It was said in less than 140 characters: “We love Vin Servillon’s beautiful paintings of ladies in Marc Jacobs!” tweeted, well, Marc Jacobs. The designer sealed his statement with three heart emojis, and the rest, as they say, is history. Vin Servillon, a former ad man turned fulltime artist, began painting professionally in a hot minute. But the budding artist continues to hone his eminent love for craft, slowly making a name for himself in the fashion industry. Currently based in California, Vin chats with Preview about coming into art late in life and his empowering views on beauty.
How did you get started with your art?
Growing up, I was occasionally castigated for painting on the walls of the house, spilling paint and scribbling with chalk on the hardwood floors. Somehow I found comfort in the chaos. Needless to say, I was a pretty weird kid. That was the start of my love affair with art. I used to paint to pass the time, to get over the occasional bouts of the blues during gloomy winter days. How I professionally became an artist was purely unintentional. I am self-taught.
Have you always been interested in fashion? What about it fascinates you?
To be completely honest, not always. I favor style more than fashion. I think the fashion industry is full of the most creative minds on earth, which is incredibly enticing. I am in awe of all of them, and draw inspiration from what they create. But as the great Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashion fades, style is eternal.” And I could not agree more.
What kind of materials do you use in your work?
I mostly go by “feel,” if that makes sense. Though lately, I have been really into ink and acrylic gouache. I have used chalk, pastels and everything in between. I actually use real blush on my paintings. My mother left a cream blush in my house some time ago, and one day, I decided to use it to give some cheek color to my painting.
How do you choose which clothes to paint?
I usually head to Vogue.com or WWD.com to check out the current shows of the season, or I may be flipping through a magazine or scrolling through my Instagram feed. I just pick the clothes that I think would translate nicely into paint and paper and I go from there.
What was it like having Marc Jacobs tweet you?
I remember the first time Marc Jacobs, the designer, commented on one of my paintings of his clothes—man, I couldn’t stop smiling all day. He has liked a lot of my paintings after that and it gives me the boost to continue what I’m doing. The Marc Jacobs social media team in New York has also been very kind to me. They’ve featured me on an array of social media platforms. I have also gotten a lot of love from Pat McGrath, the very influential British makeup artist; British fashion designer Christopher Kane, whom I actually occasionally talk to; as well as the likes of Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, and some more.
What is your definition of beauty?
To me, beauty isn’t about being perfect. Sure, in all cultures there is a standard of beauty which is the norm for what is perceived as beautiful. But I have always been interested in the imperfections of beauty. How I paint may not be perceived as conventionally pretty because I think that’s not what it should be about. To me, beauty is a measure of emotion, and it’s eternally subjective.
You have some Basquiat in your feed. It's cool that you find inspiration in his radical, abstract work, though your work style is very high fashion.
Yes, I have always been a fan of Basquiat. Artists like him make me push myself more, to go “beyond the lines,” as they say, to not be scared of making mistakes on paper or canvas. I try not to be too precious about every painting, I think it loses its soul when I do. I am also a huge fan of Banksy, Takashi Murakami, Jackson Pollock and Egon Schiele.
Are you working on any major projects as of the moment?
I am currently working on a number of commissioned works. I am planning on experimenting with a new style soon with the new fashion season looming. I am also working on some other things that I really cannot share with you as of the moment even if I really want to. Stay tuned!
This article was originally published in the October 2016 issue of Preview Magazine.