ONE OF THE CITY'S most rigorously curated vintage shops, Vintalier, is sticking a toe in the world of art shows for the very first time this month. It's a great one to lead with, featuring fashion illustrator and Instagram star Stephan Beaumont, AKA One Eye Girl, whose black-and-white illustrations have earned more than 140,000 followers.
Living and working in Barcelona and Marrakech, Beaumont enlisted the aid of a bilingual pal to help answer my questions prior to his first visit to Portland.
MERCURY: What was your background before One Eye Girl began to take off?
STEPHAN BEAUMONT: I've always worked in advertising and fashion, and about six months ago I decided to share my work as an illustrator on Instagram under the name of @oneeyegirl. The first time I started to illustrate was about 10 years ago. Back then I drew illustrations almost obsessively. I would place them in a folder and never show them to anyone. Fast forward to today. I find out about Instagram and it's love at first sight. That's exactly what I was looking for to start showcasing my work.
Where do you find the inspiration for the girls' outfits and poses?
My ideas are spawned at times from my imagination, and many other times I am inspired by Instagram profiles. They're usually girls with a strong personality. I like them to have a naïve, fragile, and seductive side. I am not looking to copy an image in particular. I look for a gesture, a look, an outfit... the result is a mix of all that I see on Instagram, my influences and artistic tastes, embodied with fragile strokes of fine point that I combine with India ink, watercolor, or acrylics. Oftentimes an illustration is from combining two or three pictures, some other times I just simply make them up myself.
How did you arrive at the signature of drawing women with one eye?
My idea through these girls is to transmit beauty as a result of imperfection. I've always found beauty in "flaws" and One Eye Girl is my way to demonstrate that the more interesting beauty is the one that doesn't follow standards, but breaks from what's generally considered beautiful. Now, I don't even realize they're one-eyed.
Fashion is such a colorful subject. Why do you choose to work in black and white?
I started drawing in black and white to ensure consistency with the photographs I already had posted on Instagram. I loved to offer a different perspective of Marrakech, the city where I live for part of the year, through my black-and-white pictures... but frankly, it's even more rewarding to draw. So if it all goes well, I don't think I will go back to photography.
I think black and white is elegant, and it also conveys the fragility that I want my One Eye Girl to have.
Fashion illustration has had a variety of roles in the fashion industry's history, from very practical applications to totally whimsical. How do you define your work's role in an era when photos are so easily taken and transmitted?
Today's fashion drawings certainly do not occupy the same space as they did in the beginning of the 20th century, but I believe that it is an artistic complement to fashion that is totally necessary. It provides that creative and totally subjective part that I find to be wonderful and very interesting.
Instagram has been so fundamental to getting your work out there. How else can people connect with your projects?
I never imagined that I would be able to reach so many people so quickly. I am receiving emails with assignments and requests for prints and originals.
You can also see part of my work at showstudio.com. Nick Knight contacted me when I was starting to showcase my work on Instagram and asked me to illustrate the Ready to Wear New York Fashion Week FW15. I was so surprised! That was unbelievable! I have also a web shop where people can buy limited-edition prints. And now my work is going to be seen in Portland in the beautiful shop Vintalier. So happy... everything happened this year. So I'll keep posting on Instagram and see where Instagram will take me. Vintalier, 412 NW 13th, Thurs Aug 6, 6 pm
• The city's foremost supplier of your favorite doin'-stuff stuff, Hand-Eye Supply, celebrates five years this week, with a First Thursday celebration featuring a set from garage rockers the Reverberations and live printmaking. Hand-Eye Supply, 427 NW Broadway, Thurs Aug 6, 6-9 pm
• Popina Swimwear's Pearl District shop has a fresh new look (including the addition of a mini bar that has Kona beers on tap), and they're throwing a party to show it off, with 25 percent off the entire store. Popina Swimwear, 318 NW 11th, Thurs Aug 6, 6-9 pm
• Southeast Portland's Windowwall Salon is having a blowout celebration to celebrate their newly expanded space, along with a new collaboration with Portland designers Rachel Turk and Nathaniel Crissman's legendary Church + State label in the form of official WW jackets, now available along with your cut 'n' color. The party will feature the Newrotics DJs, summertime cocktails, and lots of good hair. Windowwall, 2505 SE 11th, Ste. 323, Sat Aug 8, 7-10 pm
• One of the hallmarks of the Portland summer has become the Alley 33 outdoor fashion show. It hits the five-year benchmark this weekend with 20 of the city's designers (Amelia Boutique headlines), with an eye to small-batch production methods, affordability, and including options for plus sizes and swimwear. I'll be paying extra attention to what's new from Laurs Kemp, hosts Altar Houseline, Sarah Bibb for Folly, and Eve Skywalker. DJ Gregarious will hold down the event music as well as the afterparty. SE 33rd & Hawthorne, Sat Aug 8, 7 pm, $12-15; afterparty at Gold Dust Meridian, 3267 SE Hawthorne
• 2015 marks the 18th year for the Alberta Street Fair. The commercial drag will close to car traffic for the festivities, including two beer gardens, a kids' corner, three stages of music, a parade, and 300 vendors. NE Alberta, Sat Aug 8, 11 am-6 pm
• Nationale is ringing in August with a new art show of collages from Daniel Long, A Peanut in a Suit Is a Peanut Nonetheless, which will run through September 14. The opening reception is a relaxed Sunday afternoon kind of thing. Nationale, 3360 SE Division, Sun Aug 9, 2-5 pm
• It's time again for the Montavilla Community Flea Market, where you'll find a ton of good scores on jewelry, clothing, books, plants, crafts, oddities, and other treasures, nestled in the parking lot of the Portland Garment Factory. 408 SE 79th, Sun Aug 9, 10 am-3 pm
• P:FINE hosts a productive afternoon for emerging designers with the conversation event "Merchandising Products at the Retail Level: Direct to Market." Show up to learn and network with others in the industry—plus, it's outside! Wallace Park, 2550 NW Raleigh (under the picnic shelter), Sun Aug 9, 4-7 pm