Where fashion meets pop art

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A 20-year old socialite and emerging contemporary artist, Mo Kiddo stepped into the Belgian art scene at the age of 13 with an avant-garde vision: “fashion in Pop Art”. Mo Kiddo discovered his talent out of the blue: he was surprised by an urgent desire to rip up, cut down, sew up then glue back disparate objects to create abstract collages. Kiddo has never considered polishing his talent – he does not believe in formal artistic education. Kiddo likes it raw. His art is bold and blunt, frenetic and chaotic – Antwerp loves it.

For his first creation Kiddo dug into his siblings’ closets, stole a few items and gave birth to a flamboyant color-bursting collage of prêt à porter garments featuring international brands such as Fiorucci, Plein Sud, Miss Sixty and Voyage Passion. Shortly afterwards Kiddo fashioned a futuristic-inspired piece featuring an electric green Balenciaga bag, which was followed by a relatively sober 3D painting influenced by a pair of mahogany Yves St Laurent heels. As he matured, his taste grew more expensive and haute couture is now the chief focus of his art.

In 2008 Kiddo launched the Mo Kiddo Contemporary Art Gallery, exhibiting his most personal work. Every piece displays a delightfully unique combination of vintage material, rare acrylic colors, random accessories and bits and pieces from exorbitant garments found in his mother’s extensive wardrobe. Mo Kiddo claims: “As a kid, I could already identify Missoni by the fabric of a garment, Yves Saint Laurent by the wooden handle of a purse, a pair of black Prada varnished shoes by their smell and my mother’s Christian Dior lemon-green silk cocktail dress by its touch.”

Kiddo’s latest work is a series of Chanel-inspired paintings and collages. Fox fur, tin foil, cufflinks, Swarovski crystals, syringes and needles – he blends it all to create an entire collection dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion house.

Alongside other sponsors such as Mercedes-Benz, Bang and Olufsen and Belgian artist Hannes D’Haese, Kiddo’s work will be exhibited on the 27th of October at the RINGS & THINGS event organized by Kablo and Partners. We caught up with him recently to get an insight into his work.

Fashion is at the heart of your work. Your canvases display women’s fashion exclusively – is there any particular reason for neglecting men’s fashion in your work?

Women’s fashion consumes me. When I work, I am in touch with my feminine side. Life without women’s fashion is like a toast of bread without Nutella. It’s just unimaginable. Let’s face it, men’s clothes are so boring: they’re monotonous and repetitive. My style is constantly evolving – and so is women’s fashion. It is just exuberant for the eyes and for my pair of scissors!

Could you tell us about the thought process behind your work?

My paintings contain a layer of memories; they are self-dictating and materialize into beauty. There really is no thought process behind it, no preparations or sketching. I just go to my atelier to channel a bundle of emotions. It’s as if I was in a trance. The result of my random cutting and gluing is always a surprise: when I start a piece, my vision is still blurry. I transfer bits of me into abstract patterns, layers of colors and fabrics. The fruit of my work, only I can understand.

If you could verbalize your genre as an artist, in one word, what would it be?

Experimental.

What triggered you to create a Chanel-inspired collection?

Fashion is slowly being recognised as a form of art, but there is by no means a consensus that fashion is art; this is what triggered my amalgamation of both worlds. I just love incorporating fashion into art. Chanel is extremely elegant, precise and sober compared to other haute couture brands which generally say “opposites attract!”. You know Chanel – it’s Paris. I love Paris! Anything could inspire me: there are no rules for inspiration. Chanel randomly came to mind! 

For more information on Mo Kiddo visit www.mokiddo.com

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