Hippie Chic at Boston's MFA

Both when I lived in New York and now starting my fifth year in Boston I am fortunate enough, somewhat by accident, to live near museums. And some pretty good ones. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts or the 'MFA' as it is locally called, is an impressive museum. When I moved here they just started expanding the footprint to add more galleries to show more art. The construction has been done for a few years and the exhibitions have not disappointed.

This is a panorama of one of the new areas at the MFA which contains a restaurant, a Chihuly 'column' which was commissioned by the museum when they had an exhibition of his work here a few years ago and down the stairs to the left or the right is the major special exhibit gallery. I had some lunch here in the cafe area and my main purpose here was to see the Hippie Chic exhibit in another part of the museum. I wanted a quiet day walking around a museum looking at art and thinking. I need that sometimes.

I am not a fashionista but I really enjoy fashion. I was probably more into it when I was in my 20's and being a bit more experimental. I wore weird things every now and again and accessorized with various colored hair. Over time, I just paired down my closet to your basic 'New York' black and blue fashions. Jeans and t-shirts and the like. Being an illustrator and living in the studio more and more over the years, fashion didn't really remain a necessity. I think I am trying to change it now.

This show peaked my interest because I've always loved the 60's era and loved the clothing from the 60's and into the 70's. In the 20th century, it was probably one of the most boldest time for fashion - and initially created by kids - the alterna-counter-culture of the time, it was really experimental. I think that's what I love about it most of all. Unfortunately, much of the fashion in the show is a reaction by high-end fashion designers to what was going on.

The bright colors and patterns I saw reminded me where some of my influences came from with my own art. While I love dark and black - the other side of my brain loves color and different combinations of odd colors. This show certainly fed my head with loads of ideas and thoughts not only about color but fashion and how much I saw the 60's in todays fashions. Patterns, boot cut pants, knee high boots, hair styles - I wonder if people realized that this era is still very much prominent in today's street fashion. At least that's what I see. I've actually noticed that the 80's ideals in fashion are starting to come back more and more. That scares me. ;o)

While the fashion here is a high-end version of what was actually being worn, it still inspired me on many levels with my artwork and other personal projects I work on. The largest inspiring moment for me with this show is the fearlessness to create. This is really some odd clothing. Fun. Expressive. Unapologetic.

Wouldn't we all like to be fearless in our work, whatever it is we do? Our fears hold us back from creating the work we want to - and need to. The fear is simply an insecurity in what others may think about what you end up doing. I say, wear that funky dress or jacket - makes those funky marks and allow the accidents and experiments to flow and expect failure but also expect something new to emerge. I found if I keep this attitude while working, the results are satisfying.

The exhibition is a smallish show and there could be so much more added to the show - but as it is, it's a wonderful peek into what fashion used to be but can certainly be inspiring for the now. And there is a great soundtrack in the gallery while you are there!

Hippie Chic at the MFA.