----采访Chrome Hearts设计师及插画家Matt Digiacomo
被访人：Matt Digiacomo & Stephanie Reynolds
Matt Digiacomo是Chrome Hearts的后来人。从小喜欢涂鸦，进入Chrome Hearts之前，他是一位披萨外卖员。如今，除了无比昂贵和沉重的朋克银饰之外，Chrome Hearts的一大标志就是Matt亲手制作的限量版涂鸦夹克。
在采访的空档间，Matt说他最近很喜欢“有种叫Grāpple的东西，Grape和apple通过化学处理后的结合体，它长得像苹果，但是味道是葡萄。”这不是跟Chrome Hearts很像？这个品牌没有一件东西是Chrome（铬）做的，它也没有任何一个心形的产品，但是恰是这种让“不可能”成为可能的态度，成就了这个品牌，也成就了Matt Digiacomo。在洛杉矶，成功说不定就“长得像苹果，味道是葡萄。”
D - Dora Fung
M - Matt Digiacomo
S - Stephanie Reynolds from Chrome Hearts
D: 你在Chrome Hearts工作多久了？
M: 我小时候就认识Richard Stark（Chorme Hearts创始人）。我之前在一个类似的小精品店做类似我现在在Chrome Hearts做的工作，然后Laurie Stark（Richard Stark的妻子及合伙人）对我说，“你来我们店里工作吧”，然后我说“好啊”，三个月后我就出现在Chrome Hearts，没有直接做我现在的工作，不过待了一段时间后他们开始让我一点点从绘画开始积累。所以整个过程非常自然，没有任何做作。
D: 你来Chrome Hearts之前就一直在从事绘画吗？还是主要从Chrome Hearts开始？
M: 我一直喜欢涂鸦，但是从Chrome Hearts开始我才把涂鸦正式当回事。
M: 从开始，我们答应一起做事时，我们就保持挺持续一致的关系。如果你叫我坐在那，然后要求我给你做一件夹克，或者重新设计一件JJ Dean，我不会有任何灵感。但是作为公司的一部分就不同了，他们给我很多创意上的自由度。比如我有个想法，Richard会和我一起把它变成一件Birkin包，然后就祈祷它能卖得不错，不过卖得不好也不要紧。不论怎样我们给自己制订规则，一直保持一种Chrome Hearts的做事方式，然后没人能给我们任何命令啥的，所以这是最棒的部分。
M: 我不知道别的品牌的情况，不过Chrome Hearts和我有挺自然地走到一起的感觉，剩下的就真的很自然地发生了。而不是说一个大品牌联手一个艺术家，然后那个艺术家立刻成了那个品牌的御用画家。Chrome Hearts有很多不同的产品和面向公众的方式，以至于很多它的忠实粉丝根本不知道我的作品的存在。大家说的它的神秘感是真的。
D: 我也逐渐开始意识到Chrome Hearts背后的一整个秘密世界，它有很多不同层面。
M: 100%朋克摇滚，如Malibu的几个乐团，如Surf Punks，20世纪80年代的硬壳朋克，之后又对摇滚乐团Black Flag，Circle Jerks感兴趣。就艺术家来说，我喜欢Raymond Pettibon，他给Black Flag做了好多艺术品，传单和T恤啥的都是他做的。我超爱Jean-Michel Basquiat。也超爱Ralph Steadman和他的Gonzo，他之前是画漫画的，那种你会在周日报纸里发现的漫画。然后他遇见了Hunter S. Thompson，然后他俩做了那个peyote标志。我也喜欢Tim Burton，我超爱Mark Rothko。
D: 你为Chrome Hearts做的第一件作品是什么？
M: 我给Jared Leto的一个巡演做过一个类似实验室服的外套，那个是我第一个面向大众的服装作品。我的第一个正式的系列是给Chrome Hearts Paris做的，所有的都是手工做的，缝也是我缝的，所有都是。那是个13件为一个系列的限量版。所有我做的东西很大程度上是独一无二的，我自己都复制不了。
S: 其实挺神奇的，刚开始他在这里只是做一些小小的插画和涂鸦，他自己会印在Chrome Hearts的长袖运动衫上，然后我之前会接到电话咨询我们的那种涂鸦的款式还有没有货，我们就很困惑，因为我们根本不做那种款式，然后对方会说怎么可能—--他们看到有人穿。然后我们才知道Matt在做那些东西。
S: 他做这些也不是为了营销而刻意策划出的。他刚开始只不过是在Chrome Hearts做些基本的工作，但是由于他有空的时候在创作一些东西，开始博得人们的关注。然后当我们了解到大家的反应时，我们觉得如果有人喜欢你的作品，然后你们互相认识，那没问题，继续做你做的就行。而不是说我们有个很棒的想法，刻意要和这个年轻艺术家合作做出很酷的东西，不是这样的。
