Tree Hugger by Rain Patterson
Hand painted leather jacket by the Cape Town artist Rain Patterson
Title – Tree Hugger
Leather type – Steer hide
Style – Sicilian bootlegger
Paint – Water based acrylics
Approximate size – Men’s Medium
An extract from the artist – “I didn’t know how much I liked this jacket until I tried it on. The leather is soft and the fit is great. Popping the collar transforms it into an article of vintage fashion. I think of Grease and then Mapplethorpe. Being a bit of a romantic I turned to nature for ideas and imagined painting flowers on it.
I then thought of bees and decided I would cover it with bees. I started by painting a couple of bees, but my brush strokes felt uncomfortably rigid. A song by Kimya Dawson called “Tree Huger” which I had recently heard Ian Muller aka The Wizard of Obz play and sing on guitar at Trenchtown came to mind. My favorite lines from the song are “The cat wished that it was a bee” and I thought it would be sweet to translate the song’s friendly, whimsical atmosphere onto the jacket. I found painting this jacket to be a much-needed break from the heavy “academic” painting I experienced at university. Style and humility are coupled to produce a garment for any occasion.”
The leather jacket Rain decided to paint on is made of the highest quality steer hide and is a classic Sicilian cut. The style is reminiscent of a bygone era, bringing visions of cobbled streets, pungent smells of wine and the sun shining through an overcast sky. Rain has paid an homage to the style by using natural colors for his painting and depicting a serene “hive of activity”. The painting also boldly depicts both the title of the piece which is also the lyrics that inspire the painting.