10 Questions with Magda Archer As Her Collab with Marc Jacobs Hits Harvey Nichols
Whoever said sarcasm is no good obviously never got to experience Magda Archer’s work. By combining harsh realities in word form and whimsical cartoons of cutesy animals, the artist has been crafting her own path of pop art ever since training at Ravensbourne College of Art, Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art. Kitschy in all the right way, the tongue-in-cheek graphics carry the vibrancy of all the artists she admires including Andy Warhol, Peter Blake, David Shrigley and Eduardo Paolozzi.
No stranger to a fashion collab herself, Archer’s work has already been used in the campaign for Comme des Garçons Shirt in 2012. She had also illustrated pieces for two of Jenny Packham’s collections, adding a sense of humour to the British designer’s glam creations. In 2019, Archer was approached by accessory designer Olympia Le Tan over a DM on Instagram, asking to be part of Marc Jacobs’ new venture – The Marc Jacobs. She obviously couldn’t say no to working with the legendary American fashion designer and ended up collaborating on an extensive capsule collection embodying the power of nostalgic absurdities both Archer and Jacobs communicate play with in their work. In celebration of the collection launching exclusively with Harvey Nichols today, we got in touch with the artist to ask her 10 very important questions. What is her spiritual animal? Where does she find her inspirations? What does she absolutely hate? Read on to find out…
Dino Bonacic: What does your process look like?
Magda Archer: My process could be construed as complicated to others but to me, of course, it’s second nature. I think I’m a bit dyslexic, not very logical nor organised, so I’ve had to find a way to work in a state of controlled chaos. I usually start with some words or possibly a colour scheme that I have a vague memory of.
DB: Was there ever a sentence you thought was too rude to put on a piece of paper or a t-shirt?
MA: Yes… When this happens, what I usually do is keep those words and play around with them for a bit – till they’re less “offensive” and more “sassy.” My vibe is meant to be sassy, or sometimes sweet and loving. Maybe even a “stop you in your tracks,” moment where you think “oh, I get it.” Sometimes, it’s a “this shit happened, but let’s dance anyway” kind of thing.
DB: What makes you smile?
MA: Silly things or expressions, my husband, my daughters and my dogs… Even something as simple as a bunch of daffodils can make me smile.
DB: Are you a more of a pessimist or an optimist?
MA: I’m an optimist through and through. If you think that I’m a pessimist from looking at my paintings, you have the wrong end of the stick. Irony and humour play a big part in my work.
DB: What’s your favourite piece from the Marc Jacobs collection?
MA: I made a “My Life is Crap” t-shirt a few years back, using the same company The Clash had used to print their iconic t-shirts, and gave a load to my daughters and their friends at art school. They seemed to love them, and word started going around about these t-shirts – people wanted them, people were DM-ing me… Then I realised what a load of hassle it was. Arghhhh! I wanted to keep the t-shirts as something precious, so I tried to keep it under the radar, as I genuinely thought the design was destined for better things. At that point, only the truly tenacious would get one of these shirts out of me. When The Marc Jacobs design team came along and wanted to use this image I was ecstatic. It just felt right… So, it has to be the “My Life is Crap” sweatshirt and sweater.
DB: Who are your inspirations?
MA: Women and female friends making things happen. People with good, kind hearts. Some artists I know who are generous, encouraging spirits…
DB: You also have a musical alter-ego called The Cola Cubes. How do you describe the sound?
MA: The sound is electro-pop or it thinks it is. It may have a big shock coming.
DB: What do you hate the most in this world?
MA: Injustice, liars, bullies and general aggression… Animal cruelty, everyday sexism, intolerance.
DB: What’s your wish for the future?
MA: Where do you start? So much has gone wrong with the world… Make the world greener, clean up the oceans – that would be a good place to begin.
DB: What’s your party trick?
MA: Singing Mustang Sally and getting everyone to dance.
DB: If you were an animal, you would be…
MA: A terrier because you can never second guess them. I would be one that does a few tricks, so people like it more. Like Uggie in The Artist. He was pretty much my perfect dog.
The Magda Archer x The Marc Jacobs collection is now available from Harvey Nichols, both online and in stores.