Who is Boyarde and why are people paying her thousands to draw on their designer handbags?

Robb Report sits down with one of the hottest artists on the planet.

By Natasha Lee 29/04/2018

It’s hard to qualify an artist like Boyarde.

Known for her luscious pop art which she carefully paints on designer handbags, the eclectic Brit somehow manages to straddle the precarious line between designer and artist ever-so-seamlessly.

The artist, who is legally-named Boyarde, has used some of the biggest names in the fashion world as her canvass – including Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga.
The 37-year-old told Robb Report that many of her creations are now custom orders, with some clients prepared to pay thousands to have her leave her mark on their accessories.


Boyarde is one of the hottest names in the art world at present. Photo: Instagram/boyarde

Boyarde’s latest venture has seen her join forces with T-Galleria by DFS, Sydney, to creature a unique and quirky installation in the lobby of their newly renovated store. The exhibit features classic Australian slang merged with quotes from classic movies.

Her M.O. may seem a strange choice for a artist who originally started out by using women’s bodies as her canvass in order to celebrate the female form.
But, in an interview with Robb Report, Boyarde insists her art is merely an extension of her raison d’être – female empowerment.


Boyarde hosting a workshop for exclusive DFS clients in Sydney. Photo: Kai Leishman

When did your fascination with painting on things other than a canvass take hold?

I used to live in Belize for about five years and I wanted to photograph the local women, but nude photography wasn’t allowed there. So, I started using their naked body as a canvass. It worked, because the paint acted as a kind of armour.
I just wanted to bring out their ‘inner godess’ – that is and has always been my core message. Plus, I have never been one for painting on paper – it has always been a little bit boring for my liking.

Explain your style – why Old Hollywood pop art?

I am completely obsessed with the golden age of Hollywood. My divas that I love painting – they are all based on the Hollywood diva. If only everyone in the world could have a Lauren Bacall raised eyebrow. The era is utouchable. In my art I try to take elements of that and bring it out into the reality of today.


A classic Boyarde featuring Audrey Hepburn. Photo: Instagram/boyarde


The engrossing display featuring Boyarde’s work in the lobby of the T-Galleria by DFS store in Sydney. Photo: Kai Leishman

When you have a client who demands you paint something one way, but artistically you don’t feel their idea will work – what do you do?

Usually, I will get my way (laughs). I have the artistic banter. I usually say ‘I feel if you do it this way than it will be better for the narrative’. It works.

Your recent collaboration with T-Galleria DFS, Sydney, has seen you integrate quotes from classic Hollywood movies with Australian slang – how hard did you find the entire project?

I was just in my element. I love taking things from popular culture, things that already exist and have a narrative, and adding a whole new element. Take a quote from Casablanca – you read it and your brain goes to that place and it associates with the actors and the actresses. You remember how you felt when you watched it for the first time.

Then I’m coming in and slapping on a whole new layer. The idea is to make you smile. To have fun and to be mischievious. Of course, I had to do some serious research. I had to contact a few friends in Australia as I didn’t want to sound condescedning. But everyone said Aussie’s are so chilled out and easy going and I’m finding that to be very true.

To learn more about Boyarde’s latest collaboration with T-Galleria by DFS visit www.dfs.com.
To order your own Boyarde visit www.boyarde.com.

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