Combining craft techniques with digital manipulation, tactility and intuition guide artist Bart Hess in creating his uncanny work. Having collaborated with the likes of Iris van Herpen, Nick Knight and Lady Gaga, Hess is also no stranger to Heimtextil. This year, he brings his theatrical approach to creating the Heritage Lux trend.
For Hess, the parallels between his work and the trend immediately stood out. “There is a lot of overlap,” he explains. “My work almost always embodies something mysterious, although most of the materials I use are super tangible. Also, the presence of elegance is a common factor in Heritage Lux and my personal work.”
Hess’s signature elegance with an edge is made from many different materials, each one manipulated and reshaped beyond its original form to achieve a specific vision. “The biggest creative challenge was that I wanted to incorporate at least one dynamic element in every image; Human body, textile, water, smoke, and shaving foam.” Using everyday objects, as opposed to traditional textiles, has its own challenges: “Like the different ways which shaving foam reacts when applying on the body,” Hess points out. But in the right hands, it’s an opportunity to create something unexpected. “To incorporate something dynamic means you find also new perspectives,” he says.
Working with the body in this way also brings a haptic element to the imagery. “I wanted to photograph everything as pure as possible, with the least amount of post-digital manipulation. If we look at the image of the red hands, I experimented with different paint and material applications to achieve this velvet skin structure. I could achieve this through digital manipulation, but because we created it directly on the skin of our model the image becomes automatically purer. Because the model feels and experiences a velvet sensation, we recognised directly that her hand movements became more elegant.”
So how does Hess imagine Heritage Lux coming to life in an interior context beyond what he has created for Heimtextil?
“I find it way more interesting to find out how other interior creatives would interpret Heritage Lux, based on the images that I created,” he says.
Photos: Images by Bart Hess for Heimtextil 2020.