Christopher Kane Has No Expectations When It Comes to Creating Art

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LONDON — Christopher Kane is staging a show, an art show.

The Scottish-born designer is not one to follow conventions. He will be debuting his first curated collection of artwork at the Galerie Gugging in Klosterneuburg, Austria, about an hour outside of central Vienna.

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The show will run until Oct. 9.

Kane has been a rising star in the fashion industry since 2006, when he graduated from Central Saint Martins’ Fashion MA program.

His subversive take on sexy dressing stopped hitting the physical runways in February 2020. He is still designing, but on his own terms by opting out of the ever-changing London Fashion Week calendar.

However, the focus has shifted to his diffusion line More Joy, where sales quadrupled in 2020 and his other joy, painting, which he had not returned to since his teenage years.

Art has been an inspiring factor in his overall creative process — during the pandemic he picked up the pastime that quickly fed into his day job. For his spring 2021 collection, he turned his artwork into prints and editors received a one-off piece of art from Kane as a ticket invitation to his show.

Christopher Kane has been a collector of the house artists at Galerie Gugging because of their deeply rooted association with outsider art. - Credit: Christopher Kane
Christopher Kane has been a collector of the house artists at Galerie Gugging because of their deeply rooted association with outsider art. - Credit: Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane

“I realized I had lost something very special. It’s important to have an outlet just to yourself. I’m so happy I’ve rediscovered art again,” he said, hoping that the show inspires the public to be more open-minded about themselves.

“I first came across a Johann Hauser drawing [‘Woman in a Yellow Dress’] in 2015 and I was attracted to it instantly as it featured a lady in a yellow dress almost identical to one in my ‘Princess Margaret on Acid’ spring 2011 collection,” he said.

“From there I discovered the story of Gugging and met Nina Katschnig [managing director of the gallery] who really embraced the collaboration in 2016. We’ve remained in touch and became friends.”

The idea to collaborate was initiated by Katschnig in 2021, when she asked if Kane would be interested in the opportunity. 

“I was delighted as I had amassed so many paintings and drawings and wasn’t quite sure what I should do with them,” he explains of his 60 displayed works.

He has been a collector of the house artists at Gugging because of their deeply rooted association with outsider art, something he started researching when his mother passed away in 2015. The following year he exhibited artwork from the gallery at his flagship in London on the opening night of Frieze London.

“I have always loved African and aboriginal art, then I discovered Art Brut and it just took my breath away,” he said, adding that it’s about the necessity to spill raw emotions onto a canvas that drew him in.

“It’s funny I’ve never gone out to seek Outsider Art, it’s always found me accidentally. I am not interested in trends, it’s very organic and of course Katschnig is always surprising me with her curations. Johannes Lechner and Leopold Strobl are new discoveries which just make me smile.”

There are no expectations for Kane the artist and that’s the “most rewarding part” for him. “I feel free when I draw or paint, I have no one to please other than myself,” he said, joking that the only challenge is making sure he doesn’t get paint in his dog Bruce’s eyes or ears.

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