I started by doing different art forms…and then one day I just decided to do something radically different,’ states Vacide Erda Zimic, referencing her art’s change in direction that took place in 2005, moving away from flat collages to lively textiles. Sewing, stitching, knitting and manual skills came naturally to the artist who was raised by a group of female relatives; these skill sets and a strong theme of female presence would come full circle as she allowed her career to take course.
I do many different things based on varying yet specific subjects. The first collection was based on my _abuelita_…it was the first collection and I did it with her,’ she explains, directing her focus to the over-sized portraits of her grandmother that adorn the walls in what appears to be Vacide’s personal showroom in Dédalo Arte in Barranco. The images are striking, forcing one to ask themselves what stands out the most: the fact that instead of a waify teenager modeling Vacide’s playful pieces there is a octogenarian confident in her own skin; or is it the photos’ production, such as the slabs of raw meat that surround the protagonist when the photo shoot moves to a local market or the mock funeral?
Some of Vacide’s promotional images on her brand’s Facebook use a dash of morbidity, all meant in good fun. Her pieces on the other hand are quite cheery, brought to life by bright and textured fabrics, fun shapes depicting animals and, well, whatever else this artist can find.
_(Photo: Carly Tice/Living in Peru)_
Vacide uses leftover fabrics from local district markets that have slight imperfections and are no longer fit to sell according to industry standards. Forgotten felt hats are cut up and upcycled into purses with layers of scalloped edges. The remnants of failed 3D printer projects become colorful and chunky jewelry pieces whose geometrical shapes have been saved from a trash bin destiny. Strands of shirts, cardboard cutouts and even scraps of carpet find make their way into Vacide’s pieces, camouflaged only by the fact that we simply wouldn’t expect them to be incorporated into such fashionable pieces.
Some may say she’s fooling us all by making one man’s trash another woman’s treasure, but the manner in which she presents her art and the stories to accompany have garnered Vacide the likes of New York’s MoMA (Museum of Modern Art ) selling her items. When you do what you want, there seems to be no wrong, just a bit of ‘weird’ – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
_Pieces from the Inca Princess collection (Photo: Carly Tice/Living in Peru)_
Her latest (and at the time unfinished) collection is Inca Princess, based on the impressive Moche culture of northern Peru. Snakes, lobsters, birds, spiders and other figures commonly depicted on the ancient _huacas_ have are brought back to life in a much softer form. Lightly stuffed, these cloth pieces of art can be worn as necklaces, pins, and no doubt will become conversation starters and attention-getters.
Vacide’s team is small, as she has just one full-time employee. Luckily, her mother and grandmother, the very women who taught her the skills she now bases her career off of, show their full support by aiding her in whatever she needs. Even modeling.
My grandmother becoming the model of the brand was never planned…I was supposed to make my first TV appearance showcasing my collection and needed a model quick. But I didn’t want just anyone with a typical ‘model’ look…And there’s of course a humorous part to it, in that she is also ‘recycled’,’ jokes Vacide, who can’t help but show a wide grin while mentioning her 89-year-old grandmother.
I ask Vacide if she could describe her style in just a few words. Categorizing her work is no easy task for an observer, nor is it of much interest to this designer.
Free…I think that’s the best way to describe it, I’m not really sure. Really, it’s whatever occurs to me at the moment, what inspires me. It’s not as planned as some may think!
Next month, Vacide will participate in the Ibero American Design Biennial in Madrid. From November 21 to the 25, a diverse set of professionals ranging from university representatives to textile artists, such as Vacide, will congregate to further show design as a creative and cultural solution to problems.
_Visit Vacide’s studio:_
Calle Ramón Castilla 688 oficina 301
Centro Comercial La Aurora, Miraflores
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Meet Vacide Erda Zimic, a textile artist and designer with eccentric and playful pieces that weave together her past and future.