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Alexander Mcqueen Symbolic Portrait

Posted by Philip Burchill on
Alexander Mcqueen Symbolic Portrait

'No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.'  -Carl Jung

Remembering artist, fashion designer and tailor, Lee Alexander Mcqueen.  I was inspired to create this symbolic memorial portrait after watching his documentary. The tree overlaid in Scottish tartan, represents Mcqueens family tree, as he inherited his mother's passion to study the family's genealogy. The skulls were a consistent theme he explored throughout his collections. Here, the skulls hold a dual representation of his preferred aesthetic  and symbolically the 'collective unconscious' which is the part of our unconscious mind we inherit from our ancestral memory. Mcqueen is an example of an individual who incorporated these elements of his own authenticity into fashion. The tape measure snake wrapped around the tree behind Mcqueen is a symbol of self actualizing his genius. The two gold coins placed over the eyes show he was possessed by two visions: for his own company and as the director of Gucci. Lastly, this is a memorial artwork, symbolized in the gold coins. This recollects an ancient greek burial ritual. In antiquity gold coins were placed over the deceased in order to grant the soul safe passage along the river styx in transitioning from this world to the next. 


Reflecting upon Alexander Mcqueen's life and work, I am most inspired by his ability to sublimate his emotions onto clothing, a commitment to craftsmanship and his ability to synthesize his work with events, history, and philosophy. In Mcqueen's stead, Omneity is dedicated to honour his legacy and obey his maxim: 'You have got to know the rules to break them. That's what I'm here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.'

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