I have always been attracted to clothing in the sense of costume and, as a child, was fond of playing dress ups. Using my parents clothes. Including my father’s ties. Which, being the 1970s, were both bright and big. While I cannot recall how I connected the kind of clothes that Dad wore to work with the kind of clothes that I wore to school, let alone the kind of clothes I saw men wear both in the street and on television, I can recall my very first tie.
According to my Mum I not only requested a tie for my sixth birthday but wore it to school as well. Even though it was not a fancy dress day. And, during the morning, she took the two photographs displayed on this page. While I also wore t-shirts and jeans and other typical kid garments, I retained a fascination with the kind of clothes commonly connected to special occasions.
During my late adolescence I began consciously experimenting with clothing and, when going out, would frequently wear a jacket. Over black jeans. I later started wearing coloured waistcoats, then grey waistcoats over white shirts, eventually adding a tie to the ensemble before adopting my current regalia of a suit and tie. Which I wear everyday unless I am at the beach.
Over time I became aware that my adoption of the suit was not simply a manifestation of a childhood interest but was a means of both adding a touch of theatre to the everyday and playing with cultural constructions of masculinity. I have also had an enduring interest in self portraiture and, once my tie collection eclipsed the one hundred and fifty mark, friends started joking that I could wear a different tie every day for a year.
Which, as of the first of July, is exactly what I am doing. The project runs from July 1 to June 30, in keeping with the Australian financial year, with the self portraits occurring in sets of 5, in keeping with the work week.
Richard Blue is a
based artist and writer with a MA in English (Narrative Non-Fiction) from La Trobe University. He is currently expanding his thesis, which is a memoir, into a book length work. An extract, along with recent visual works, including a series of photographs taken around inner city Melbourne , can be found on his folio site: richardblue.com.au Melbourne
I would like to thank all the friends and family members who have not only supported my sartorial eccentricities over the years but who have bought me ties and related accessories as well. Special thanks goes to my son, Oscar, for permission to wear his hat in the Indie Kid series.