Jean Claude is a man of many talents; a singer, model, designer and stylist, he pushes the boundaries of music, art and fashion, creating innovative projects through experimental angles which explore and introduce new creative formats, platforms and content - radically re-shaping visual dynamics.
Born and based in Los Angeles, he has worked with models, brands and photographers including Rick Genest, Enfants Riches Déprimés and Josef Jasso - and it was a simple white shirt with the word 'Sex' painted across it, worn by designer Stevie Boi - which helped to propel his wearable art into the fashion consciousness.
Having also lived and studied in London, Jean Claude hails the City's culturally diverse music and fashion scene as a core influencer in his unique aesthetic, helping to define his own visual language.
Exclusively on this website, enter the world of Jean Claude's Tribe....
So tell me about yourself?
I'm an artist and I love to express my mind and soul in every medium possible - music, fashion and contemporary art have interested me for as long as I can remember.
Explain the 'triangle, circle and diamond' symbol which represents you?
The triangle, circle and diamond each represent my passions - triangle (music), circle (art), diamond (fashion). I found myself creatively stuck on which direction to solely focus and I couldn't give up any of the three, so I created a brand (JEANCLAUDETRIBE) which represents each part and created a whole.
It's allowed me to have a voice in the music, art, and fashion industry and I wear white lines under my left eye as a physical representation of the love I have for each symbol. These lines are seen throughout my work, logo, and visual presentations.
Talking of strong visuals - your hand painted shirt with the word 'Sex' across it was worn by Stevie Boi (founder of SB Shades) at NYFW - what was the story behind that piece?
When I moved back to Los Angeles after attending London Metropolitan University, I began to host events for LA based artists to meet, create and network. The morning of one of my first parties I spilled black paint on the white button down shirt I planned to wear that night. Instantly the idea came to paint SEX all over it - the idea of taking a formal white shirt & making a controversial statement with it intrigued me. I wore the shirt that night and images from the event went viral and later on I was asked if Stevie Boi could wear it during NYFW.
|Stevie Boi in 'Sex' shirt at NYFW, 2013|
What's your take on the relationship between fashion and art?
To me without art there is no fashion. Fashion is an extension of the artistic mind. It is the physical representation of paintings, thoughts, movement, & nature. I believe this relationship will be continuous today, tomorrow and in the future.
You've styled Zombie Boy (model Rick Genest), most noted for his Mugler collaborations. You're quite avant garde aesthetically yourself - do you think the industry should take more risks and work with visually unconventional individuals?
When I styled Rick his look was much more unusual than it is today. Over the past two years I’ve seen more fashion houses cast different and avant garde models. It excites me to see models with unconventional looks gracing the catwalk. I hope this increases and becomes more normal every season. The human race is so beautiful, why not showcase diversity?
Diversity is definitely something you seem to champion - do you enjoy challenging yourself project-wise?
Yes, I believe every artist must challenge and push themselves to the edge in order to obtain fulfilment within their work. Your mind must be continuously engaged with new material and opportunity in order to stay fresh and innovative. I’ve seen so much lazy talent gone to waste and it scares me.
So in keeping your mind stimulated, what outside influences inspire you to create?
The majority of my work is inspired by life experiences. There is no better way to deal with a break-up, loss, or success, like expressing yourself creatively. It’s quite therapeutic and has become my own personal escape.
So when you're not escaping, there's a lot of 'meet & greet' in the fashion and music worlds - anyone you've been particularly impressed or intimidated by?
Remembering that we’re all human erases the intimidation factor for me, but I have always been impressed by the talents of Jared Leto. I met him at the launch party of the Ace Hotel in LA and we chatted about my work with Enfants Riches Deprimes and he’s been wearing their shirts daily since last years MTV VMA’s!
|Images © Jean Claude Tribe / Miguel Angel Jimenez|
You modelled for Enfants Riches Deprimes and you've also worked with Josef Jasso who is famed for his hi-voltage imagery. I get the impression you like to work with visionaries who aren't afraid to push the boundaries a little?
I like to work and surround myself with passionate talents both underground and in the mainstream. Josef Jasso is passionate about what he does and it reflects in his work - his energy is inspiring and I crave that when collaborating with other artists.
Tell me about your new 'Collection Zero' fashion line?
When I moved to London at 16 I studied business, contemporary art and poetry at London Metropolitan University; it was there I discovered [painters] Clyfford Still, Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell and I fell in love with their work. I will always remember Motherwell's words about art, 'It's like a life long relationship with a prism in which you love, the different moods, the different nuances and in one sense there's a basic real continuity that never alters.' I found strength in that statement.
I also found strength in black and white and the simplicity of it began to allure me. Without colour and sexual identification, one is left raw and connected to emotion. Collection Zero is that emotion manifested in each medium - music, art and fashion.
And after Collection Zero, what's next?
The music phase of Collection Zero is coming soon and I'm currently in the studio working on a solo EP.
For more info on Jean Claude, head to his official website jeanclaudetribe.com and check out the brilliant 'Intergalatic' from experimental electro-dreamwave duo 3RD Kingdom ft. Jean Claude below.