I recently had an opportunity to speak with Laurance Rassin. Laurance is a painter who is Artistic Director of the New Blue Riders in New York City.
For Laurance Rassin, a collaboration between fashion and art is natural.
“I’d rather see my art on a model on a runway than on drywall,” he explains, still buzzing from ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ last Friday with his art group, The New Blue Riders, one of the first contemporary art groups to close an index of this kind.
Rassin created the New Blue Riders with David Burliuk and Anton Kandinsky as a medium to merge art, fashion and music.
“I’m widening the footprint of an artist,” he says, picking up a guitar he made specifically for the NASDAQ event.
Rassin plays an impromptu song, strumming the blue surfer guitar and singing slow and sultry.
Rassin’s specialty is large scale oil paintings and fashion; transforming his artwork into what is wearable, beautiful art that is practical and lavish at the same time.
“I’m following the cues of the masters,” explains Rassin, mentioning other greats who dabbled in different art forms.
Rassin’s ventures outside of the canvas world began with tapestries. He researched to find someone with hand-knotted, sustainable practices, not done on a loom. Rassin was introduced to a Persian tapestry-maker at an international show at The Armory. A year and a half later, Rassin could display his paintings in a more fluid manner.
His current exhibit with the New Blue Riders at Art Next Gallery features tapestries, canvases, chairs, ceramics and bronzes.
Rassin does not haphazardly pick his collaborators. Only after much research does he decide who he wants to align with his artistic vision. 84 Lumber, who helped Rassin realize his signature chairs, was the first in Long Island, certified by the FSC, Forest Sustainability Council. His samples for Saks Fifth Avenue were no accident either.
“One of Andy Warhol’s defining moments was when he had dresses in the window of Bonwit Teller,” says Rassin.
The Saks collection gave Rassin the provenance to start his wearable art. While those pieces were mass-produced, Rassin now focuses on individual projects.
“Great art is made for the love of a woman,” he says. “I design clothes for real women.” The clothing must fit fantastically, but also to look like art. Rassin focuses on the placement of the print to make both the model and the piece look beautiful.
He builds collections of his work as well. One canvas painting called “Four Ballerinas” which features ballerinas in a pink dance studio can be seen as a dress, a blazer, a stool and a poster advertising for his fashion show at The Fashion Institute of Technology.
“A woman can buy a dress and a painting of the dress, or a tapestry,” he explains. “I make extensions of fine art so people can buy material items.”
The collaboration of art forms is one of the missions of The New Blue Riders, but another is to aid new artists.
“I want to put people together so it’s not hard for artists to get a leg up,” explains Rassin.
His advice for new artists? “Call me.” Rassin can help artists realize their designs in a new light.