S: 我们的市场营销部门当时要调查到底发生了什么，因为我根本不知道我们品牌有这些涂鸦产品的存在，直到我发现是我们工厂这个小孩儿做的。所以对于Matt来说他跟Chrome Hearts的关系发展完全和你说的那种刻意配对完全相反，并且这证明这种发展的过程得到每个在这工作的人的认可和支持，因为大家都一致认为他做的东西不错。
M: 我记得有Jared Leto，还有一个巴黎收藏家，他买过很多我做的东西。我正在准备做我的第四个Birkin包。有时人们来到店里会好奇那些定制款到底是什么，说从instagram上看到过，或者说看到过谁有这款，才第一次了解到它们的存在，而且这些人可是Chrome Hearts的狂热粉。我想做的恰好是不断让别人爱上我做的新东西。如今回首，一切都感觉如鱼得水，我下定决心做那些作品，我就会二话不说做出来，我只是想做我自己而已。
D: 你在Chrome Hearts之前做的什么工作？
M: 来Chrome Hearts之前，我在到处打杂。我在一个Nike概念店工作过，他们当时在做一种定制服务，店里摆着一台能够把图案打印在衣服或者鞋子上的打印机，给人特殊的感觉。我没事做时就喜欢把我的画打印在他们（Nike）的衣服上。在被Laurie发现以前，我给Malibu一家比萨店送外卖，Laurie真的能够预见潮流。
M: Chrome Hearts里的超多人都是这样做起来的。
M: 我现在只对Chrome Hearts的工作感兴趣。我跟他们最近，也被他们感染最多。我也在关注一些年轻艺术家，和他们见面聊，因为他们做的东西挺有意思的。不过说到底，Chrome Hearts造就了我今天的成功。我给他们做的东西越多，对我长久的发展会越好，而且真的能学到很多。
D: 你接触到的新锐艺术家给你什么印象？尤其根据Chrome Hearts的迈阿密分店的一些专门为年轻艺术家设置的展示空间，说说你的想法和见解。
M: 差不多只要有艺术成分的东西我都会参与。我和Laurie走得很近，所以我融入得很多，我不确定占多大百分比，不过我们经常一起构思，然后她去做她想要的，我做我想做的，Richard和Jesse Jo也是这样，我们有很多一流的想法。
S: 刚开始的时候，迈阿密店里放了挺多他的东西的，一层是专门给长期展品设计的，楼上的话，Sean Kelly在那做过展，6817 Gallery的Theo Niarchos也在那做过展。Matt做过相关的布展。
M: 我会说是Commes des Garcons。Hermes有时会让别人设计他们的丝巾，但是Hermes的风格真的不适合我，太法国了。Dover Street Market还有Commes PLAY也不错。
D: 除了美国之外有哪些国家非常理解Chrome Hearts的整个风格吗？
M: 比如Rouge Fashionbook的执行编辑Calvin Luo，我永远不会猜到他会喜欢我们的产品，但是他很喜欢。
S: Matt给我们的Long Island分店做过一个现场绘画的活动。我们以为我认识我们每个店里的不同受众，虽然我们没有真正见过他们。但是亲自去那里体验人们营造的氛围真的大开眼界，那么多不同的人能被他吸引聚到一起是很美妙的事情。
M: 这挺酷的，因为当我不断在我的职业生涯中进步，我以前做的东西就会随之升值，我做的那些夹克就能成为独立的东西。我觉得我在为Chrome Hearts工作的同时，Chrome Hearts也在为我工作。
D: 你在Chrome Hearts的下一步或者下一件大事是什么？
M: 我会立刻拒绝。我100%为Chrome Hearts工作，我不想为任何别的品牌工作。我不想成为产业机器的一部分。我当然非常喜欢很多别的品牌，但是创作方面我只做Chrome的，也许如果能给Vivienne Westwood做创作也不错，不过现在我专注于准备好自己，哪一天机会来了我就能胜任它。Chrome Hearts的环境最适合我现在对设计不断了解、学习。
Interview with Matt Digiacomo and Stephanie Reynolds from Chrome Hearts
By Rongbiao Max Yang
D - Dora Fung
M - Matt Digiacomo
S - Stephanie Reynolds from Chrome Hearts
D: How long have you been working with Chrome Hearts?
