Queer aesthetics and renaissance motifs: Marimekko showcases LGBTQIA+ artists for Pride

"There is only one strength—love." This Pride Month, the words of Marimekko founder Armi Ratia will be vividly reimagined through art installations by Zander Schlacter and Emma Thomas.

Marimekko has a long history of collaborating with contemporary artists. To celebrate Pride Month 2024, it felt only natural to continue this tradition with visual artists from the LGBTQIA+ community. Our store windows in New York City and Helsinki will feature installations by local creators, serving as a powerful reminder to all visitors, friends and passersby of Armi’s enduring message. 

Meet the artists

Zander Schlacter
An artist and designer based in Brooklyn, NYC, Zander Schlacter, works primarily within the medium of textiles. His work is characterised by eccentric surface designs and complex repeat pattern geometry, rendered in bold, adventurous colour combinations. The ornamentation in Zander’s work draws from sources throughout histories of craft, design and queer aesthetics, which are remixed and synthesized into a playful and zany vibration for the present day. His artwork and textile prints have been applied to sculpture, home décor accessories, bedding, wallpaper, apparel, books and ceramic tiles.​ Find Zander’s artwork for Pride Month 2024 at Marimekko New York, 97 Wooster St., NYC. 
Zander Schlacter

“I sought to capture the boldness of spirit and the handmade, human touch that can be felt in so much Marimekko design.”

Photos by Mecca Allah

“I’m open to evolution in my practice and seeing where my journey takes me,” he declares.

Zander’s community plays a pivotal role in his artistic journey.

“I’ve always been an artist. My parents are creative, crafty people, and I was often making stuff as a young kid,” Zander reflects. His teenage years saw a burgeoning interest in fashion and the transformation of thrifted clothing, eventually leading him to study textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“My community consistently reminds me why art is so important through their commitments to their respective practices,” he says.

Over the past two years, Zander has taught surface design courses part-time, an experience that has profoundly influenced him.

“My students are willing to take exciting risks and ask hard questions in their work. They challenge me to think more critically about my own opinions as an artist and designer and to hone my personal voice and ethos as a maker.”

When commissioned to create a window installation for the Marimekko store in SoHo, Zander delved into the Marimekko print archive, studying its colour, scale and form.

“For this project and in my practice more generally, I am influenced by Marimekko’s aesthetic and brand history,” he explains. “I sought to capture the boldness of spirit and the handmade, human touch that can be felt in so much Marimekko design.”

Reflecting on his creative process on this installation, Zander shares, “I began my process thinking about connection to the natural landscape and the beautiful interconnectedness of our world. This led me to design an idyllic, dewy, whimsical landscape. It’s a place where a rainbow could occur at any moment. I wanted it to look like the feeling of falling in love.”

Discover Zander’s artwork for Pride Month 2024 at Marimekko New York, 97 Wooster St., NYC.

Photos by Mecca Allah
Emma Thomas
Emma Thomas is a Finnish-American visual artist. She graduated with a BA in Fine Arts in 2019 and has since been living and working in Helsinki. Her main focus is painting and drawing on paper, but during the pandemic, she began experimenting with textiles. The themes in her work are heavily influenced by Renaissance art, mythology and art history. Using classic themes and motifs, she portrays her own reality as a woman dealing with grief, anger, joy and sexuality in our modern age.​ Emma’s artwork for Pride Month 2024 will be exhibited at Marimekko Aleksinkulma, Aleksanterinkatu 50, Helsinki.
Emma Thomas

Marimekko is an official partner of Helsinki Pride

At Marimekko, we want to empower people to be happy as they are and to express their personal style. Our spirit has always been grounded in fairness, equality and inclusivity. Once again, Marimekko is a proud official partner of Helsinki Pride.

Helsinki Pride Week takes place from June 24–30, 2024 with the parade taking over the streets on Saturday June 29. In New York City, Pride Month culminates on June 30 with the march beginning at 25th Street and 5th Avenue.

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