious about draughts in that area.
Dreams: Decades ago I read that Modigliani was well dressed and had a corduroy suit - so I wanted one of those. This conflicted with what I read about Léger – he wore blue denim in solidarity with the workers, and that appealed too. According to Modigliani, Picasso dressed like a worker, needlessly. I saw a photograph of Klimt wearing a sort of giant nightie to paint in (with nothing underneath it?). That was less appealing. Mondrian, I think, wore a lab coat to work in and seems not to have got too dirty. I’d like to work in that way, without the endless messes and spills that haunt me. There are photos of artists (Ingres?) who seem to just be wearing their normal day-to-day suits – but maybe Ingres secretly had a work-nightie, just like Klimt? I suspect so. Duchamp, always suited, seems not to have got dirty, notwithstanding his interest in dust, and it may be that he more or less gave up painting because he didn’t like the mess.
Future: Endless resolutions to work with less mess seem to do no good. I’ll buy a new, not orange, warehouse coat. I’ll buy a replacement olive green fleece with a good zip. I’ll allow myself more heating, and even new Birkenstock clogs, as the current ones, with flapping soles, constitute a serious trip hazard: I’d rather not be killed by a clog.
For your own studio jacket, have a look at our Artist Chore.