British artist Boyarde Messenger is in hot demand for transforming designer handbags with her signature pop art.
The 32-year-old British artist customises Goyard, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga bags for fees up $3,000.
Based in London, Boyarde decided 6 months ago to venture into painting on accessories.
She claims to ‘paint on everything except paper,’ while her latest venture was inspired by her designer friend Charlotte Dellal, who commissioned Boyarde to paint 100 shoes by her label, Charlotte Olympia.
The range was sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus, and earned Boyarde mentions in American fashion bibles like Vogue and ELLE.
She said of the process, “It took me quite a while to learn. Before I started, I experimented on vintage bags and learned to understand how leathers are all different. They breathe differently; you really have to understand the canvas you are working on.”
Her work to date includes a green Goyard tote with an oversized bust of Miss Piggy, and the exclamation bubble saying ‘I’m sexy and I know it…!’
Cartoon heroines occupy the sides of Hermès Birkin bags with call-outs reading ‘He has no idea…!’ and ‘You think you know me…?’
Boyarde first sands, then primes, and then applies thin layers of paint to the bags to achieve the final look
She added, “It’s about the pop idiom and erring on the nice side of kitsch. I’m not the deepest artist. It’s definitely visual and aesthetic, I just want to have fun.”
Boyarde Messenger has worked as a professional artist since 2007 but was petrified when she started painting the expensive Birkin bags saying, “I’m very confident with what I’m doing, but the process of painting on such an expensive bag is petrifying.”
She added, “The first Birkin I did, I was absolutely terrified.”
But Boyarde is looking to break out from the custom-commission mould. She says that one day she “would love to do a collaboration with a fashion brand.”