Monday 14 December 2009

Studio visit/Introducing... Tim Tropp

With our last day of trading almost upon us, we're going to roll out the last of the Shoe Show interviews fast and furious. Today it's Tim Tropp, who shares his studio with fellow Shoe Show exhibitor April Phillips.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up, what you studied at school?
Growing up in the inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne I always had a creative inclination. I would spend hours slaving over my sketchbook; however it wasn’t until my final years of high school that I became interested in fashion. Shortly after completing my VCE I started my own small business creating one-off garments for local boutiques Alice Euphemia and Fat 52. I have since studied fashion and visual arts at RMIT and undertaken an internship in Paris for a German designer Lutz Huller. I have freelanced for various local labels in the capacity of a designer, pattern maker, consultant and machinist, I also have extensive experience in made-to-measure.

You initially completed a degree in Fashion Design and followed it up with a Visual Arts degree. With creating trouser/shoes, you’ve embarked upon a different direction and combined your background in fashion with shoemaking, an area that is quite new for you. What prompted this shift? Was it something or someone that inspired you to do so?
I didn’t finish my degree in fashion or visual arts probably due to my impatient nature and desire to learn through industry and hands-on experience. It may be something I will embark on in the future but for now I am excited about creating a new creative umbrella that embodies both my background in art and fashion. I am interested in developing works that challenge traditional ideas and aesthetics in fashion. I suppose my interest in shoemaking is part of this intrinsic desire to find new possibilities in design. By merging these crafts together it opens the door to an alternative way of consideration, in the way we dress, coordinate and ultimately feel.

Like fellow Shoe Show exhibitor April Phillips, you’ve mentioned that you are very interested in involving a historical element in your artistic process. How is this played out in trouser/shoes?
I am interested in the things that govern/influence our decision making process in dressing. Historically dress codes have always defined people within periods and places. These ‘codes’ can instantly define an individual within a class, community, or system. The rules or limitations of dress codes are of great interest: breaking or altering a dress code is a way of reconstructing garments to create new meanings. This reconstruction process is often a mediation of two alternate contexts or situations. The psychological impact of dressing for an occasion, historical references and the material selection is central to the exploratory process.

With shoemaking as a skill that you’re currently refining, soon you’ll be able to make a bespoke outfit from head to toe! How do you hope to develop your practice and what would you like to achieve in the future?
I have much respect for the art of shoe making and would like to continue to develop my skill base in this medium to further integrate shoe making into my practice.

Sharing your studio with April must have been crucial in your foray into shoemaking. Given that your background lies in fashion, how have the both of you helped each other in terms of technique, design etc.?
I am very grateful to April as she has been quintessential to the realisation of the shoe trouser. She has guided me technically, and creatively we have a musing friendship, without April’s expertise and resources it would not have been possible for me to execute the shoe /trouser.

Do you see shoes more as ‘fashion’ or ‘art’, or both?
I think that all depends on the context in which they are made for; personally I am exploring ideas that belong to both.

“If I were a shoe I’d…
…most probably be smelly.”

Photography by Richard Brockett

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