UGallery Artist Inspires Shoes Featured in InStyle!

One of our very own UGallery artists recently got involved in a fashion project! Designer Tabitha Simmons was inspired by DL Watson’s work and turned it into a stunning shoe series. One of the shoes was recently featured in InStyle magazine

The story goes to show that you never know when fashion and art might connect. We asked DL about her work, the process behind the shoes and which ones were her favorite! Read on to find out more.

Photos courtesy of DL Watson, InStyle magazine

Tell us a little about yourself and your work

I have always been around artists and the creative process. It is an integral part of who I am. My mother was a portrait artist. My father was a commercial artist and talented painter with his studio in their home in Miami. What wasn’t passed on in the genes I would learn during endless hours with my father in his studio.

They were the embodiment of “Hippie” before the word existed. It is from my father that I discovered the power of letting my emotions, not my mind, control the brush. To be fearless because there are no mistakes. From an early age I was exposed to every conceivable art form and medium. My parents were very influential and inspiring.

After high school, I studied fashion design, illustration and interior design as I continued to experiment with my painting. In the end, it is painting where I find my true joy, and passion.

How did you find out that designer Tabitha Simmons was using your work as inspiration?

I received an email one day from someone in London, it was Tabithaʼs creative assistant asking if I would be interested in selling the rights for use to one of my painting. Tabitha had seen my painting on Pinterest.

How involved were you in the process of watching your work become a shoe design? 

The piece they selected had to be scanned at a very high resolution since it would be printed on leather and silk in Milan. Then, I just needed to be patient. The process started in December 2012, then they were shown at Paris and New York Fashion Weeks. The shoes received a full page editorial credit in the March issue of InStyle magazine. Finally they were shown in select stores in April 2014. I canʼt wait for my shoes to arrive — that was part of our agreement.

When did you first paint the piece Tabitha liked?

The painting was from my Mariposa series, which is based on the patterns found in nature. I use colors that inspire me at the time, not necessarily true to nature. Mariposa has been a very popular series. It has found itʼs way into public art in the city of Surfside, just north of Miami, as a six foot sea turtle. The series also includes fabrics, pillows and hand painted glass serving dishes.

We’ve seen both flats and heels inspired by your piece. What’s your favorite shoe style?

As part of the agreement, I am to receive a pair of shoes (which I should be receiving soon). The hardest thing was trying to make a choice of which shoe I would choose — all of them are beautiful and unique. Although I love the one pictured in InStyle magazine, I chose one that is not quite as high with a sling back. I guess practicality came in.

It’s great when art and fashion collide! What would be your dream fashion project?

Fashion meets art! My dream project would be to create a line of swimwear and accessories, using my own fashion design and my artwork for pattern. It would be complete with bathing suits, coverups and accessories, including sandals. 

Farfalla (Mariposa), 2012

Give us a fun fact about yourself

I paint in my dreams, sometimes creating a beautiful painting that exists only in my mind.