Christian Azolan took a leap of faith during the pandemic to set up his own business and now he's the artist in residence at Curated Crowd and is selling on multiple platforms. What influenced his decision to move from the corporate fashion world to creating art?
q: Welcome to the Curated Crowd family! How do you feel about being the first artist on our platform?
a: I'm super excited to be on the platform and it felt like a natural fit, as I hold a fashion degree in fashion design and illustration. I knew it would make sense for the audicent to make the natural leap from fashion to art. The two mediums are so interwoven that it just makes sense to be on a fashion forward platform. I feel like being the first artist is brave but I'm honoured to be the first, I feel like an artist in residence, which is lovely.
q: What was it about Curated Crowd that captured your attention?
a: I love fashion and I love anything that has been curated, considered, it shows thought, editing, maturity and wisdom, because how you put a selection of things together is just as important on what the end result will be. When I first spoke to Curated Crowd founder, Ada, I asked her 'why did you start Curated Crowd?, and she said, ‘I wanted to create a unique channel for emerging brands to introduce themselves to the world, reflecting the spirit of their brand without compromise.’ To me that speaks volumes about her vision and I knew then that I wanted to partner up and bring something new to the fans and followers.
q: What was the transition like going from the corporate fashion world to producing your own artwork?
a: Fashion is fast moving and ever changing, the speed of change is immense, so having the time to really think about what I was going to do next was truly amazing. By doing art, I had the time to really think about putting together an art series, which can be a bit of trial.
I've taken some skills from the fashion world by bringing something new with every series and also editing down a series, not every artwork I create for a series gets released, some I hold back and others get edited out. I also don't have a specific style - art gives me the opportunity to explore and play with different mediums and tools, this is so I can stay fresh and contemporary. I don't follow trends, but I do look and explore the 'new' when it comes to culture.
q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
a: I get inspiration from everywhere. I know that sounds like a 'naff' answer but at the moment I'm inspired by nature and people's resilience, especially during the pandemic. My curated artworks on the platform includes, 'The Birds' which was inspired by the pandemic and the idea of our home being cages as we look out at the world and how we wished for freedom, fantasy and escapism in flight. 'The Matters of the Heart' series is a delicate look into the ways we describe the human heart. While the Intimacy series, which is a collaboration project with my good friend Ruth Melbourne, a jewellery designer, is about intimacy, discovery and love for oneself.
q: What is your process and how does that differ to fashion?
a: My process is the key for me to create, it's also the very same one I have been using since fashion school. I research and pull together some key images, I draw the ideas downmand sketch out using a mixture of pen, pencil, ink and eventually move to my iPad. I decide on the colours and styles of the series, then I work on all the art pieces at once over a 1-4 month period. I set the colour palettes and profiles and get the tests back from the printers. I set the sizes and edit down the final series, then I release it to the world.
q: How has the lockdown been for you creatively? Were there times when you struggled to keep the creative juices flowing?
a: As I started my art profession during lockdown I didn't know any different. Lockdown for me has been a real eye-opening experience as it was the first time I could really think about what I wanted to do next, not just get another job or contract but actually think about starting a new career. I've released 4 art series and looking to release a new one in the next month. I've been the most creative I have ever been in my life. The real struggle was not being able to visit art exhibitions, pop up art events, art fairs and private art galleries. I've found that at times really difficult. As a member of the V&A and having seen many fashion/ art exhibitions over the years, I can't wait to get back out there and experience those again.
q: Do you have any advice for artists starting out?
a: My advice would be to think about your art profession as both a creative outlet and a business. I make time during the day to be creative, draw, illustrate and produce art, but I also have to do the day-to-day stuff: emails, accounts, marketing, social, updating the website, newsletters and working out my expenses etc. You should not just focus on the creative side, both have to go hand in hand.
q: Where do you hope to see your art displayed one day?
a: I would love one day for my art to be in any major contemporary art gallery anywhere in the world, but the ultimate would be to be in a gallery in London.
Designer Spotlight - Christian Azolan Illustrations
Trying to stay positive and creative during the lockdown wasn't and isn't an easy feat. One has to constantly try and invent new ideas of entertainning oneself. Our very first artist in residence, Christian Azolan, took this time during a pandemic to really think about what he wanted to do with his life. He decided that the corporate fast-paced fashion world wasn't for him anymore, he wanted a creative outlet that allowed him to express himself.
Although this was a giant leap of faith, it ultimately paid off. Christian has been featured in local and national business news publications like Channel 4, BBC, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, etc. His artwork is also available across multiple art platforms such as Saatchi Art and Wayfair.
We believe that art should have an element of truth, but also a sense of escapism that we can all relate to. Christian's fine art prints successfully convey the feelings we all had over the lockdown, of feeling trapped, lost and helpless, feeling lonely and searching for companionship. We are like the birds in the prints, longing to be set free, to explore the outside world.
As Christian said himself - 'I believe that we should always be looking closer at our surroundings to really see them, things are far more complex and complicated than we could ever imagine.' We are proud to have our first artist on board and we hope you enjoy his art just as much as we do.