The punk legend designs a collection and the 00s visionary artist gives it another context

Peter De Potter on collaborating with legendary punk artist Jamie Reid for Fred Perry
By Dean Mayo Davies | Fashion | 13 March 2014

Fred Perry collaborates with the British artist synonymous with the visual identity of punk, Jamie Reid, creating three special shirts for their latest Blank Canvas series. Whilst Belgian art vanguard Peter De Potter, a creative whose imagery stands as mightily as Reid’s in its own way, has created a series of films in tribute.

Political activism and personal empowerment were and still are the driving force behind Jamie Reid’s output. His association with different movements, including Druidry, the Situationists and more recently the anti-war movement, are all apparent in his artwork.

At Malcolm McLaren’s request, Reid worked exclusively with the Sex Pistols from 1976-1980, producing artwork and publicity material for a string of records, including Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols and covers for the singles Anarchy in the UK and God Save The Queen, which referenced a Cecil Beaton photograph. Cut and shut elements of the classical are a recurring motif in his work.

A Short Sharp Shock is based on an artwork from 1987. Reid has applied his trademark ransom note cut-out letters to a black and champagne Original Twin Tipped Fred Perry Shirt. The phrase was originally used in Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1885 comic opera The Mikado which later became popular in music and symbolizes Reid’s connection to the punk movement. The shirt is finished with a bronze embroidered Laurel Wreath and will have a white screen printed Jamie Reid signature on the hem including Reid’s signature OVA symbol.

The second shirt features an image of Liberty that predates Jamie’s significant work with the Sex Pistols and is inspired by his time at Suburban Press, the anarchistic publishing house co-founded by Reid. The image was later used in a 1980s campaign promoting home taping and recording of music as celebrated in a song by new wave band Bow Wow Wow created by Malcolm McLaren – Out of the Dross, Into The Age Of Piracy. Boudicca appears to shake her spear at the Houses of Parliament; symbolizing Reid’s uprising to order and the establishment. Reid has applied multi coloured screen prints on the classic white M3 layered on top of a red embroidered OVA logo. Peace Is Tough is screen printed across the chest and the shirt is finished with a black embroidered Laurel Wreath. The back of the shirt is fully screen printed in red with Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People in revolt, framed by the towers of Croydon.

The third shirt Time for Magic showcases some of Reid’s more recent work. The Hare is a symbol of free thinking. A screen-print of The Hare and a bronze embroidered ‘Time for Magic’ covers the back of the black M12 while the front shows a white screen print with bronze OVA embroidery.

I am always happy to collaborate with people who can offer something new,” Reid explains of the project. “I am also very pleased with the way Peter De Potter has taken parts my work and made it his own.”

“[Jamie Reid’s] work during the punk period was very thrilling and has not aged a single bit, but there’s so much more to him as an artist,” De Potter tells us from Antwerp. “To me, he’s a dreamer and an activist at the same time. There’s an unshakeable logic to his work, even though it seems that he’s taken on many different artistic guises over the decades. To me, looking at his work, he always tries to provoke something in the viewer, be it a feeling of agitation or a call for spirituality. And I can really relate to that method.

“I named the project Jamie Re-imagined because that’s what it is: it’s my personal view on his personae and his oeuvre. It’s a mixture of many different things. There are lots of re-edits and fragments from a stack of videos from his own private collection as well as new collages I made from screenshots and bits and pieces from the same vintage material. Next to that there are elements from a shoot I did for this project but even those are collaged, re-filmed, computer-treated and cut up in such a way that you can’t immediately tell them apart from the other material. On top of all of that I did some direct lifts from Jamie’s work, symbols, words, but put in a different context. The most important thing for me was to make some kind of evocation of a feeling, of a certain world. A mixture of smart dissent and inner calmness. It’s by no means a fashion film.”

Film 1: Jamie Reid in front of his own painting,  showing the three components to his OVA sign and the (hand) gestures (contemplative prayer sign – peace v-sign – victorious battle sign) that go with it. Fragments from Jamie Reid’s Suburban Press period mixed with footage of the artist at work in his studio.

Film 2: The OVA-gestures acted out by contemporary youth mixed with details of the Boudicca statue in London. Fast-paced editing to create a sense of agitation and urgency. To counter this, the slogan ‘peace is tough’ is mixed with the still images.

Film 3: The slogan ‘demand the impossible’ is a Situationist slogan set in the typical Jamie Reid typeface. This video is more a mood piece, with restless and ‘nervous’ filming mixed/contrasted with cut of rippling water (Thames river) and a boy smoking. Also featuring are collages of faces with ants (the ants are lifted from an early Jamie Reid drawing) – a surrealist/Dali-esque nod and/or reference to the slogan ‘demand the impossible’.

Film 4: Continuous loop of contemporary youth making a v-sign mixed with Jamie Reid OVA-sign and ruin collage. Added images: new collage with horse of Boudicca statue and screenshot of Jamie Reid smoking. All symbols are used to underline a feeling of ‘waiting for peace’.

Film 5: A staccato blend of re-contextualised screenshots, re-filmed footage material, new PDP collages made from film screenshots… Lots of raised hands, as a means of a call-up. ‘Believe in the ruins’, another Situationist slogan.

Film 6: The Jamie Reid appropriation of Delacroix’s Marianne mixed with a male odalisque, to evoke a feeling of a revolution-in-waiting. The male odalisque confronted with a skeleton out of Jamie Reid’s Suburban Press days. ‘LIES’ and ‘LIAR’ the main words, voicing both the opinion of the opposed and the opposing party of any upheaval.

Fred Perry Jamie Reid Blank Canvas collection is available at Dover Street Market from Friday 14th March and Peter De Potter’s videos will be exhibited alongside.

Vist Peter De Potter’s online worlds Peter De Potter, Routine Routine, Angelic Starts, I Am An Image MachineLovers Are Warriors (Editions) and follow him on Facebook.


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