Skrapper: A fashion line that still fights in Spunk and the Downtrodden.

Skrapper: A fashion line that still fights in Spunk and the Downtrodden.

Photography by Peter Ruprecht. Kathie Theofolis and William Quigley.

It’s some time way past noon and I’m looking for the offices of Skrapper deep in Soho. Out of nowhere William Quigley, the designer and current art world fixture since the 80’s comes running out of his loft in tube socks, a brazen Skrapper t- shirt and the feisty look of a boxer who has tasted blood but is about to give some too. Half surprised but silently very intrigued I follow Quigley through the side entrance (which elicits a tale of mad history) and up the elevator shaft until I am finally standing in disbelief in the sprawling loft and overlapping paintings that he calls his quarters…

On the surface –Skrapper, a joint venture between William QUIGLEY’S and his partner Katie THEOFILIS’ is about a look, a clever setting of logos and quixotic images on a well fitted T-shirt. Yet if one takes time to let the words sink and the images waft over your strutting soul you realize that Skraper is in essence a rebellious ‘Fuck you, I know you got money but I’VE GOT SWAGGER AND HEART,’ reaction to the times.

As you settle into Quigley’s loft and cast your eyes on the wide array of slung canvases of half finished works, crayon colored notes, files, cabinets and the airy space wrapped within itself you realize for all intensive purposes that you have entered the personified mind of the designer and creator of Skrapper – Quigley. It’s ironic because the first thing Quigley will tell you is that he’s not an artist. Of course that couldn’t be further from the truth because the truth is he is an artist’s artist. With brooding recollections of past experiences,  of him hanging out with Basquait, Andy Warhol, their discussions, the juxtaposed images of combustion, grief, sorrow, endearment,  spirit sprawling from one canvas, from one note pad to the very way Quigley sits there and regards what he has said you get the distinct feeling that what Quigley is trying to figure out isn’t what he’s going to create but how he is going to create it.

“See these,” he points to the images of Ben Franklin images, “on the surface you know him because you see him on the 100 dollar bill but the irony is when this guy was around it wasn’t about money it was about coming to an appreciation of what one could do, who they could become. And in Ben’s case he became a lot. In the end he was the guy who started printing money- and the place where he printed money is now called the Franklin Mint.”

Quigley on one level is a mad man who is thinking 6 steps ahead of everyone else, his mind jettisoning between historic figures like Abrahim Lincoln who stirred imagination during his times, the real life brilliant madmen that he has mixed with – Warhol, Basquait and the ideas of what he wants to celebrate. In a way what he’s putting forward is the vision of a warrior, of a downtrodden soul who refuses to yield to social dogma but would rather think about the task of parodying society at large but at the same time inspiring it as well.

Katie for all intensive purposes is the collector and manager of Quigley’s rambling and fast throbbing mind. She innately understands what he is driving at and is somehow able to pluck the gems that come out of his mind and collate them into a textural pastiche that has begun to gather traction and an edgy dissonance amongst the downtown set…

As Quigley starts talking about another episode with Basquait Katie pulls out a few designs that have me laughing wildly inside-

Skrapper: A fashion line that still fights in Spunk and the Downtrodden.

  • Ghurron Briscoe

    Hey what I gather from this piece was that substance is first the main ingredient to successfully limning of art, for hertiage and currency!

    Best,
    Ghurron Briscoe