M: Almost six years.
D: How did it all come about?
M: I’ve known Stark since I was a little kid. I grew up in Malibu. I’ve always known him even though I didn’t know anything about Chrome Hearts. I was working in this little retail store and did in a sense what I’m doing for Chrome Hearts now. And Laurie was like: “You’re gonna work for me.” And I was like, “Alright cool.” And then three months later I was working at Chrome Hearts not doing what I’m doing now but getting to the point where they started to let me do what I’m doing now. So it just happened really organically without anybody trying. We got this whole hand drawn world in my head started without really doing much.
D: Were you doing hand drawing before or did it come about through the relationship with Chrome Hearts?
M: I always liked to doodle but I didn’t take it seriously until Chrome Hearts.
D: How did your artistic relationship with the Stark family from the beginning develop into what you’re doing today?
M: It’s the same exact thought that we had in the beginning when we said let’s do it. If I sit there and asked to do jackets and redesign JJ Dean, I won’t have much thoughts or anything. But it’s different when I’m part of this company and I have a lot of creative freedom. If I come up with an idea, Richard and I will develop it into a Birkin Bag for example. And hopefully it sells. Or it doesn’t. But we make our own rules, the Chrome Hearts way forever, and no one can tamper with that which is the best part.
D: Is it normal for fashion companies to give that much creative freedom to their artists?
M: I can’t speak for other companies but Chrome Hearts and I found each other in a way. It just happened. It’s not like when some big brand reaches out to some artist, that artist immediately becomes the artist of that brand. You have so many outlets with Chrome Hearts that 90% of the people who love Chrome Hearts never seen I’ve ever done. There’s a lot of mystery in Chrome Hearts.
D: I’m beginning to realize that there’s a whole hidden world of Chrome Hearts. There’re so many layers.
S: A lot of fans of Chrome Hearts like the discovery part of it. They learn new things with every visit to the store. Every person that they meet connected to the world of Chrome Hearts. You get bits and pieces of it that are seen from everybody’s own unique perspective. Even the way Matt described how he started here sounds kind of crazy but that’s how a lot of people started here. You just connect and then the next thing you know you want to do something together and everything slowly reveals itself as you spend more time together.
M: The one thing that you said, the production aspect of it… You become your own business by becoming an artist, when people are looking for you and they want your stuff. So the hardest thing for me is keeping up the demand and being able to accomplish those orders or customization and keep up with the paintings.
D: Do you sell your paintings through Chrome Hearts?
M: I am still an independent artist. Sometimes I’ll put artwork in Chrome Hearts stores and they’ll sell them for me but it’s not the only way.
D: Who are your influences when you’re growing up?
M: 100% punk rock. Malibu bands like Surf Punks, 80s hardcore punk. My interest evolved into Black Flag and Circle Jerks. Those kinds of bands that are a little bit more aggressive in a sense. For artists I like Raymond Pettibon who did all the artwork for Black Flag, every flyer and every T-shirt. I love Jean-Michel Basquiat. I love Ralph Steadman who did all the Gonzo. He used to draw comics, what you would see in the Sunday paper. And then he met Hunter S. Thompson and he gave him peyote which is what we see now. I like Tim Burton too. Everything cartoon and fine art. I love Mark Rothko. I love all kinds of art.
D: Do you think it’s worth it to go to school to become an artist? What would you say to aspiring young artists?
M: What I tell young artists that I meet is just do exactly what you want to do. If you want to go to school, go to school. I never went to school. If I had the opportunity I might have and I probably wouldn’t be drawing the way that I draw. I would be a lot more exact and perfect. It’s a different style. All the people that I look up to didn’t go to school. Raymond used to be an economist. It’s by person. If you want to learn to be like an amazing artist in the sense of being tactical and strategic and understanding all the fundamentals that’s great but that’s not what I want. Same with fashion. I don’t want to know what someone else makes the way they make it. I just want to make what I want to make.
