Spring is now here. And to set our springtime in motion, Glass decided that one of the best ways to shine an inspiring new light on a season in which we like to see creative forces banding together would be to let you in on a little Linea Germania by Mengly Hernandez and by taking a boiled down glimpse at its affiliate Creative Collective Col-lab. Native New Yorker Hernandez, multimedia artist, stylist, the epitome of creativity, with a prolific artistic output, is a key representative of the Col-lab, the soi-disant “non-traditional” collective who compose an agency embracing the spirit of collaboration.
Glass discusses the Dream Campaign with Mengly herself in order to gain an insight into the creative process that, in effect, shapes her. The Dream, her second foray into the design of hand-crafted silk scarves, has so far (and so good) inspired the other members of the Col-lab, who are keen to reap the value of joining forces for this project which, they hope, successfully conveys The Dream. And The Dream, you ask …?
Let’s start simply Mengly, The Dream Campaign, what does “the dream” mean to you exactly?
The dream to me is a sacred world inside each of us. It’s the place you visualize when you are at peace and know that everything is as it should. Abundant and divine.
Bright, zesty, unapologetic colours, and their happy-go-lucky nature, seem to be a trend in your work, why is this exactly?
Those words describe me. It is my personality and character to try and see the best in everything I encounter. For this reason I am always inspired and don’t find it challenging to find beauty and almost everything. Unapologetic certainly is innate. I have a rebellious spirit. I believe this quality keeps me actively searching for new inspiration and ideas. It also goes hand in hand with my never ending curiosity for life in general.
The sense of euphoric freedom within the collection is really enriching, is it important for you to enhance the lives of those that come into contact with your designs?
It is not necessarily important as in I create with the purpose of enriching others. I can say that every day I strive to enrich myself and strive to be true to my divine self. That quality may come across to others. If it does and they feel enriched then that is positive and I am thankful that I can make someone else feel happy.
The fashion industry often seems to be losing a sense of soul, and when I say soul, I mean the kind of soul the likes of James Brown marketed in; do you think your work has soul?
I feel I have soul therefore I’d assume that it permeates my work. I certainly strive to live life from a place of beauty, truth and rawness
Expanding on this, is wellbeing an important principle in your work?
Not directly. I strive for all around wellbeing, but the fact is that some days there is a struggle for that wellbeing. My work reflects different sides of that struggle.
This act of spreading goodness, is this your stand against repression, corruption, the intense climate of modern times in the world? It certainly feels like a commendable feat, would you be as bold as to explore this concept?
Honestly, I can’t say that I consciously try and spread goodness. I am very aware that I have to actively work on myself as a person. It may be that positivity is spread in the midst of that process. I will say that I love being happy. I embrace it and like being around feel good people.
I’m so captivated by the here and now for you Mengly, I don’t feel the need to dwell on your past, but please do just indulge me with this, what experiences in your past have informed the dream collection?
The dream collection was conceived from both loss and abundance as well my aesthetic love of lines and circles, Wabi Sabi and textiles from my travels to Africa. Specifically, Mali and Morocco. Pain and loss has been very motivational. On the other side of that coin I found that I had the opportunity to feel, this gave me the energy to create.
From the use of fibres and textiles in the creation of sculptures and art installations, technical triumphs are an important factor to you in cultivating your oeuvre, perhaps you could tell us a little more about the Creative Col-Lab to help us understand?
The Creative Collective Col-Lab has been an important part of my life in the last year. We are a group of 11 creatives. We come from different backgrounds. Together we are a force. I believe there is a lot of power in working with a team that is in sync energetically and conceptually. You develop the idea that anything is possible. We encourage each other and assist each other with projects. I am thankful to have met this group of individuals. I love how varied our backgrounds are, yet we come together seamlessly.
[Other members of the collective include award winning jewellery designer Simon Alcantra, stylist Kendall Farr, who also has a definite way with words, and photographer Anna Campbell, who makes light work of compelling visuals.]
The rich artistry you dote on is undeniably one of your strengths; it’s great to see a muse be a muse in 2014. You strike me as an age old muse Mengly, as a muse is a stimulus, a muse gives, what would you like to think you give to the creative industry?
Thank you! I strive to spread raw energy, authenticity, love, and lots of beauty
Your designs are all silk-screened, hand painted and hand stamped, painstaking I’m sure? Does this apply to my previous comments? Tell me more about your intricate, loving workmanship.
Working on each piece is definitely a labour of love. Each piece can take up to 2 hours to make and they are labour intensive. My work is very therapeutic for me. When I am working I feel I am suspended in a self-created reality. Like a bubble or dream. It’s like zoning out, shutting everything out and creating. I love getting my hands dirty, dyeing, printing, painting working with fabrics. It’s exhilarating. Sometimes it’s frustrating trying to translate something in my head on to the fabric. It’s a challenge, but one that propels me forward and offers new ideas and techniques for more projects more printing more creating. It’s my happy place.
And finally, may I ask, who’s your muse? Yourself? If so, please do not hesitate to agree! You see, you seem ever so comfortable in front of the camera, positively flourishing if I may say so, and also as the force behind your own artistic motion, behind the camera if you will. A modern muse.
I have many they change all the time. Sometimes it’s a song, my son, my grandmother, a cute guy, a beautiful woman, a flower, endless patterns. I am filled with curiosity. Yes, my muse is curiosity and life!!!
Curiosity, wonderful! On behalf of Glass, I would like to thank you for your insightful words Mengly, as long as there is still curiosity at the heart of creativity, there will always be a brighter horizon.
We hope, just as Mengly has inspired Glass, that you will spare a moment to become inspired by not only her own work, but the conviction and strength-in-numbers of her fellow Col-lab’ers, alas, their fervent curiosity may just open up your eyes a little wider this spring.
To find out more fascinating information about all of the above visit:
by Liam Feltham
Images courtesy of the Creative Collective Co-lab:
Photography by Anna Lee Campbell
Make-up by Angelica Moreno
Hair by Lauren Berrones
Styling, belts, art direction and design direction by Simon Alcantara.
Art Scans by Henry Lopez
Models: Sasha Medina and Mengly Hernandez