I am very excited to share with you a great local designer, this one touches home because like me, Chris Lopez, is an illustrator turned designer.
Originally from Barcelona, Spain, Chris Lopez is an internationally published multimedia artist. A painter, graphic designer, photographer, producer, and an art teacher! He studied in Barcelona, with two BA’s: one in graphic design and another in painting and illustration, but continued his studies in photography and set design for television and Stage.
Lopez lives and works in Fort Lauderdale for the past 19 years, and he’s known for his intimate portrayals of the male form through acrylic painting, watercolor, photography, drawings, print making and digital design.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to share with you my process, more than a “Designer” I consider myself an illustrator. I like to “play” with my illustrations as I apply them on garments which I have labeled “Chris Lopez Studio”, “Wearable Art” is the term I would give it, since the artwork here is the protagonist!
Chris, I’m so excited to interview you, I love, love your work! I would like to know, how was your transition from illustration and graphic design into fashion?
Actually it was an unexpected transition, kind of by popular demand. I started with my graphic design concepts: black & white clean lines with basic flat colors, where the simplicity of the details is the main expression. I had them as original paintings and fine prints. People who visited my studio started asking me for t-shirts, so I decided to try it. And word of mouth got out. One t-shirt at a time, and they started to become popular within the gay community.
Can you describe the bear aesthetic that you beautifully portray in your work?
I never intended to create a “Bear” aesthetic or any “Bear” line of T-shirts, I just continued to create the same male portraits that I featured on my paintings, the same type of artwork except now it can be worn or hung on a wall.
There is a very specific type of men… of course, the type of men I like. My work is all about the simplicity of the masculine features, and yes, there are a lot of bearded men here. I love when my clients comment: “He’s my dream man”, “I would like to look like him,” “He looks like my boyfriend.” I hear this all the time. It really makes happy!
Tops, bottoms, towels, bags, pillows, jewelry, wow… what’s next?
The sky is the limit, I’m not stopping! Currently I’m working on a “Home” collection: duvet covers, pillows, curtains, etc…, and my dream is to design a mural on a building in our community with one of my signature portraits.
Tell me a little bit about your design process.
I’m full time dedicated to artwork in my studio at home. This is a dream come true, and I enjoy every single day.
Usually my photography is the raw material for my paintings, drawings and some references for my graphics, it’s the start or everything. I like to paint with day light and work on my graphics at night with my computer. I still like to hand print by myself most of my T-shirts, they are small batches and I’m printing just the ones I need every week. It’s a very artisan process.
The look is casual but the look of the product it’s quite elevated. What advice can you give our readers to stay fashionable, and yet comfortable in the tropical weather down here.
Be yourself! We are lucky to live in times that we don’t need to hide our preferences and we can show and wear proudly what we like. Don’t follow what other people do or wear, find your voice, what makes you stand out. Wear clothing that stops conversations and make the heads turn, make a big statement and you will not be ignored. That’s what I like to do with my prints, to help you to feel unique and different, like a walking piece of art.
Fall season is upon us, do you design for every season?
Not necessarily and while the summer season is almost all year around in South Florida, the garments sell mostly online worldwide. At the beginning I thought maybe I’d be selling more in summertime but the garments are sold the same in any season. I have more freedom working without the pressure of collections for every season, and I love that!
Where can we find your beautiful line?
Mostly online at my website: chrislopezstudio.com. Also you can visit my studio in Fort Lauderdale by appointment, I have most of the stock here and you could try on everything. To make an appointment call 954-295-3269. In Fort Lauderdale, you can find some of my designs at Ball Beachwear, 2252 Wilton Dr. Out of Florida, you can find my designs in: Chicago: Leather64ten (6410 N. Clark St); Austin, Texas: Sir Rat Leather and Gear (2511 E 6th St. Suite A); NYC: The Leather Man (111 Christopher St); and in L A: LASC (8592 Santa Monica Blvd).