We’re not keeping an official list of the coolest Texans on the planet, but if we were, Dallas-based illustrator The Blake Wright would definitely fall somewhere between Wes Anderson and Beyoncé. When your drawings appear as prints on the highly coveted Moschino runway, it’s safe to say you’ve earned that top-three spot.
Wright is breaking the mold of a typical fashion illustrator, bridging artistic technique and talent with hilariously risqué drawings and GIFs that have appeared on prominent online destinations including Refinery 29, Opening Ceremony and The Cut (you can peruse the full gamut of his work here). The avant-garde artisté landed in Houston for the launch of his exclusive collaboration of custom patches — Patch Me I’m Dreaming — with Rice Village boutique Saint Cloud. I sat down with the man behind the pen to talk more about the collaboration and discuss his Texas roots, plus much more.
I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. My parents really supported it. My mom has this long story about how the doctor made me draw, and he told her that, developmentally, my drawings were advanced for a 3-year-old. So they just went with it. I went to UT for art school, so I’ve just always drawn. I ventured into GIFs after I did a grad program in Atlanta. It was much more computer- and graphic-design focused, so that lent itself to the digital part.
For me, fashion is an interest, so it’s like my gardening. So it just made sense. I’m inspired by fashion, so I’m going to draw about it and talk about it.
I started the blog years and years ago as a place to put up my drawings, like just having a place to dump them with the freedom of not having to sell them. I didn’t have to stress about the meaning, or if it’s done, or is it good enough? It’s really just freeing, almost like exercise. For me, drawing is a muscle. You have to get comfortable with having an idea, executing it and being done with it even if you didn’t necessarily perfect it. You went through the process of finishing a thought. I feel like if you can work that muscle, then when it really does matter or when a project is of a bigger scope you aren’t overwhelmed or uncomfortable.
WHAT MAKES TEXAS SPECIAL, AND HOW DOES IT INFLUENCE YOUR WORK?
I was born in Texas. I like it. I think it’s a supportive environment. I think that people are really responding to what I’m doing here. No one is trying to tear me down or scratch to get ahead, and I’m sensitive. I’m an artist, so I need that. I’m just not cutthroat. I’m trying to create an enjoyable life for myself, and for me that means long-term success. I know what I want, and I know the environment I need to create in order to make art.
That involves a lot of time at home and quietness and thinking, but also enough activity to be inspired. So moving out to the dessert wasn’t an option for me, but neither was total immersion in an urban environment where I can’t catch my breath.
FAVORITE DESIGNER OF THE MOMENT?
Jeremy Scott. I’m so impressed. I’m so inspired by all of it. It’s silly, it’s fun. It’s also well made. I’m not into fast fashion, and I try to consume with purpose. I find buying more expensive things sometimes helps. Less is more, so if I can’t afford something I’ll just wait. It’s worth waiting for. I also don’t mind repeating a lot, which is important, especially in this fashion blog world of new, new, new. It’s like, how are you wearing that new find with your old jeans?
HOW DID THE SAINT CLOUD COLLABORATION COME ABOUT?
Matt Johns (founder of Matter Creative) reached out as the liaison for Saint Cloud and just pitched wanting to collaborate. I feel like when people come to me, they know what they want and what they’re getting into, versus having to sell yourself to a stranger, where they may get really disappointed. So whenever anyone comes to me, I’m always like, yes, let’s do it!
Anytime I can see my ink drawing interpreted in a way I couldn’t have done on my own, it’s the coolest, most important thing to me as an artist. And even though these are just patches, they took what I had and made it into something wonderful.
Obviously the stuff with Moschino, and getting to watch it walk down the runway. Again, he took something on paper and now it’s on a person walking around. I wish that wasn’t the most amazing thing, but it is to me. It’s emotional, fulfilling, and very rewarding. I also think the patches thing is huge, I’d put it in the same category.
For next year, I’ve been painting on some leather jackets for fun. My friend in Dallas who has a store was like, hey, let’s sell them. So we are going to have a team out in Tucson hunt for vintage pieces. And it’s no rush. We are going to take our time and do it right. So I’m just trying to think of new ways to apply the drawings.