Plenty of artists eventually end up in fashion, either through licensing deals or lucrative, long-term partnerships. Look at KAWS, for example; or the estates of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Art and fashion are a lot alike, one could argue — just ask LA artist Matt McCormick, who started in tattooing, transitioned to art and now runs his own clothing brand, One of These Days.
His works on paper and canvas are collage-like, with clear Americana and Western influences — think: horses, cowboys, neon signs, Dallas Cowboys players, cigarettes and cigarette boxes, big hats, Coca Cola bottles, fading sunsets, faraway mountain ranges and so on and so forth. His paintings, dream-like visions of the grit and glamour of American life, incorporate song lyrics and sayings McCormick sources from songs or poems. That's actually how he came up with "One of These Days," he says.
"I’ve always referenced song lyrics as an almost collage-like tool in my work," he says, "[so] naming the clothing project seemed like an extension of that. The album Harvest Moon by Neil Young has always sounded like home to me, and around the time we were taking the brand more seriously I was listening to that album a lot, specifically the song One of These Days; seemed like a fitting way to describe what we were trying to do and the mental place we were operating at."
The song, released in 1992, is a somber ode to old friends, with lucid but quotable lyrics reminiscent of the stanzas he prints onto everything from T-shirts and sweatshirts to sweatpants and bandanas. It's also serves as connective tissue between the two mediums, art and fashion, and, for McCormick, doing both has never felt forced.
"For me, it just fits in with everything else I’m working on or making. The same way I’ll make a book or a film, [it's] just another language to speak with my work," he says. "I’ve always had an interest in using clothing to visually continue whatever narrative was happening in my personal life or whatever subculture I was most connected to, so making my own seemed like an easy addition."
At first, though, despite it being its own spinoff brand, there was little aesthetic separation between his art and the clothing he sold through One of These Days.
"Originally everything we made was a printed item (tees, hoodies, etc.) and the project felt more like merch for my art, which it essentially was," he explains. "At that point I was designing all the graphics, but over time I wanted to pull away from that and grow the graphic language to have it become its own thing."
McCormick hired outside help with the intent of turning One of These Days into a bonafide brand — one capable of existing without his name or his art.
"We’ve been slowly building a great team with Mikey Gallant and Mikol Brinkman (designers), who I work hand and hand with to bring the vision to life. The graphics go between direct reinterpretations of my art to the direction we’ve been moving in where the graphics are part of a storyline that we are following for the specific collections," he explains. The newest collection, Northern Sky, takes inspiration from the landscape, culture and art of upstate New York. "With this side of the graphic story, I’m really aiming to have the pieces be that which could exist within my art."
There are still cowboy motifs and horse references, but both are basically logos by now — a signature element no matter the collection's focus. Beyond the graphic stuff, though, there are impressive workwear-inspired coats, good-looking double knee jeans, weathered chinos, quilted jackets, denim truckers with corduroy collars and a pearl snap shirt. It's the quite the assortment, especially for — although growing fast — such a small brand.
On whether it's all been easy, McCormick says no, but he's happy to be doing it. One of These Days helps disseminate his art to a wider audience (at a more affordable price). The new collection features 52 items starting at $90. Oil on paper? $2,250, at minimum.
"Easy might not be how I would describe it," he says. Switching back and forth can be hard, especially since the brand has distanced itself from the formula of just copying and pasting his art onto blank T-shirts. "There are many days where a clothing rack is wheeled into the painting studio and I have to take the paint gloves off and make callouts on different pieces," he says.
Occasionally, he needs out. He'll leave LA for a private studio in New York. Fasting from fashion is good for his brain, he explains. These trips help him return as a "clean slate" for One of These Days projects.
"The clothing is very much influenced by the art more than the art is influenced by the clothing, but what it is, is just another medium," he says. "Just like taking a photograph or making a sculpture. [It's] an ongoing work."