Each of Jayde Fish’s illustrations is like a hypnotic maze; towering trees, blooming flowers and looping tendrils hint at her fascination with the raw, untouched beauty of nature and its wilderness. But it was her mystical tarot illustrations on Instagram that caught the eye of Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele. A conversation led to a collaboration, and soon Jayde’s sketchbooks were overflowing with detailed, intricate illustrations that re-imagined the iconic snake and monkey motifs of the fashion house. Inspired by the world of tarot, the illustrations titled Strength, Emperor and Death featured curious snakes, swans and monkey overlords. The swan found itself on the back of a skirt in the Spring Summer’17 collection, and the monkey was spotted hanging upside down on the back of a jumper. Jayde’s art fit right into Michele’s chaotically layered clothes and took the runway by a storm. ‘I feel a close connection with animals and nature, which is why I often include them in my work. I keep a lot of plants in my studio because I love the way they grow in unexpected colors and directions. I'm also inspired by the fashion world, the patterns and textures of fabric, architecture, and travel. I'm always looking for new ways to get inspiration, and exploration (be it a new city or a fabric store) always seems to provide that for me.’
Jayde's illustrations in Gucci Spring Summer'17
She traces back her romance with illustration to her childhood art classes, where her teacher taught her how to meditate with an art brush, spilling her imagination onto a canvas. When she first started reinterpreting elements from Gucci’s collections into a series of sketches, inspiration came to her from a set of tarot cards. ‘I began drawing the Major Arcana of the Tarot in part because I was curious to study them. Each archetype is full of symbolism and narrative, something that I love to include in my work. The Tarot is mysterious, a bit dark, and extremely beautiful, I think the same can be said of Alessandro's collections. Each image I created incorporated at least one piece of Alessandro's Gucci that I felt best fit the narrative, so in a sense I also had to study every runway look as well.’
Gucci Tarot series
Jayde approaches each piece of art like it’s a puzzle that needs to be solved. With hands covered in lead and a studio floor cluttered with paper, when she finally finishes an illustration, she leaves a piece of herself in it. ‘My drawings are very intimate. For the illustration titled Strength for Alessandro’s collection, I referenced my journey to find inner strength to get through difficult times, wearing a Gucci dress with flaming sleeves and my cat by my side.’
Take a look at Jayde's work here.
Text Ritupriya Basu