Artist: Mimi Haddon
Media: Fiber Art (T-Shirts)
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Mimi Haddon was a Cal State Long Beach student and graduated in 1994 as a Graphic Designer. She recently went back to school and is studying in the Fiber Art department. She lives in Santa Monica, and began working with T-shirts because they are in our everyday lives and we come across T-shirts all the time. Also she used the work of a Ghanaian sculptor as inspiration since his work came from discarded bottle caps.
Mimi uses a lot of color in her work. Her work where there was sleeves sewed together and connected to the ceiling had really caught my eye compared to the others. I do not know if it was because it was really high or because it had a few more colors. The T-shirt materials looked like a bunch of strips connected together which seemed really smooth and silky. It was straight and fairly symmetrical and unlike her other pieces it had a few more cooler colors as well. The deflated balloons on the wall and the pile of what looked like thick yarn both had only warm colors which was not as appealing to me but still looked incredible.
Like I said before she came across the idea of using T shirts from a Ghanaian sculptor by the name of El Anatsui. Mimi thought about these indigenous cultures and the materials that were used in everyday life, El Anatsui used discarded bottle caps. As she thought about her life and the culture we live in, she remembers the countless number of T-shirts she gave to Goodwill and began using those as tools of art. Instead of wasting these items like bottle caps and T-shirts, Haddon decides to put them to use. Thinking about the process of T-shirt production and all the human labor that goes into making T-shirts, this makes her really value T-shirts more than regular people (myself included), who seem to just throw it away or give it away. I think the deflated balloon piece is an example of how all of us feel sometimes with the shape, just out of it, tired, and down but I think the colors represent how we remain positive and don’t let that feeling stop us.
I personally thought her work was incredible. Since I was in Kindergarten I loved to color because it compensated for my horrible drawings and I think all the colors really attracted me to her art. I liked the one with more cooler tones because I like cooler tones myself and my favorite color is blue. Afterwards I thought about how many T-shirts I have went through in my life and how I disposed of them, either in the garbage or Goodwill. Although I do not buy many T-shirts now, I do appreciate what she is doing by putting them to good use. For some reason it was really peaceful and brought a lot of joy to me, not sure why. I think it also promotes diversity especially with all the hatred going around currently. All in all, it was a great time experiencing Mimi Haddon’s work and hearing her speak, I think she is a great artist and a wonderful person!