D: What are some ways young artists can get the word out other than instagram and facebook etc.
M: On instagram, young artists today get attention through tagging. Instagram is a great way for sure. I’ve done a lot of great things based off instagram but you just gotta make stuff and if it’s good people will love it. It’s great if you have the opportunity to work for a company, a store, an artist that can get you somewhere. Instagram is just another way. But I also think instagram is good for putting out stuff that is not done yet and I’ve been doing it too. But when you don’t get the response in a sense that you want, it makes you not want to do that anymore. It plays on your emotions. I just look at instagram like whatever. Hopefully it does well but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter because all people are doing is seeing it.
D: What was the first piece that you made for Chrome Hearts?
M: I did a lab coat for Jared Leto for a tour that he was doing. And it was the first look to the public.
S: It was funny because in the beginning when he just started he would do his own little illustrations, doodles on Chrome Hearts sweat shirts. I would get a call from someone saying can I call in that sweat shirt with doodles. And we were like we don’t make sweatshirts with illustrations. They would say they saw somebody had it. That was kind of how Matt began.
M: The first collection that I ever did was for Chrome Hearts Paris. It was before the Jared Leto Lab Coat. It was all hand done, hand sewn by me, everything. It was thirteen pieces limited edition. Everything I do, for the most part, is one of a kind. I can’t even redo it.
S: It wasn’t a marketing thing. He initially was just working at Chrome Hearts. Because of this thing he did on the side, people started to like the look of it. And when we knew how the public would react to his drawings, we decided if someone likes what you do and you’re friends, then go ahead and do it. It wasn’t like we had this amazing idea where we’re gonna pair a young artist with our stuff and it’s gonna be cool.
D: It resonates with me because from the magazine side, we get many emails selling collaboration between brands and artists and they make no sense and they’re very commercial.
M: They’re just trying to bring youth to their company which is great.
S: The marketing department had to find out what was happening because I had no idea about it until I understood there was a kid working for our factory who I didn’t even know. So it took the exact reverse journey for Matt getting to that place which is very nice because it’s a testament that it makes sense to everybody involved just because everybody loved it.
M: I think I’ve done four lab coats for six years.
D: Who are the four for?
M: Right now I only remember Jared Leto and a guy from Paris, a true collector who bought a good amount of my stuff. I’m about to do my fourth Birkin bag. People will come into the store and be like what is that? They say we saw this on instagram and we saw this on this person. And these are people who have been Chrome Hearts enthusiasts for a long time and even they don’t know. What I’m trying to do is constantly excite people with my stuff. Looking back it’s all organic. Everything I do I’m not doing it just because. I just want to be me. And hopefully the customer, the vibe, stays right.
D: What were you doing before Chrome Hearts?
M: Before Chrome Hearts I was working odd jobs. I was working at this Nike concept store. It’s like a retail store. They’re introducing this customization thing. They had this printer that has built-in graphics and you can slide your shoe in there to print it to make the person feel special. What I do on the off time is just print my drawings on their garments. And before that I worked in a pizza shop in Malibu delivering pizzas. Laurie sees trends way ahead of time. She’s supper in touch.
S: Because we are a family company, when somebody feels strongly about something they tend to push and try to nurture it and make it happen.
M: That’s the story of a ton of people here.
D: What interests you now?
M: I’m strictly interested by Chrome Hearts for the most part. They’re the only people I’m close enough with to get inspired by. I’m also meeting young artists because what they do is interesting. But at the end of the day Chrome Hearts made me. The more I can dive into them the better I can be in the long term and really learn.
D: What is your experience observing and talking to emerging artists who created art or art-inspired fashion for the Miami store?
S: The Miami store in the design district was Laurie’s concept. It was important for ourselves to immerse in that community and support likeminded artists and be a part of that movement happening there in that space. So we dedicated one of our floors (it was a two floor building) to being this ever changing gallery space that could behave in a lot of different ways. Actually the whole store could behave in many different ways. There’s this cafe downstairs. We’re always bringing in culinary people who would do different cafe concepts. So this store in and of itself isn’t like any other Chrome Hearts stores in the sense that it isn’t really a traditional retail space. It has the capacity to be every changing. We didn’t do the finishings like the regular Chrome Heart stores would because we wanted it to have the ability to transition at all times. So it almost looks and feels like a gallery. The second floor was always meant to be able to be a home to different gallerists, artists or whoever to come in. It wouldn’t be someone who we didn’t know or trusted the style that we’re going to do it in. We would loan that space for people to do something creative but with our direction.
