5 MINUTES WITH… ERIN CADIGAN
Posted on December 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm by The Hippie Shake
With the recent launch of our Stargazer collection we thought it was about time to give you guys a bit more of insight into the creative genius behind our killer prints and patterns, Erin Cadigan.
We first met Erin in America last year in Woodstock where we stayed at her amazing 70s hotel ‘The White Dove’ and we knew it was a match made in heaven. We have since had a strong ongoing relationship with Erin who really brings life and vintage spirit to the patterns and prints. We caught up with Erin to talk about her career, art and inspiration.
What’s the first piece of art you can remember creating?
I have this distinct memory of sitting at the kitchen table with my Great-Aunt Kay, coloring in a coloring book. I was maybe 4. She was praising my use of color and ability to stay in the lines.
After I finished coloring in the whole piece with bright colors, I took out the white crayon, peeled off the label and used the side of it to go over the whole page. I can still see how it blended the edges of the colors together and gave everything a foggy, fantastical feel. When I was done, I looked up at my aunt and she said, “you’re an artist”.
Music is a big part of our brand, how much of an influence has it played
on your journey as an artist?
Art, music and fashion have been my whole life. The blending of the three, or what became termed “counter culture” in the 60s but had existed way before then, has been the realm I have inhabited since I was a child.
I’ve always known I was an artist. My parents let me choose my own clothes from a very young age. I’ve always dressed counter to society norms. Music became part of my identity at 9 years old when I started playing drums. Way before there was a School of Rock, my music teacher was really into teaching me how to play by learning from rock music.
Though I eventually stopped playing drums at 16 due to the amount of sexism I encountered, music continued to influence my life in heavy ways. As a teen I was part of the punk scene at the Jersey Shore. In college I worked at the rave club Limelight in NYC. Through all the years seeing live music was a priority. During college summers and then for twenty years after, I toured with both Grateful Dead and Phish, selling my artwork in concert lots across the US.
Art. Fashion. Music. It’s hard for me to even try to separate the three in my head.
How and when did you make the step into the fashion world?
Style and fashion have always been a passion. My Aunt Kay taught me to sew at about 10 and I have been making my own clothes since. Originally I wanted to go to university in NYC for fashion. However, I was really ingrained in the rave scene by then and my parents refused to send me to college in New York, as they were afraid I’d spend all my time clubbing.
I went for illustration at U. Arts in Philadelphia instead but never forgot my first dream. In 2002, I was living in Canada when not on tour with Phish. I was bored, so I started a program at an atelier fashion studio. Upon completing that two-year program, Phish had broken up and I moved to Brooklyn to pursue fashion. I became the head designer for a boutique and private label accessories firm. Though working in accessories killed my dream of being a street wear designer, it did push my skills in textile creation.
Who are some of your fave people/brands you’ve collaborated
with/designed for and which projects are you most proud of?
Obviously, The Hippie Shake. Your brand is just a great fit for my style and you’re super easy to work with.
Though I didn’t always love designing accessories, I did really enjoy working private label. It meant my designs were being sold globally in major department stores such as Barney’s NY and Urban Outfitters.
The other designer I most enjoyed working with was Lindsay Jones of Mused (@diamondbones). I was part of her design team on an earlier line she had started. Lindsay is a genius as well as being one of the more humble and gracious people I have met in the fashion world.
Are there any particular artists that influence your work?
Rick Griffin ( @rickgriffindesigns ) . Alfonso Mucha. Patrick Woodroffe ( @patrickwoodroffeart ) .
How has your art developed since you began and how do you see it
evolving in future?
Like everything in life that you practice, you get better the more you do it. I’m still just very much interested in the same things I always have been. Telling a story. Fantasy. The occult. Darkness. Light.
I guess in the future I’ll just keep getting better at telling the story.
Where do you create? What’s your creative space like?
I am very lucky that we moved about 7 years ago to property in Woodstock NY where I was able to create, not one but two art studios for myself. One studio is for my illustration, painting and printmaking. The other houses my sewing machines (I just scored two vintage industrial machines this summer!), cutting table and computer set up.
Honestly, they are both a little hoarder-esque looking but they suit me. I spend some time every day in one or the other.
We’d love to know more about process behind the creation of the prints
and illustration in our new ’Stargazer’ collection? What was the
I loved the inspiration for this seasons collections. Glam Rock, Bowie, the pop paisley textiles of the late 60s and a kind of cartoon aesthetic. It hit all my sweet spots.
Working with other people is always a collaborative process. For this collection, I took a look at the inspiration boards sent over by The Hippie Shake. From there we had a few back and forth conversations about what the inspiration was saying, and what story we wanted to tell. Once we boiled the inspo down to a few key phrases, I worked up several pencil sketches both for the repeat patterns and tshirt graphic.
Pencil sketches always lead to a bit of back and forth as well. Once a solid idea is achieved, I go to pen and ink. Once that final hand art is signed off on, it gets fed into my computer for coloring. We can go through several options of palettes to achieve one the client is really happy with. Color is very important. Both to me as an artist and in the world of fashion; it can really make or break a collection.Once final color gets approved and the pattern is put into repeat, I’ll often scale it at a few different sizes. The Hippie Shake in the UK can print out these files onto paper so that we are 100% on what is being sent to the factory. The more detailed and exact artwork is at the factory level the better. Otherwise, the design team can get into a lot of expensive back and forth sampling.
What do you want people to feel or think of when they look at your work?
I just want it to make them think. They can think about anything they’d like but I want it to connect with them.
What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Live life on your own terms. Create the art you want to create.
If your goal is to make a living off being creative, then do that. Don’t be so attached to one path. Be ready to stay on your toes and roll with the opportunities life presents to you. Be prepared for people to hate your work. Be prepared for people to love your work. Be prepared for people to not care one way or another.
To be an artist, you need to be pretty solid inside yourself.