We had the good fortune of connecting with Stew Frick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stew, how do you think about risk?
Within my life and career, I feel that I aim to take fewer risks than is often expected of those in the creative field. While I have taken some decent risks (dropping out of college, or moving without much money), I largely reject the common thinking of “risk everything, be willing to fail completely if it is in pursuit of your goals.” Risk is necessary, especially if starting your own artistic business, but don’t be fooled and think that if you aren’t constantly on the precipice of your life imploding, you aren’t committed to what you love. Creativity and art is often a slow process – it is not ‘now or never.’
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a painter, specifically using clothing as my canvas. This is, unsurprisingly, a very difficult space to create in as it is an occasionally tricky hybrid of fine art painting and fashion design, but the challenge is a big reason why I love it so much! Currently, I am preparing to launch a completely revamped and refreshed brand for my practice called Forlorn Moon, which I am incredibly excited and proud of. In creating this brand and launch collection, I aim to create a world of characters and stories (centered around a particularly melancholy moon, hence the name), and it has certainly been anything but easy. If the audience could take away anything about my brand, it would be to understand the level of care and attention I put into creating these pieces, and how much I love making what I am about to launch.
Aside from the obvious difficulties in starting a business and handling the logistics and financial side of things, clothing painting can be a particularly difficult medium to work within. Creating something that is simultaneously beautiful, durable, meaningful, and wearable is a tall order, requiring careful consideration of materials, design process, and construction. Thankfully, I’ve been painting clothes for 5 years and have had my fair share of failures – scrapped pieces, incorrect chemical treatments destroying pieces I worked on for days, and, of course, pop-up shops that no one showed up to. If I were to outline any particular lesson, it would be to take your time while never stopping. Take as long as you need to try new ideas, work through the difficulties of your practice, and make sure that you’re ready before commodifying your creations.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a difficult question to answer, as like I said previously, I’m quite the homebody and prefer to spend the night in painting rather than on the town, but I’ll give it a shot! Pittsburgh is an amazing city with a lot of good spots to go, but also plenty that feel like you “should” go to them, but are truthfully mediocre. Here is what I would put forward as a broad itinerary: For sight-seeing, we would have to go to the Mt Washington Overlook, while very cliche, it is the best view of the city you can get. For nightlife, I would have taken my guest to Brillobox, which sadly closed due to the pandemic (RIP). Not sure where else I would want to go, really. Otherwise, we would go on a hike in Frick Park, check out BOOM Concepts for some art, stop by Senseless for the best vintage streetwear you can find, and probably get a slice at Spak Bros Pizza. All three of those are on the same block too! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I were to dedicate my shoutout to one organization, it would be the gallery/incubation space BOOM Concepts in Pittsburgh, who not only hosted my first gallery exhibition, but who have also provided incredible community, support, and mentorship early in my artistic career. They also are one of the few spaces that can overcome my homebody tendencies and get me to leave the house and just experience some community and art in person.
Instagram: @forlornmoonclothing | @stew_frick
Other: Tik Tok: @forlorn_moon
Nicolette Kalafatis (Painting Portraits), Riley J Benson (edited portraits, head off and mouth pulled)