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Photography courtesy of the artist. 

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21 May 2024

This Month in Art: Agnes Pettersson, Wolf by Lamb

ROSIE LOWIT

Introducing Sleaze’s new spotlight series: This Month in Art, a series that showcases various emerging creatives in the art world. Last month, Rosie Lowit conducted a conversation with sculptural artist Scarlett Pochet. Rosie’s latest instalment moves away from fine art and into clothing, as she sits down with Agnes Pettersson, founder of Wolf by Lamb.

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The March edition of This Month in Art spotlights Wolf by Lamb, a new clothing brand established by Agnes Pettersson to ‘connect the pleasures of vintage clothes and art history.’

 

Agnes stencils, stitches and bleaches art historical motifs onto clothing by hand. She sells these wearable pieces - jackets, jeans, bloomers and clogs - at market stalls every weekend, establishing a connection between the items of clothing she sources and her added pieces of cultural history. Playing on references she finds in everyday life, Agnes chooses motifs she visually appreciates before delving into research and sharing her findings.

 

When I meet Agnes for coffee, she tells me that Wolf by Lamb was founded in January to encourage the appreciation of art history, a discipline that continues to be overlooked and underfunded. Setting the tone for our discussion, she recalls a line from Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, in which maths student Jake exclaims a girl should, “just fuck off and do History of Art, love”. The line both makes clear the generally dismissive attitude towards the discipline, even at university level, whilst speaking to its elitist connotations. Ironically following the quip, much of Saltburn directly references art history. Scenes mirror famous paintings and visual motifs inform characters’ actions. This lack of recognition is only exacerbated by the fact that art history is only offered in a small number of schools, the huge majority of them private. Organisations like Art History in Schools are working to change this.

 

With Wolf by Lamb, Agnes wants to make art history fun and playful as well as accessible. Indeed, art history is incredibly multidisciplinary, “so inextricable to our culture”, Agnes states. On that note, I ask her to reflect on her month as Wolf by Lamb.

What did March look like for you?

 

I had stalls at my first few markets, all of which were really valuable for my confidence and self-belief. It’s been lovely to engage in person with people who want to buy my items, proving that there is interest in what I’m doing. It really helps sustain motivation, as aside from this my month has consisted of a lot of repetition: sorting clothes, sewing and bleaching.

What’s the best exhibition/art event you’ve been to this month?


The first market stall I had was with Shapes and Things, an amazing artist collective that curates exhibitions, events and workshops to connect like-minded creatives. The exhibition and coinciding market took place at Projection Room, which is a project space in Soho established by Lily Smith. Both organisations have this ethos of keeping art young and accessible, which I just love - I don’t feel like there are many places at the moment that stand up for our generation’s creatives. There was an open-call for artists for the exhibition, so it was an incredibly diverse and dynamic show.​​

Book of the month?

 

A book I’m excited to be reading is Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth by Kirsty Stonell Wal​​ker, which is the first biography of one of Rossetti’s greatest muses. Fanny Cornforth is never acknowledged in her own right, always framed as sexually deviant and only seen through the lens of Rossetti’s work. The book finally gives her a bit of a voice and explains her story. I’ve always been interested in the concept of the artist’s muse, and I think claiming back the lives of these women and not just positioning them in the eyes of the male artist is really important.

 

Artist of the month?

 

My friend Finty Cahill, who is the most incredible sculptor. Her recent works include small-scale figurative pieces and bowls as well as snakeskin boots that I only wish existed in non-clay form! Finty also makes rings, she’s just amazing. Go check her stuff out here.

 

Let’s take a look at your own work. What recent piece or creative project are you proudest of?

 

My favourite piece at the moment is this pair of blue jeans with a Dala horse on it. I have two pieces that incorporate this motif; one was sold a few weeks ago and the other is still available. I’m Swedish and I often use Swedish symbols or historical motifs in my work. The Dala horse is a Swedish folkloric icon that dates back to the eighteenth century - I grew up around it. I recently bleached the emblem onto the crotch of blue jeans. It’s a playful piece; the horse moves as you walk in the trousers. When approaching my work I tend to start with motifs I visually appreciate, before delving into the research behind them.

What’s the best or worst trend you’ve seen this month?

 

I can’t stand the blind following of fashion trends, wearing things just because other people are. Wear whatever you want to wear, but stay true to yourself and do it for a reason. Everyone has the ability to be unique and celebrate themselves through their style. I just hate this mass following of trends.

 

Lastly, what are your creative goals for 2024?

 

As the brand grows, I’d love to start collaborating with artists, having them design clothes perhaps. I’d like Wolf by Lamb to continue to grow a community  - and this doesn’t mean a massive following - but people who are interested in and engage with my work. I’d love this community to be a place of both oral and written discussion, a feature I’m trying to work into my website. And of course - I want more people walking around in my clothes!

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You can keep up to date with Wolf by Lamb on Instagram: @wolfbylamb

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