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Monday, August 15, 2005

Desert Designs

From what I have been able to piece together, Desert Designs was founded in the mid-1980s by David Wroth and Stephen Culley in Fremantle, Australia, for the purpose of producing and marketing textiles featuring designs by indigenous Australian Jimmy Pike. Culley had met Pike at Fremantle Prison: Pike was an inmate taking art classes from Culley. Desert Designs was a success, Jimmy Pike was released from prison in early 1987, and went on to a very successful art career, becoming one of Australia's most beloved artists. He died in November, 2002.

This is not a Jimmy Pike tie, though; it's by Doris Gingingara (1946-1999), one of two other Aboriginal artists (the other being Clifford Possum) whose work Desert Designs licensed and reproduced on textiles. Her work is the most colorful of the three. This tie features lizards against an abstract background pattern; there is a wonderful rhythm to the colors. (As always, you can click on the picture to view a larger version.)

Sydney-based Rainbow Serpent has several Jimmy Pike Desert Designs ties for sale in their online store, though I can't vouch for how current the website is. It's worth a look, though, as there are a bunch of other neat ties there too.

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