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Endless Joy is an extension of Alexandra and Stevie Anderson’s artistic practice, an ever expanding collection of original artworks presented on garments. In their hands, bespoke fabrics become myth-filled, symbology-printed canvases-in-motion. Since its unplanned inception and launch for autumn/winter 19, the fundamental principle behind the project has been to create meaningful works of art and garments that people can treasure for a lifetime. Depicting transportation tales of nature, spirit, humanity and beyond, each Endless Joy piece is intended to engage and inspire, no longer confined to a frame on a wall or a box on an internet feed.
While it’s UK-based, the practice supports the vibrant creative community of Bali, where the collections are made and continually shares the wisdom, traditions and folklore of Balinese culture. As the practice pays deep respect to the history of human symbolism, mythology and art, it supports a network of craftspeople, artisans, textile experts and environmental stewards. “Each garment is born as an artwork, created on the wind and made with love in Bali,” the conscious duo explain. Timeless design, conscious materials, and quality are at the core of their approach. From using the finest quality eco-friendly fabrics to discouraging overconsumption by limiting editions, sharing 5% of profit to charity to planting a tree for every shirt sold, Endless Joy continually demonstrates that beyond garments, they want to create deeper connections to people and planet alike.
As the autumn/winter 20 collection launches at LN-CC and Endless Joy share a special capsule 50/50 collection reimagining archive pieces exclusively for 10.10, Stevie Sanderson takes us on a tour of their practice.
Firstly where are you, how are you and has this interview interrupted you from?
Painting a picture of a moonlit sailor chatting up a haggard mermaid on the shores of a tropical island, whilst a volcano erupts in the background.
What would you say was the overriding catalyst for Endless Joy?
I needed to have a wider sense of freedom in my life, I tried a lot of jobs out in the 'real world' but I had enough of all that and just had to make art. I probably would have ended up like Micheal Douglas in Falling Down if I didn't take that step.
I have to say I love the closing line of your Info page; “Fuck content. Make art!”, alongside the overriding message that Endless Joy is an art project and not a fashion brand. Were these distinctions made at the project’s inception?
Haha thanks! 'Content' is a dirty word for me. It saddens me to think of people pouring their heart and soul into a creative act for it to simply become another byte of 'content' to be fed into the machine.
Endless Joy wasn't planned, I was making some artworks just for the pleasure of it whilst I was on the lookout for a new shirt. I wasn't really connecting with anything out there so I put a couple of artworks on some shirts for myself and people liked them and it grew from there. Nothing much has changed from that starting point, other than my wife also contributes artworks now too. 'Art project' feels more appropriate when describing Endless Joy, creating and making art is our main focus and the thing that gets us out of bed in the morning.
How have the respective art and fashion worlds welcomed you?
The ideology attached to being from separate ‘worlds’ doesn’t really excite us. It can hinder creativity and you run the risk of being pigeon holed. The most important thing to us is that the art connects with people regardless of how it’s seen or where it’s presented.
How does the medium of garments differ from other mediums? In your eyes and hands, what opportunities do garments worn on the body afford that other mediums just don’t?
When art is displayed on a garment it quite simply grows legs and comes alive through the person who has chosen to wear it.... The garment is the canvas and the body becomes a gallery. Attracted to the imagery for one reason or another that person sets the art free by interacting directly with their surroundings.
We see the person as an integral part of this artistic exchange. By wearing art you become available to the opportunity of meeting curious minds.
At what stage does an artwork become a garment or does it forever remain an artwork?
Every piece is an artwork, our aim with Endless Joy is to use those artworks to create unique garments people can treasure for a lifetime, as a work of art.
With its deities, shamans and spirits, could you take us on a tour of your myth-filled, cryptic symbology-woven psychedelic worlds?
The myths, deities, shamans and spirits come from everywhere, anywhere and nowhere. they reappear throughout our collections in various forms and fables. Many are inspired by stories we’ve heard along or travels, some are invented from dreams and visions. for us they help extend the imagination toward expansion and they feed the spirit. Our own descriptions go into detail for each piece.
What would you say fuels your art? Firstly in a wider sense, and then in regards to the autumn/winter 20 collection?
Making art is an itch you gotta scratch. Like drugs, it’s addictive and transports you. It’s a meditation and a way of being and seeing. As humans we like making marks and sharing stories. Ultimately we are fuelled by a desire to explore and express, it’s how we learn about ourselves and each other and it helps us make sense of this beautiful world we temporarily inhabit.
Nothing is ever planned in great detail, including the autumn/winter 20 collection. We happen upon ideas that want to escape into the world and help set them free. I'm more interested in nurturing an idea, then imposing my will or trying to fit it into a box.
For 10.10, you’ve created 50/50 pieces for the first time and the results are amazing. Could you talk us through the process and introduce the capsule in your own words?
After the kind invitation from LNC-C we decided to breathe new life into some sample pieces from our archive. The process was straightforward, we simply cut the shirts in half 50/50 and joined them back together. The result looks like some kind of demented harlequin, the artworks compliment and clash in juxtaposition; A dialect of complementary opposites.
Each garment is made with love in Bali, from eco-friendly textiles and a percentage of profit going to charity. Could you expand on the eco and social consciousness and values of the brand?
The project offers a bridge for connection where we can share in knowledge and creativity. We join forces with other artists, creatives and kindred spirits to create quality items that will inspire and enable us to provide awareness and aid in the protection and restoration of nature and the care and support of those in need. Our ecological message is ‘less is more’ and our focus is on ‘quality, not quantity’ this is applied both in the raw materials we use and the actual artworks themselves. We directly oppose all forms of fast fashion and throwaway culture. We invest our time and love into each and every piece we make with an aim to create durable garments that people will treasure for a lifetime.
To combat overconsumption every art garment is produced in editions of under 100 pieces, then we also plant 3 trees for every garment sold and donate a further 5 percent of all profits to charity. The garments are made from eco friendly organic fabrics like Tencel and organic cotton and 100% percent silk... and they’re made with love in a small family owned factory in Bali.
Beyond the art you create, what do you hope people ultimately take away from your practice?
Follow your bliss and help take care of this planet.
2020 has been one hell of a year, please share your secret to endless joy?
To live life with wonder.
Finally, what brings Endless Joy endless joy?
Painting a hagged mermaid on the shores of a tropical island...