Who knew that the best or most creative forms of art could be right in front of you, or even on you. Mimi Haddon does and she displayed it perfectly this week in the Maxine Merlino Gallery at CSULB art galleries. This week I had the pleasure of meeting Mimi Haddon after visiting her gallery called, “Conversations Between Strangers”.
Mimi Haddon is a student at CSULB enrolled in the MFA program. She had two more years in the program before she graduates. Haddon had actually previously graduated from CSULB in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. After graduating, she used her degree to become a photographer and did so for fifteen years. After working behind a camera for so long, Haddon wanted to go back to continue her education in a field that required her to use her hands as a tool of art. Once Haddon graduates with her MFA degree, she plans on becoming a public artist and display her work in public museums. She wants to be able show her work to everyone in hopes to inspire those that encounter her. Haddon currently uses her skills and talents to inspire the children she teaches. She teaches arts and crafts classes to children in summer. While working on a weaving project with her students, she was inspired to start her project which soon became, “Conversations Between Strangers”.
When I first walked into the gallery, I quickly noticed the aesthetics of the colors used in this gallery. I didn’t know what was used as the medium for this piece, but quickly came to realize that I was looking at tons of t-shirts dissected and grouped together. As I was walking through the gallery, I could point out what each piece or group of fabric came from what part of the shirts. She had four pieces in this display made from tags, collars, bottoms seams, and the main body of the shirt. When talking to Mimi Haddon, mentioned how hard it was to obtain 100 shirts made from 100% cotton. She said she only used cotton because any other material didn’t have the same stretching factor as cotton did. But if she came across an amazing color that she knew was perfect for this project that wasn’t 100%, she would allow herself to try to give the shirt a chance to participate in this project. Warm hues of red, orange and yellow were used in a way to being warmth to the room and to the guests. In one of the pieces on the wall, there were a couple of blue strands. Shen asked, Haddon stated that she was using that piece as a transition piece into her next project.
When asked what this project meant, Haddon responded that the 100 shirt represented 100 different people with different backgrounds and cultures coming along to become one. Haddon has also had an interest in anthropology She stated that when dissecting the shirt, it felt as if she was conducting her own anthropological study. She was learning different things from the shirt. Most of the shirts used had a group name or company logo on it. She made the reference that the groups and companies were similar to different tribes and how 100 tribes came together to become one huge tribe. She also added in her perspective on how the materials are also organisms. When taking down and putting the displays back up, the art pieces shape and move differently that how they were the day before. She loves that her art pieces come alive and how they display differently. She really enjoys working hands on and with materials she is able to manipulate however she wants. She is looking forward to doing more project and installations.
I can personally relate to this project in the aspect of gathering many different cultures and people to create a bigger deal. I can relate it to how all the students at CSULB come from different places and have different backgrounds, but come together and work as one to make a school community. Despite being different in our own ways, we come together to become one big school. I also think that despite where we come from, we are all still human. I don’t think many people think about that and think that race, religion, ethnicity and all that matter more. When in reality, we are all equal and no one is more superior than others because of any of those things.
Mimi Haddon’s Contact Information: