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DISTORTING THE UPCYCLED ART OF GALLERY DEPT THROUGH ANOTHER ARTIST’S LENS
As the Los Angeles-based “art of display” launches at Aljadid, New York-based artist Tyler Cala Williams reimagines the collection from his own subversive perspective.
Despite what its name may imply, Gallery Dept. is neither gallery nor department store, but rather a shapeshifting art project that re-purposes vintage garments and re-positions streetwear as a creative medium. It’s both an extension of artist, designer and founder Josué Thomas’ own diverse practice and a space for collaboration. In less than two years, his Los Angeles-based project evolved, outgrowing its original crowded Downtown workshop and now calling a 6,000 square foot space on Beverly Boulevard its home office, retail space, design studio and production workshop. Inside upcycled and dead-stock garments are screen-printed, painted, distressed, washed and dyed and by hand. In Josué’s hands, streetwear stapes become art. “Our philosophy is simple: collaborate, create, and rebel,” he explains the brand page.
Inspired by this philosophy, Aljadid commissioned New Jersey-born, New York-based artist Tyler Cala Williams to collaborate on an editorial supporting the launch of Gallery Dept. The result sees Tyler place his signature soft melancholic filter over Josué’s own “art on display” modelled by fellow Los Angeles-based artists D’Anthony J and Hooz. “When I was working with D and Hooz I was trying to show them and their creativity as delicate and fragile,” Tyler explains over emails. “They are both sweet and have gentle spirits so I wanted to try to depict Hooz and D's photo in a vulnerable state, like a break-up.”
“MOST OF THE TIME I WANT TO CREATE SOME KIND OF POLITICAL AWARENESS, OR "AWAKING" TO HAPPEN FROM MY WORK TO CREATE ACTION, BUT HERE I JUST WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL LIKE IT'S OKAY TO NOT FEEL ‘NORMAL’. IT'S FUNNY TO SAY THAT BECAUSE THE NEW NORMAL IS BEING "DIFFERENT", BUT I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THEY AREN'T ALONE IN THEIR PAIN.”