About The Artist
Mimi Haddon is a Graduate from the School of Art’s Graphic Design program. She has now returned to CSULB in order to receive her MFA degree in the School of Art’s Fiber Arts program. Haddon mentioned El Anatsui, a Ghanaian sculptor, as her inspiration for her exhibition, Touch Color 2. El Anatsui works with recycled materials such as discarded bottle caps. This inspired Haddon to use T-shirts for her latest exhibition because they are very readily available materials. She also mentioned that another one of her inspirations was the idea of getting away from working with the human body. She wanted to work with structure, space, and architecture instead.
Most of the artwork in Haddon’s exhibition consisted of T-shirts. Haddon mentioned that she first started off with 100 T-shirts but she had bought more T-shirts after her initial purchase. There may actually be around 300 T-shirts now. Also to be noted, most of the T-shirts are very bold and warm colors. This is due to Haddon’s love of warm colors.
One art piece that caught my eye was Haddon’s wall of T-shirt sleeves. It was a wall that almost looks as if there were deflated balloons hanging on it. Upon closer inspection, one will find that these are not actually deflated balloons. They are actually T-shirt sleeves. The shape is consistent but the size of each sleeve is not. Some sleeves are very noticeably smaller than the neighboring sleeves. There also does not seem to be a certain color pattern.
Another art piece to take note of is the tower of T-shirts with a ring of t-shirts surrounding it. The line of the tower is not perfectly straight. The edges are a bit jagged because the T-shirts were not perfectly aligned. The tower does not stand still either since the very top of the tower leans on the corner of the wall for support. Compared to the tower, the ring of T-shirts is very neatly folded and placed.
This exhibition, which is appropriately named, Touch Color 2, highlights Haddon’s love of warm-tone colors. Haddon has managed to make it seem as if just a casual observer can touch and feel color. She has mentioned that she wanted to bring color to life and I think that she succeeded in doing that. Her choice in using solid, warm-tone colors and a fabric that most people are familiar with helps the observer understand how color feels like in Haddon’s world. This is not Haddon’s first exhibition that shows her love of color. She mentioned that she also likes working with color lights and shadows. This little tidbit of information leads me to really believe in Haddon’s love of color and color theory.
Another idea I believe Haddon wanted to explore was reusing discarded materials to make something new. Haddon found T-shirts as a perfect item to use because everyone is already familiar with the fabric. She was also interested in using T-shirts because she views it as something that everyone easily discards. By cutting up a T-shirt into pieces, she gave one item many different purposes. This is seen through her use of repetition in her pieces. For example, the T-shirt balloon wall consists of the repetitive deflated balloon pattern.
Synthesis / My Experience
When I first saw Haddon’s exhibition, I didn’t really have much of an opinion on it at first. I just knew that I loved her color palette and the T-shirt balloon wall. Once I learned about her inspiration for this exhibition, I learned to appreciate it a lot more. I loved that she found a new purpose in T-shirts and used them in such a creative way. I would never try to make T-shirts into art. Maybe I would design a T-shirt, but I would never attempt to make something out of it. Usually I just donate my old shirts.
Also, I’m normally someone that prefers looking at patterns rather than solid colors. This exhibition was different for me though. I actually liked looking at the solid colors. I especially liked her choice in putting the colors in random order instead of forming a gradient. I usually like gradients because it’s easy to look at but seeing the colors arranged in random order was nice to see. I think this exhibition worked because she stuck to a color palate that she liked and she arranged the colors the way she wanted to. In order words, she just had fun with this exhibition. You can see it from the T-shirt balloon wall and the tower. Some people would find sewing T-shirts sleeves together in order to form a balloon as tedious work, but not Haddon. Haddon applied her love of color and her desire to work with structure very well in this exhibition.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mimi Haddon’s exhibition and I’m certainly interested in learning about color theory. Haddon mentioned Joseph Alber’s “Interaction of Color” as one of her inspirations. I am now a little tempted to flip through that book.