D: How involved were you with that?
M: Pretty much whenever there is an art component to it. I work really closely with Laurie so I’m involved with a lot. I’m not sure the exact percentage but we bounce ideas back and forth. She’ll go off to do what she wants to do and I’ll go off to do what I want to do. Same with Richard, same with Jesse Jo. We just come up with sick ideas.
S: He does have a lot of art there from the beginning. Downstairs is for permanent art. Upstairs, Sean Kelly has done things there, and Theo Niarchos of the 6817 Gallery. Matt worked with curating.
M: We once did a boat wrapped with T-shirt.
S: The idea of putting art in unexpected objects. Making it accessible in different ways. Hanging it on the wall of a living room, etc.
M: When you buy a painting. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 dollars or a million dollars. Eventually that painting is going into a box. When you go to big museums you don’t know if they’re real or fake because they’re scared to let people get close to it. My idea is that imagine if you walk into a closet that’s all of my clothing thinking it’ll be insane not to put them out there for people to see and touch because they’re pieces of art that people can wear. So I think my primary purpose is to be annoyingly observant or seen in terms of merging art and fashion. Maybe not that annoyingly. Making something so scarce that when people see it they’ll think, “Damn, they did that!” Like that Birkin bag idea we did.
D: Only a handful of collaboration between artists and brands do very well. Whether it’s a fashion person with a strong art point of view or it’s a someone with embroidery. Who do you think actually did it well?
M: I would say Commes des Garcons. Hermes does it with the artwork on scarves. But it’s not really my vibe because it’s too french. It’s not me. Dover Street Market and Commes PLAY are amazing.
D: Any other fashion, object, food collaboration or merges that resonate with you?
D: Is there a country other than the US that really understands Chrome Hearts?
M: Japan. They just understand it. And they wear it right. A lot of people who buy my stuff don’t wear it right but the Japanese wear it with precision, like it’s a part of what they do. They won’t just wear it once and then put it on the rack. I don’t see a lot of my stuff on the street but when I see it it’s done right for the most part. And when we do an in-store event they style perfectly.
D: When you do an event, what’s the crowd like?
S: Such a mix. You wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it.
M: Because of the price point people who buy us range from 20 to 70 in terms of age.
S: Our audience are very precise about their opinions. They’ve done their research.
M: Like Calvin Luo from Rouge Fashionbook. I would never think he would be into it but he’s into it.
S: Matt has done a live illustration for our Long Island store. We think we’re so knowledgable about who our customers are for different stores and we trusted there is a particular audience for different stores but we don’t know them personally. Going there and seeing who that was was such an eye opening thing. We’re amazed that all of these different people are compelled to what he’s doing.
M: it’s not just a monkey show where you’re sitting there and people are walking in and you’re just drawing. They want to talk to you. They’ve been following me since I’ve started without me ever knowing.
S: They buy his stuff for significant events like wedding anniversaries.
M: It’s a cool thing because when I go up my career in the art world, my stuff goes up in values. Those jackets can become their own thing. Knowing that feels like I’m working for Chrome Hearts just as much as they’re working for me.
D: What’s next for you and Chrome Hearts?
M: They keep coming for sure. I don’t like to talk about what I’m doing because I don’t know what I’m doing.
D: It seems there’s no pressure for you.
M: Yes. I’d say what I put a lot of focus into is jewelry. It’s really hard to make jewelry that doesn’t look old or classic. I want it to have a youthful side. To me it’s still difficult because I’m still used to doing jackets. So I’m putting a lot fo time into unisex jewelry. I’m taking the last year off to do jackets but I’m getting back into jewelry pretty strong. Who knows what’s next?
D: Will you do collaboration with other brands?
M: I say no. I work for Chrome Hearts 100%. I don’t work for anybody else. I don’t want to be a part of the machine. I love a lot of other brands but the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do is Chrome and maybe Vivienne Westwood which will be very cool but right now I’m still getting ready so that when that opportunity comes I’ll be ready for it. Chrome Hearts allows me to keep learning and understanding design.