Review of the Year 2016: illustrator Tuesday Bassen
In the fourth of our Review of the Year profiles, we speak to illustrator Tuesday Bassen who talks briefly about retail giant Zara allegedly stealing her designs and how the last 12 months have played out.
LA-based illustrator and designer Tuesday Bassen hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this year when she became embroiled in an oh-so-public plagiarism battle played out across social media, with high street shop Zara, who Tuesday accused of stealing her designs. By pulling up the global giant with an upfront and outspoken approach to injustice, Tuesday highlighted a wider problem of creative theft by clothes companies echoed across the creative community.
Since winning us (and the world) over with her designs and do-something-about-it attitude, Tuesday has spent the year working on her own line of illustrated clothing and accessories and fine-tuning the running of her shop in LA’s Disneyland district Chinatown.
Specialising in Pink Ladies-inspired satin bombers, patches, pins, short-sleeve knits and retro t-shirts, Tuesday’s designs may be inspired by the past, but the illustrator and designer is certainly set for a stellar future.
What was your creative highlight of 2016?
Expanding my illustrated clothing line to include skirts, backpacks, sweaters, tees and more for women sizes 2-22. Designing it was a dream because I got to translate the clothing I’ve illustrated over the past few years into something physical that I make in the city I live in: Los Angeles.
What was your lowlight of 2016?
Having almost my entire catalogue of work stolen by Zara’s parent company Inditex and put on its clothing worldwide. It’s a worst nightmare scenario.
What do you think are the markers of a good year creatively?
Feeling excited about the work that you’re doing! There’s nothing worse than illustration feeling like a chore. It’s depressing.
Which piece of work from the last year has been your favourite to work on?
I loved illustrating Nasty Galaxy for Sophia Amoruso because it felt like a seamless fit for us to collaborate on a project together and being in the same pages as my punk heroes is a plus.
Which piece of work from the last year do you feel has been most significant to your portfolio/career?
Honestly, I feel most proud of the work that I do for my own small business Tuesday Bassen at ShopTuesday.com. I make clothing and accessories that are interesting to me and aren’t filtered through a million mood boards to produce something disingenuous or watered down. For me, it’s a priority to be a self-starter and not ask permission to do what I want. No investors, no one to report to.
How has your work evolved over the last 12 months?
Unfortunately, I’ve spent less time drawing and more time designing and doing administration. I hope it’s temporary and I’m putting systems in place to ensure that I have more time for illustration. I opened up a shop in LA’s Chinatown and starting it, while being rewarding, has taken up quite a lot of my time. That said, I feel more confident than ever in my line work, my content, and the creation of my work. It’s satisfying to know how to execute something immediately and have the power to move quickly.
What’s been the most important thing you’ve learnt in the last year?
If you don’t speak up for yourself, you’re giving people permission to treat you how they see fit.
Who has been the most influential creative for you in the last year?
Instead of one person, I feel really inspired by all the artist-owned small businesses like Coucou Suzette, Monsters Outside, Explorer’s Press, AdamJK, and more that are gaining traction and visibility. I love having my store, Friend Mart, as a way to support and admire their works.
Describe 2016 in five words…
Powerful, tenacious, overwhelming, demanding and triumphant.
What are your hopes for 2017?
As a nation, I’m worried about [America] being under President Trump. I hope that we can take responsibility for the racism of our nation and move forward in a meaningful and open minded way. As a creative and business owner, I want to fine tune my artistic process, make more clothing in even broader sizing, and figure out new ways to celebrate the people that work for and with me.
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