Al Baio is a painter, blogger, and backpack historian. She works in the art world, makes her own work, and maintains a blog documenting the packs of New Yorkers. Even while we walked down the streets of chinatown, talking about backpacks and Al's past love affair with blue hair, she was compelled to chase down a few people sporting interesting sacks. Al dresses from a place of deep conviction and makes pastels look thoroughly conceptual.
Sarah: Hi Al! So I know you have very strong style opinions (so don't sugar coat anything for me), name three things that you would never be caught dead in.
Al: Velvet anything, velvet everything, a fedora.
Sarah: Color is very important to you, and your approach to it is both methodical and passionate. What draws you into a new phase of color? Does a color in your wardrobe bleed into your paintings? What is the difference emotionally between wearing all purple and all pink? What about all black?
Al: Usually a new backpack will usher in a new phase of color. For me, color is a language with no concrete definitions. The same color means something different from person to person. I'm more interested in exploring the associations that come out of two-color pairings, but I can tell you that when I see all purple I get hungry because I immediately think about purple Flintstone's push-up pops.
Sarah: Who/What are your three greatest style role models? Including paintings, locations, artists, films, etc.
Al: Mickey Mouse forever, Frakenberry for now, Noble Heart Horse (with a lil' Treat Heart Pig on the side) for later.
Sarah: When is fashion art? When is art fashion?
Al: I could really go for an oversized shirt with Balthus' Thérèse rêvant on it right about now.
Sarah: Do you ever regret past fashion choices, or is it all a process?
Al: I wore overalls everyday from 3rd grade to 7th grade. These days, I own multiple pairs of lederhosen. You do the math!
Sarah: If you had to design a uniform to live and die in, what would it look and feel like?
Al: I'm wearing a purple Calvin Klein boilersuit with a pink backpack right now. I'm ready to die.
Sarah: Why is a backpack superior to a purse? What does this say about culture?
Al: HANDS FREE=STRESS FREE. I have shingles, I need all the help I can get (pain is in the purse). It says nothing about culture.
Complete the following. Sometimes I feel I am a symbol for positivity, if I were a food I would be a petit four, and if my life were a film it would be The Red Balloon.
Al wears Dusen Dusen available in the SHOP