ARTIST INTERVIEW: Agnes Baddoo
Agnes Baddoo has been a friend and mainstay artist of the Echo Park Craft Fair for years. Her iconic bags are elegant and practical, and her fierce advocacy for her fellow artists and community is unforgettable. Agnes has a background in fine art (painting, printmaking) that, in her words – “somehow lead me to fashion magazine styling, costume design, photography, brand consulting and eventually to making things I needed and wanted, which lead me to leather goods and my sacs.” We spoke to Agnes about her creative journey.
Do you feel like you’re part of a greater community of artists? If so, describe why?
I run an online business, and my life these days is best described as extreme bi-coastal. Tending and growing your business to suit your vision can be very solitary yet rewarding work. One of the greatest rewards happens as soon as I step foot onto the EPCF sound stage for set-up. I am instantly plugged in, connected to the most supportive community of artists ever assembled (in my humble opinion!) So much grace and consideration. We encourage and champion each other’s efforts, wear and showcase each other’s wares; these relationships carry out into the greater world in “real life,” in brick and mortars worldwide and online. It is the best, most unique feeling ever, and a proper, legitimate business model. Of course, there are supportive communities and rewarding experiences elsewhere, but in talking to friends in other fields, they are not having this kind of warm, uplifting, exponential, comraderie experience twice a year. This artist community is unique and what is most unique is the gracious tone set by Beatrice, Rachel and the EPCF staff that ripples out into the greater community.
What is so special about making art NOW, in our hectic digital age?
The more tech we get the more tactile we crave. Being home while connecting globally is one of the thrills of making in this age. Because of the internet we are able to link with like-minded people far and wide, on our own terms. Thanks to of the EPCF, we get to meet our community, in person, win-win.
Did you have any mentors or important creative influences?
Recently, I have been revisiting my experiences working with an incredibly influential publication director, and its influence in the trajectory of my career. Regis Pagniez was one of the founding art directors of French ELLE and brought ELLE to the US. The form (full bleed images, bold text, sans serif fonts) and content (healthy, diverse models, style over fashion) he brought to those pages really shook up the fashion editorial world at the time. I was his assistant, pre-sorted film, and worked directly with the photographers, art department, bookers, stylists, designers. He gave me my first loop on an amazing woven leather cord. Although I am not an art director/graphic designer per se, attention to detail, composition, timeless, trend-proof elegance, healthy inside-out beauty – these are characteristics he championed and characteristics I’d like to think I promote in my work, regardless of medium.
What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
My leather goods collection is about form and function, so as I need something, I make it. The latest addition is another hands-free option, the Belt Sac. It’s a small size pouch with 3 functions: as a belt sac worn at the waist, worn as a cross-body across the shoulder or the belt can be removed to use as a clutch. The Belt Sac is a perfect hands-free companion to Sacs 1 and 2 and is now available online and in December at the EPCF along alongside an assortment of Sacs from the collection.