Boyarde Messenger, creative director of Boyarde Art House, pioneered the fashion art movement that creates art for clients to wear or collect. Her workshop has been in the Bussey Building for 3 years. Known for wit, creativity and craftsmanship, Boyarde and her team of skilled artisans, create distinctive hand-painted pieces across a variety of canvasses including the female body, murals, and luxury fashion accessories.

What kick-started your success?

Discovering an audience which wanted to wear their art rather than hang it on the wall.

What do 3D objects offer that paper does not?

Being an artist without a canvas provides new challenges which don’t normally apply to a standard setup. A 3D object; whether it is a bag, a jacket or a shoe; poses challenges you have to think about when creating designs. You have to consider the canvas as a whole and work with its hindrances, with its joints, edges or stitching. The advantage here is that it enables me to take the art out of the gallery and cater to the client who wishes to wear their art rather than display it. In today’s world, we can blur the boundaries between fashion and art; a fashion item no longer just has to be an accessory. A work of art no longer has to confined to the frame.

What’s the appeal of pop art?

I like taking the familiar; things that readily exist in everyday culture; and giving them a new meaning. I love to re-contextualise familiar imagery by injecting it with an element of humour and mischievous wit.

Tell us about your career highs.

When I first started painting fashion accessories, I got a call from Lucia van der Post from The Financial Times’ How to Spend It, asking me about my painted Art luxury bags. She recognised me as a pioneer of a fashion art movement that didn’t yet exist. This was a pivotal moment in my career.

I have been a part of multiple exciting projects and collaborations with luxury brands over the years; including two Boyarde Christmas shops in Selfridges Accessories hall.

What’s your favourite piece of art / bespoke commission?

I absolutely loved painting a Royal Enfield Motorbike for the Elephant family in June. It was my most challenging canvas yet and I was thrilled with the final outcome. My studio neighbour Emma from South London Saddles assisted me with this project and designed bespoke saddlebags for the bikes, which my team hand painted. It was amazing to see the bike paraded through the streets of London and auctioned off to the lucky bidder, along with the bikes by other reputable art houses.

How do you work with your clients? Do most of them have a fully formed idea of what they want or leave it to you?

Our clients are mainly international. Clients approach with an idea in mind, or in search of inspiration. Our client journey is very personal. Every commission is crafted with individual attention from start to finish. We work with our clients to reinterpret their imagination and personal journey into Boyarde’s signature blend of wit, playfulness, reality and dreams. Our artisans spend at least 36 hours working on a single bag commission and more than 100 hours for select commissions.

How are notions of luxury changing? How do luxury brands maintain aspiration?

Luxury is the unique, the rare, the unattainable. Luxury is about knowing your client and creating the most personal experience possible. It is not just about the final product, but about the journey. This is what the Boyarde Art House delivers; we create special and lasting relationships with our clients.

Why Peckham? What is it about SE15 that attracts creativity?

Peckham is a hive of creative activity, bursting to the seams with like-minded creative thinkers. Although Peckham may not be associated with luxury, it is the perfect home to be surrounded by other creative minds, where we often bounce ideas off each other. For me, Peckham has a raw energy which is what drew me to the place originally.

Tell us about any exciting plans for the future of the brand

Whilst we strengthen our name as a luxury brand, we look to work with other high-end brands exploring new avenues and canvases, such as interactive art installations, which continue to blur the lines between Art and Fashion. Watch this space.

You can find out more about Boyarde by following her work at boyarde.comInstagram, Twitter and Facebook.