Paula Crown Atelier has been a collaborator with For Freedoms from the onset with their inaugural group show at Jack Shainman’s Gallery in 2016. As an artist and activist, joining this non-partisan group of generous, intellectual, and innovative thinkers was imperative. Artist’s are by nature sensorially attuned and imaginative. This is a time for expansive global thinking and problem-solving. Artists can set the tone, promulgate the values, and work to build a more responsible and reinforcing relationship with the world.
In 2020, For Freedoms launched a new initiative called, The Wide Awakes. This group, based on the 1860 Wide Awake movement that mobilized against slavery and helped elect Lincoln, is a large network of artists, cultural workers, and activists in hopes of fighting injustice and getting out the vote in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election. Inspired to think broadly about what creatives today could accomplish when we band together, Paula Crown and long time collaborator, friend, and designer Christy Rilling began working together on a couture artist-designed cape. The original Wide Awakes protested in oilcloth capes and the uniform became an icon of the movement.
Paula Crown x Christy Rilling capes embody The Wide Awakes idea of the power in creative collaboration. It combines the handmade tradition of couture with Crown’s original artwork by using high-resolution scans of her paintings. The imagery is directly taken from Crown’s Kinematic and Aspen Map series and printed on a woven iridescent silk faille and double silk charmeuse. Interwoven into the fabric is Lurex, which has a watery and metallic appearance.
These pieces of wearable art are representations of how creative expression and innovative thinking can amplify ideas and prompt conversation between artists and between the person who wears the cape and carries its message out into the world. That is the superpower of art. Our future will be shaped by the generous innovators and courageous creatives who synthesize ideas, adapt, and collaborate towards a better future.
Photography by Andrew Walker. Photos courtesy of Christy Rilling