@siduations: the Instagram artist putting the funny into fashion
Simply sign up to the Style myFT Digest -- delivered directly to your inbox.
‘I’m basically a hermit. I don’t see anyone, I sit at home alone all day and make things – I just want to be creative.” Meet 42-year-old Sidney Prawatyotin, better known as Instagram artist @siduations. Since starting the account two years ago, @siduations has racked up over 108k followers hungry for his mix-match of colourful digital collages and his knack for pasting fashion looks in completely mundane situations.
His incongruous juxtapositions have made Prawatyotin fashion’s hottest artist – and comedic critic. You can be certain of one thing: the @siduations images are never boring, because Prawatyotin doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. A teacher wearing a Balenciaga jacket? Why not. A Dior couture model walking with a Mariachi band? Obviously. “I try not to think too much when I create an image,” he says “I don’t create any images to annoy others, or make malicious fun of them or designers. If that happens, it happens, but that is never my intention.”
@siduations was born in the backseat of a car in downtown Los Angeles, Prawatyotin doesn’t drive and since moving to LA with his husband three years ago has found himself sitting in a lot of traffic jams. “I was so so bored!” he says, “I missed my friends in New York, and wanted to send them messages but rather than a text I would play with photo editing apps on my phone and superimpose their faces with me, let’s say in my backyard, to be like ‘Hey! So happy you are here!’ as kind of a joke but it wasn’t, and it just grew from there really…” His friends include New York It girl Chloë Sevigny who was one of the first people to regram his works.
Any image Prawatyotin creates is instantly recognisable due to its “Siduations look”. There is always an element of something being out of place, although Prawatyotin argues against that. “Why should a high fashion look not work in the everyday? Fashion is for everyone, it is part of society. We wear clothes everyday. What should be so bizarre about seeing a fashion week street-style look from let’s say Milan but placed in a supermarket?” Prawatyotin continues, “I don’t really get why they come out as funny as they are most of the time. I just see things and associate them with another place or setting and that’s how I create my work. I always like to create a context, I have a photographic memory and can instantly look at something and say ‘Oh! That is like so and so.’ The one thing I always ask myself is could this happen in real life? That’s what makes a true Siduations image.”
Time have moved swiftly on since his backseat of the car days and Prawatyotin has caught the attention of luxury fashion houses, publications and even department stores. He has worked with everyone from Vogue, Elle, Miu Miu, Coach and Moncler, to Christian Louboutin, sportswear giant Nike and Barneys New York – all after his unique digital visual explosions. “I think when you stop in life you just die. You are done,” says Prawatyotin, “and I think that never-stop attitude goes into my designs. I will sit up until 4am just adding more and more, experimenting, creating multiple versions until I like it. And I like to make images where they are both surprising and oddly relatable. I’m a storyteller essentially, I always have been and that is what I like to make, these fantasy stories.”
Where does he get his images from? “I will take images from anywhere – for my personal Instagram account Google is life. I will Google for ages trying to find an image to overlay on another or use as the start of the design.” Are all his designs now done on Photoshop? “Pretty much yes. I like to call it editorial but on a budget!” he laughs.
Before he started @siduations, Prawatyotin had never used Photoshop. “I am self-taught,” he says. “In New York I did so many different jobs, I was a stylist, designer, I started my own PR agency. So I never used it, and now I probably do it the wrong way all the time. I just use trial and error and over time I have become better at it. Anyone can master it, you need to practice.”
How does he receive his commissions? “Oh it’s all about the DM,” says Prawatyotin. “Everyone contacts me via Instagram messenger, that’s how I was approached by Alexander Wang etc.” Prawatyotin confesses however that commissioned work can be limiting. “The more I know about something the worse it is, so when a designer approaches me I try to not get too involved, if I do, the artworks are not genuine. I mean if a designer’s collection is based on space and the universe, I’m not just going to show one of their look-book models at Nasa. Boring. I don’t like the obvious. I would get the look-book models to be playing Space Invaders or something. You know, tackle it differently. Saying that of course I do stick to their brief somewhat, it is a collaboration after all.” How long does it take to make his art? “Now that’s hard to answer,” he says, “sometimes five minutes and at other times all day and into the early morning, it always changes.”
What can we expect from @siduations in the future? “I really don’t know!” he says, “I want to start directing my own fashion shoots, and create art using my own creatively directed work. But I hate the phrase creative director, don’t you? I just want my images to bring people together. Over the past three years there has been such a divide, especially here in the USA. There is a disconnect between fashion and the everyday, I guess I just want to even the playing field.”