Rhiannon Faith is the lady behind Dead Peaceful, a project that specialises in hand painted denim jackets that feature bright colours, witchy vibes and girl power slogans.
Rhiannon is incredibly passionate about the LGBTQIA+ community and women empowerment, and says the jackets that boast those messages hold a special place in her heart.
She uses glitter, paint and other materials in her work and says if people feel empowered and more like themselves when wearing her pieces, then she's a happy gal!
Read how she started this project and what is to come next below.
RHIANNON FAITH - DEAD PEACEFUL
13th June 2019
Did you do any creative courses or study before starting this project?
I have always been creative and loved art, and having my artistic mum encouraging that definitely helped me. I was good at school, so felt I had to follow an academic pathway. I went to University and studied Psychology, then did a post grad Education degree. Straight from University I got a high school job and taught English and Psych for three and a half years before quitting. Most people that have known me for a while say they kind of knew I wouldn’t follow a traditional ‘professional’ pathway, but it took me a little while longer to work that out.
Is this project a side hustle or are you hoping to turn it into a full-time job?
Dead Peaceful is actually a pretty new venture. I only started her up in October of last year, and even then, I kind of fell into it. My mum asked me to paint her a cat in space on an old denim jacket she had. She probably just wanted to give me a little crafty project to work on, because I was not working in order to focus heavily on my mental health. Now, I’m pretty content making jackets for people and working part-time at Lush. I’m making people happy, and that’s the goal really.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I draw inspiration from pop culture; I’m definitely a child of the internet age. Movies, television, books, music, and all that jazz. Whatever I am obsessed with at the moment finds its way into the designs. I also really love animals, so there tends to be a lot of cats and crocs appearing.
My first love was Charmed, the television show. My mum made me my own Book of Shadows and everything. I think that put me on my 90s witch aesthetic path. I love all that kind of stuff, and anything Halloween-y and spooky (I was a MySpace emo kid after all, haha). My whole family love witchy vibes actually. In my mum’s house there is a library room which is styled like something from Hogwarts. It’s pretty rad.
What kind of materials do you use?
The jackets I paint on come from two sources: either I buy them from op shops or private commission customers can bring their own. The thrift shops I buy from support causes I believe in, and buying second-hand reduces fast fashion production and waste. It’s hard to be ethically perfect, so I just do my best and continue to look for better sources of other materials like the paint and embellishments (e.g. sequins, fringing, pom-poms). I often find things like this while op shopping, but otherwise use craft stores. My mum also has a huge collection that I raid every time I’m at hers.
What is the best lesson you have learnt through this project?
That’s good question. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve learnt anything that I didn’t know in some way before. Dead Peaceful has just proven things to me, really. For example, there are such big, bad things in the world, and often it all seems so overwhelming and hopeless, but it is still okay to find joy in simple ‘trivial’ things. Yeah, a glittery jacket isn’t going to fix the world, but it can make one person happy, empowered and feel more like themselves and that is an amazing thing.
I have also learnt that picking the right brush is important and that art supplies are very expensive.
Tell us why you’ll find so many badass feminism slogans on your designs?
Look... I love glitter and kittens and bubble tea, but boy oh boy is that existential dread real. I spend a lot of time thinking about my place in the world, and the world more generally too. The world is a scary place and it’s pretty hard to work out exactly where I, as a queer woman, belong and what I can do to help others. For me, feminism provides a way of looking at that problem and it provides a lot of answers too. I guess because I spend so much time thinking about things like that, it follows that it appears in my designs.
The designs I make that have a social justice focus do hold a special place in my heart. They definitely have a little more of me in them. I painted a camo print jacket with rainbow typography reading ‘LIKE A GIRL’ last year. It sold to a teacher in Adelaide that went on to hold an entire festival of events around this concept of fighting like a girl, and what it’s like to live in this world as anything other than a cisgendered man. That was pretty powerful.
I think it’s a brave thing to be unapologetically yourself, and wearing your identity so obviously on your clothing can be part of that. It is for me, at least. I’ve grown up sticking patches onto things and hoarding all the little pins I could find. It’s a way of saying to everyone ‘yeah, this is something I believe in, this is who I am’ and it’s a way of be proud of that.
Has there ever been a moment that you felt proud of yourself for the work you have done?There are lots of moments during this project where I’ve literally sat down and had a little cry about how well something has worked out. I’m very emotional like that haha. Some of the jackets in my range help not for profit Australian charities because I donate 20% of the sale to them. For example, a few of my cat designs help Animals Australia, my honeybee design helps Save The Bees Australia and, every childrens jacket sold I will donate 20% to The Pyjama Foundation. I am super proud to be able to help and donate to these organisations.
Name another local creative that you draw inspiration from or who inspires you.
Adelaide has the most amazing art scene! I didn’t really realise that until I started to network and get to know more people. My favourite person to talk about is Bruce, also known as Bluey Boronia, he owns and runs a small store in Topham Mall called Perch. It’s where I was first stocked and he is literally the reason Dead Peaceful got off the ground! Bruce is such a huge advocate for local makers, particularly queer artists. He is supportive, encouraging, and is just an amazing human. It doesn’t hurt that there are often doggos hanging out in store with him too! Perch stocks lots of local artists and makers, as well as some of the most soulful from around the globe.
Where can we find your designs?
The best way to find my work and get in touch is through my Instagram, but I sometimes have some jackets with reduced pricing on my Etsy (deadpeaceful.etsy.com). I am stocked in Perch (Topham Mall, Adelaide).
What is next for you?
Right now, I am working on a private commission, but I’m very much taking Dead Peaceful as it comes, however I would love to collaborate more. Melbourne based illustrator Julia Pratt and I just finished a cool project, and Adelaide based embroidery artist The Handmade Creative and I are cooking up a couple of special things too.
I am running a workshop for children on October 9th for Norwood Public Library where kids will bring their own jackets and we’ll paint them together, it’s going to be so cute. And, a couple of rad Adelaide girls and I have started Write Club – a writers’ group for women, non-binary people, etc. Find us at facebook.com/groups/writeclubadl.
Get in touch with Rhiannon to find out details for her workshop and Write Club via her Instagram page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.