Christina Wang’s scarves are more than just wearable; they’re impossible not to comment on. Each square of soft wool is illustrated with an array of objects, ranging from bowls of ramen to a Patagonia fleece jacket and a Momofuku birthday cake—accompanied by their prices. With consumable products that she comes in daily contact with as her art muses, the NYC-based artist’s wearable works become a bridge that merges her two main passions: fine art and retail.
“The varied, chosen objects all share a strong sense of indulgence,” says Wang, pinning down the obsessive feeling many people get when they come across a particularly enticing treat on Instagram, a designer’s webshop or a glossy magazine. It’s this powerful feeling that Wang chooses to reckon with, instead of avoiding, and she brazenly displays her consumption habits on large pieces of fabric—and then wraps them around her chocolate Labrador Phineas for product shots.
“I feel there is an innate nervousness when it comes to viewing art: ‘I don’t get it, am I getting the right message?’ ‘I could have done that,’ etc…” Wang tells CH. “My art has always been about simple visual pleasures and I feel the scarf is an easy medium to understand. We are well-seasoned in the practices of consumerism. I interpret the act of scarf-wearing as a collaboration with my customers. They have the final power to transform and display my art piece on their body as they see fit.”
Trained as a fine artist, graduating from Brown University then SVA’s MFA program, Wang had no experience working in fashion nor fabrics. “I see my scarf line as an extension of my art practice, expanding my drawings beyond traditional linen and paper surfaces,” she tells CH. We’ve seen a plethora of creatively designed silk scarves of late, but Wang decided to go a different route. “I was looking to create a very large and very plush scarf,” she says. Exploring different material options, Wang finally settled on a featherweight material woven from Australian wool, which also worked well with her digital printing method—and keeps you warm around the shoulders.
CJW scarves are available online from her webshop.
Images courtesy of Devon Knight