ALL SEWN UP: Art projects, baking, Marie Kondo-worthy cleaning — many started their days of self-isolation with lists of must-do activities that quickly dissolved into hours of Netflix and Instagram. But that was not the case with photographer Chris Makos. He recently reached into his memory banks and returned to sewing photographs, while squirreled away in his country studio.
Growing up watching his mother sew on her Italian Necchi sewing machine, Makos said he was always fascinated by how you could take two things and with just a bit of sewing make something new. After practicing the technique with paper as a boy, Makos started sewing together photographs in 1976.
A former studio assistant to Andy Warhol, Makos shared the technique with the Pop artist. Warhol bought a Bernina sewing machine to keep at it with the help of Makos’ friend Michele Loud, who sewed together most of the photographs. Warhol continued to make sewn photographs until his death in 1987.
Makos explained why he first shared the idea with Warhol: “He needed something new to do with his photos. I thought it would be a perfect fit, because Andy was all about multiples.”
Makos has stitched together various personalities including Man Ray, David Hockney, Liza Minnelli, John Lennon, Jean-Michel Basquiat and others. Done with cotton threads, the “Sewn Photos” are from Makos’ early days of proofing larger silver gelatin prints. “I never thrown away the small proofs, so I now am revisiting them, and am making them into new works.” he said. “The quarantine has really made a lot of us look inward, and find new ways of finding ourselves.”
Makos’ series of sewn photographs are being sold via Daniel Cooney Fine Art through Friday. He will have an exhibition at Cooney’s New York gallery from Sept. 17 until Nov. 7. Another fashion-themed show there has been extended — Cooney said Wednesday that the exhibition for fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez will now run through the end of August.