Author: Clodagh Norton

Feature Story
October 26, 2018

\\ Gabriel and Valentina Hernandez, Co-Founders of PORTRAIT Eyewear

Framing the artist
in you

PORTRAIT’s close proximity to the creative arts is based on a reflection of the unique character of the wearer as well as finding inspiration in artistic values and concepts and working with emerging artists.
Co-Founder Valentina Hernandez explained the relevance of the artistic context to 20/20 Europe.

Q: How have the two artist collaborations – with Soey Milk and Esther Ruiz come about and what does each one involve?

A: From the beginning, PORTRAIT has worked with artists to promote the collections and business values. As a brand, PORTRAIT not only gets inspiration from art to develop its collections but also dedicates each shape to an artist or art movement of the past.
The campaign, which is transversal to all our collections, has been conceived as a channel of endorsement for individuals who deserve to be recognized beyond their direct point of contact - people whose experimental and original work brings meaning to society, so often overwhelmed by beauty and behaviour standards and always worth challenging with new models of social responsibility. Our brand expresses the following desire: “PORTRAIT Frames the Artist in You”. Our aim was originally to put the brand in the position of the observer, while the wearer is recognized at the centre like a work of art; based on each person’s uniqueness, PORTRAIT “frames them”, essentially without imposing itself.

Q: Explain the origins of artist Soey Milk’s work and inspiration.

A: Soey Milk, recently introduced within PORTRAIT’s art crew, was born in 1989 in Seoul, Korea and moved to Southern California in 2000. Her first dream was to become a ballerina but after discovering painting, it quickly became her path. Having graduated at the Art Center in Pasadena, California, Soey Milk has found a strong identity over the years, and is currently well recognized for her beautiful pure porcelain faces and women’s portraits, that take inspiration from her S. Korean heritage. Her paintings and drawings are refined and usually feature hyper realistic women with chaotic, abstract backgrounds. For Soey Milk, beauty is interpreted through an evident meticulousness and care for detail as well as an accomplished use of colour. 

\\ Artist Soey Milk

Q: And Esther Ruiz? Can you also describe her art concept and how you found a link with her?

A: When searching for artists, we go through a deep research process that requires time. We select individuals who resonate with the brand’s aesthetic and innovative values. Having recently introduced our third collection, Neon, part of our search for artists was filtered by the Neon Art discipline. In our last trip to Los Angeles, we took the chance to search for artists in this field. We were lucky to find Esther Ruiz, whose work is particularly in tune with our latest collection, characterized by the use of round shapes, colour (and how colour behaves through light), reflections and poetry.

\\ Artist Esther Ruiz and one of ther works. 

Q: Comment on your sunglass style Lori, inspired by Lori Hersbergher, an artist from Zurich?

A: Lori Hersbergher’s Neon Art is a relationship game: between light and objects, between the light and its reflections within a surrounding, an environment. Lori Hersbergher’s Neon Art is a living poem that illuminates everything it surrounds, playing with spaces and volumes. The feminine style Lori by PORTRAIT is dedicated to Lori Hersbergher. The shape plays with colour and light. The colours and their reflections, together with the sinuous lines of the frame, illuminate the wearer’s face framing the features.

Q: Can we expect PORTRAIT to continue this direction in link ups with the arts world. Please comment on it and how it is part of the DNA of your brand.

A: Art has been - and will definitely continue to be - at the core of the brand’s identity and inspiration. Our shapes are the result of an experimental process that resembles that of artworks themselves. In other ways we also recognize special artists of the past and the present: some of our frames are named after them or remind us of a movement of the past: Frida, Lori, Eliasson, Starman, Das Model and 1984. We see this as an opportunity to celebrate particular artists who have had an impact on contemporary culture, shaping it into a more sophisticated, meaningful one.

Q: Can we expect new PORTRAIT designs at SILMO?

A: Yes! We are extremely excited. Our new releases confirm our experimental direction and a profound passion for eyewear and art. Entitled Glitch, the new line is inspired by the glitch art form and the random beauty that comes from digital and analog interferences, unexpected but deliberate, an aesthetic “interruption”, with a very particular and striking appearance.

Q: Is it right that the influence of art is also visible in your stand designs for the fairs?

A: At MIDO this year our booth took inspiration from Robert Montgomery’s work, recalling his famous light poems and luminous billboards in the background. The combination of industrial design and neon lights gave it the fascination of an art installation, recalling the brand’s artistic vocation. Iron, neon lights and words as well as illuminated signs and visible wires were some of the elements that recreated a Montgomery-like landscape in the PORTRAIT booth space.


\\ Lori Sunglasses by PORTRAIT

\\ The stand at MIDO 2018, inspired by Robert Montgomery

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