Interview with designer Halle McMahon: speaks on collaboration with Baker’s Rebellion

In the past few months designer Halle McMahon and I have been collaborating on these pants named “THE REBEL: 1 of none”. My creative vision along with her high design IQ and diverse artistic palette were the factors that turned a mere fantasy into reality. After completing this project, I was able to sit down with Halle to discuss the process of making these pants along with other elements of her life that affect her craft.

What was your game plan behind executing these pants?

To be honest, I did not have a solid idea of what the pants would look like as a finished product when I started, but that was the way I wanted it. I find that when I do have like this image in my head of what EXACTLY they need to look like, it kind of puts me in a box. I also like to get inspired with new ideas as I work so I just started with a rough idea of where I wanted to place each of the faces along with the general style/vibe they were to communicate and worked with that. I knew I wanted the majority to be black and white and most of the colors to be used more as details and accents so there would be a bold sense of contrast. 

What was the hardest part about creating these pants? 

Honestly it was time. I’m a full time student and I have the bad habit of having my plate really full all the time. I have design internships and personal side projects that I’m always working on- I like to be busy. But I really had to set aside a lot of time to work on this project. Some of the smallest details took days to finish. 

I also worked hard to make the pants almost like their own type of environment with all these different moving parts coexisting. There are a lot of weird little details and different elements, but at the end of the day I wanted them all to be somewhat connected and cohesive. Take for example the way Young Thug’s hair morphs into snakes that wrap around the leg, or the way the caution tape goes around the entirety of the leg and has the hint of a shadow underneath it. I wanted there to be a lot of these little moving parts that you can really hone in on, but at the same time I wanted to make every element work with the next one. 

What influences you artistically? 

There’s a lot of different things that influence me, but mostly my environment. I like being around people who are open-minded and artistically inclined. Growing up in NYC definitely helped shape who I am as an artist too. I recently took an art history class in college that has had a big influence on me as well. We studied trends in graphic design over the years and I became really interested in Bauhaus and constructivism-style pieces. It just made me realize and appreciate the fact that in all forms of art every little detail has a point and purpose to the whole of the piece. Nothing is completely random and even if it is, there’s a reason behind that randomness. It’s communicating something. People who don’t think like this will look at a piece and just think that the artist made it that way just because they felt like it and thought it looked good; but really there’s always a deeper meaning and deeper understanding behind it. 

Also, just an add-on but pretty important- smoking weed is a huge influence to me as an artist. I’m the type of person that can get really stuck on a single idea and when that happens and I find I’m not totally in love with what I’m creating, smoking just kind of opens up my creativity and can completely alter my perspective of things. It makes me more adventurous and open to experimentation and I love that. 

 

Where do you see this taking you in the coming years? 

Not to say that I don’t have a solid plan for my future as an artist, but as of right now, I don’t think that I want to limit myself to a specific part of the art field. I am currently studying graphic design but my background is in fine arts and I have always felt the most comfortable working with my hands and creating physical pieces like these pants. I hope this project will open doors for me and get my name out there so that I can collaborate with more artists and designers. 

I am super into collaboration. I know that everyone has their own unique vision and personal style and it’s such a cool thing when two creative people put their minds together. That’s exactly how these pants came to be- Baker came to me with the original vision and I had the skills to execute it. We brainstormed together throughout the whole project and kept coming up with new ideas and new little details to add and I think because of this, in the end they turned out to be so much more than what we originally planned. 

Who is you favorite artist/designer and why? 

I don’t know if I could pick an all-time favorite artist. That’s difficult. I try to follow a bunch of different artists on social media, especially street artists and graphic designers. I do like Heron Preston for his color combinations and the kind of industrial style of his clothes and accessories. I also like Balenciaga because their pieces are super bold but minimalistic as well. In terms of artists, I like to follow a lot of smaller, non-famous artist accounts because thats exactly what I am, and I know how important it is to support artists. I recently started following this artist named Doze Green on Instagram. Ive always loved figure drawing and abstractions of the human figure and he does a lot of that. 

How do you feel about this day and age of fashion/contemporary art? 

I think the problem with fashion and art these days really stems from social media. People are too afraid to be original and like something like a brand or a style just because they truly and genuinely admire it or the meaning it conveys. They see their favorite celebrities, models or musicians on Instagram wearing something and then want whatever they’re wearing just because media convinces them its “cool”. That’s why brands like Supreme or AntiSocialSocialClub can literally just have a normal quality shirt with a few words printed on it in an unedited font and sell it for hundreds of dollars- it’s not about the originality of the design, it’s just about the name and clout it carries with it. 

What is your best medium for artistic expression? Do you think you have a niche? 

This is a hard one. I have always absolutely loved oil painting. I think this is because it creates such a feeling of life. Its so bold and rich and for me, painting is like therapy. I also really enjoy printmaking, which was a big inspiration for this particular project and the style of the faces on the pants. Each face was actually its own individual print, carved out on a linoleum block by hand. So it was a long and tedious project. In reality, I probably could have used a screen printer to make my life easier, but I like doing things by hand. I like having control over each step of the process and knowing that each detail has my personal touch. Each face took me at least a full day to make: drawing it out first, then transferring it to the block, then carving it out and doing a bunch of test prints. But to answer the question, I don’t think I have a niche or a favorite medium, as long as I am working with my hands I feel in control, relaxed and like I can do or make anything. 

Lastly, if anyone wants to have you design something for them what is the best way for them to get in contact with you? 

Probably my art Instagram or email, or you can contact me through my website, but I would say I’m most active through my Instagram account (@h_a_l_design or @hal_lle). 

See below to check out some of Halle’s other designs and artwork:

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