Friday, December 1, 2017
Culture

Angelica Hicks is the illustrator you need to know

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You may remember how we first came across Angelica’s work: based between London and New York, we stumbled one day upon the illustrator’s hilarious Instagram account, where she posts daily depictions – sort of like illustrated puns, more DIY and less cynical than memes – of some of the biggest names in fashion and popular culture (we’re still laughing about the “Chili Con Kanye” pun). Good news – Angelica’s clearly getting the recognition she deserves, having just released a book featuring some of her most iconic drawings, aptly titled Tongue In Chic (Laurence King), as well as a t-shirt collaboration with the most exciting fashion brand of the moment, the one and only Gucci. Is fashion destined to be funny? How do you come up with a good pun? What did Suzy Menkes think of her drawing of her? Angelica tells all.

How did you first come to realise that fashion had such a high potential for humour?

I’ve always viewed the world through a comedic lens, actively seeking potential for humour in most things, therefore it was only natural that I viewed fashion through this same funny filter. Naturally I was aware of the potential for humour, after all we’ve all seen Zoolander… What I wasn’t aware of was the hilarity of the results of juxtaposing ‘low’ and ‘high culture’ through wordplay – take for example my beverage of choice, Karl Lager. 

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Do you remember your first drawing of the series? Did you have an “a-ha!” moment?

My first drawings were actually tongue-in-cheek interpretations of the clean eating phenomenon, featuring superfoods as superheroes. Then came the couture shows… and I abandoned food in favour of fashion (not in a Carrie Bradshaw way – I never bought Vogue instead of dinner).

A t-shirt from the Angelica Hicks for Gucci collection

A t-shirt from the Angelica Hicks for Gucci collection

Is there one of your puns you are particularly proud of, or one that was hard to come up with?

It is trickier to come up with puns responding to very current events, only because the subject matter is so clearly defined. But even then I am a firm believer of the fact that a forced joke is never a funny joke, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that any of them are “hard” to come up with as that slightly implies force behind the humour. It is however absolutely a waiting game, so in that respect you could say it can be hard. I empty my mind, and wait for something weird and wonderful to pop into it. I’m sure there is more science behind the madness, but I am at a loss when I try to explain it…

karl-lager

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I’m pretty pleased with ‘Who let the clogs out’ because it is such an iconic one hit wonder that has been regurgitated as a sniping commentary on a form of footwear, and I have to say it does work rather well. I’m also very proud of Karl Lager, to the extent that I am inclined to print out ‘labels’ of Karl Lager and stick them onto cups and beer bottles. 

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Have you had any feedback from some of the people you have featured?

Yes! Mostly positive… A moment of confusion for Suzy Menkes who didn’t at first understand that my depiction of ‘Desperately Seeking Suzy’ was not how I thought she dressed, instead I had dressed her up as Madonna from the movie Desperately Seeking Susan. She commented that the drawing was very nice, but that she would never wear that – naturally, I agreed and tried to clear up the confusion. I have had other positive feedback from Giambattista Valli, Charlotte Olympia, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Olympia Le-Tan.

The Angelica Hicks for Gucci t-shirt collection

The Angelica Hicks for Gucci t-shirt collection

Your drawings first came to fame via your Instagram account. How does it feel to have been able to make so many people laugh just by checking their phones? 

It is unbelievably rewarding. I love making people laugh, I always have. When I was an insecure teenager I didn’t want the boys to fancy me, I wanted them to think I was funny. It makes me especially happy when I see people tagging their friends – I shared my joke with them which they are then choosing to share with their friend! I’m very pleased to be able to offer some comic relief in between all the fake reality and ‘influence’ being projected through social media. 

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Angelica Hicks in front of one of the Angelica Hicks for Gucci murals in New York

Tongue in Chic cover

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Tongue in Chic : The Fabulous Fashion World of Angelica Hicks, by Angelica Hicks (Laurence King)

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