She said “No” to me at first …
Naormi is very young, maybe seriously too young for what she has done in her fields. Well, I don’t even know if she really has some certain fields. As an artist, she also designs jewelry & clothes, and collects vintage pieces, she teaches at Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), one of the top art schools in the world. Her photography has been nominated for Three Shadows Photography Awards, just like her other creative works. She is also highly involved in fashion, and that’s how we met. She had worked for fashion weeks in Europe while she was still in London. People are amazed by the variety of her work. But she always thinks that her whole work is only about one simple thing – to transform her inner self, no matter what various forms of art she creates and how different the materials she works with.
Naormi called after I first approached her. She kindly said “No” to my original proposal. I was trying to put her on ShoppingTogether, but Naormi is a person who can not compromise. Naormi told me, “Summer, it’s just not me.” Quoting what she commented on ShoppingTogether exactly, “It’s like a gossip section, but a high end one.” Clearly, Naormi didn’t think ShoppingTogether would reflect her precisely.
She is a mix of contradictions. As an artist, she often dissects art in a more subtle way, and her writing is often very poetic and abstract. She said, “I don’t approach artworks with the question of ‘when’ ‘where’ ‘what’ and ‘why.” As a designer, her work is well accepted in different cultures, and she has gained some loyal customers and admires of high profile. “Since you are in the real world but art now, play the game by the rules,” said Naormi. She is also not active on any social media, while most of us are trying desperately to sell and promote ourselves, gaining more likes and followers. She doesn’t use Twitter, Instagram or Pinestret.
While we looking at the jewelry at the store, I can’t help myself starring at the rings she was wearing! Those are designed by herself, no wonder! Most of her jewelries are often considered to be art as well as fashion design. She usually spends a few months on creating one piece. “Art seems to be the antithesis of everything else in the world that is mass-produced. Art pieces are individual and unique objects that are handcrafted made with caring,” said Naormi.
I was wearing the black vintage Anna Sui piece Naormi helped me choose at the soho store almost two years ago, and I like to wear it more and more. She could be a tastemaker and defiantly a style influencer, if I don’t need to be humble here anymore. People just like her styles, a mix of British elegance and a little bit boyish coolness. Graduating from Central Saint Martins, she kept the British or European sophistication a lot. When asked how she likes American fashion versus British/European fashion, she said,” America and Europe overall have different history and culture, and how apparel was originally born and how fashion was developed are also different. But to trace the history of fashion, we have to wait until another Sin Gallery feature. I think I like British and European fashion more.”
I have been always curious why she is an artist who also designs fashion, but a fashion designer who also makes art. “Summer, artist and designer have different mindsets. A designer knows what she or he wants exactly at first. While an artist is never clear about what she or he wants to make, and an artist is creating with a question mark all the way along. Even after the art piece is done, an artist might still doesn’t have an answer. Here I give you an example – usually, designers decide to make a dress, then they will get a dress. Artists first want to make a dress, then they may change to a skirt in the middle. And in the end, they may end up getting a jacket. When it comes to me, I always have the artist mindset in fashion, never end up with one single idea.”
I have told her, “I embrace Modern Art, but not sure about contemporary art in general. As an artist, have you ever heard any criticism of contemporary art?” She laughed at first. Then she told me, “I don’t only state myself as a contemporary artist. People always have different senses and opinions in art, every artist wants to hear the audience’s voice about his or her work. Those criticism will make me think of my art more and move forward.”
Four years in London, three years in New York, currently traveling between China and America back and forth, when asked where she sees herself in the future, she said “Question mark”. Still the artist mindset – you would never know what you end up getting and where you would end up living.