With the advent of photomontage in the 1910s, Germany’s Dada artists created a new way to provide visual social commentary, using imagery to have their say on everything from feminism to fascism. It’s a powerful tradition that’s being playfully reinvented for today’s fashion-obsessed digital audience by American artist Sidney Prawatyotin.
More lighthearted than the work of his Dada predecessors, Prawatyotin’s Instagram account @siduations brings runway looks into real-world scenarios: there’s a model in Vetements stomping through security at LAX, for example, and Marc Jacobs girls in hats on the London tube. At Paris Fashion Week, Donald Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway twins with Vogue Korea’s Jiyoung Kim in matching red, white, and blue Gucci jackets. “She’s taking notes on that Gucci look,” explains Prawatyotin. After working in public relations in New York for 15 years, a move to Los Angeles awoke a sense of creativity in Prawatyotin.
He decided to teach himself to use photo-editing software, creating visual mementos that he’d send to his friends back east. “Instead of sending an emoji of a happy face, I would create something for them to show them that I was happy,” he says. “It was a different means of communicating in place of talking or texting, and I had a lot of fun creating those images.”
As his skills in Photoshop and various editing apps developed, Prawatyotin decided to start an Instagram account as a way to showcase his portfolio. Riffing on pop culture, current affairs, and trends, Prawatyotin’s creations are inspired by whatever’s going on in the world. “Fashion is constantly changing,” he says. “It’s hard to figure out what it is that I’m going to do today because there’s so much news out there and I want to stay relevant.” He’s since landed gigs for the likes of Opening Ceremony and Elle UK, where he put his spin on their Fall 2017 Trend Report. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter books, Vogue asked Prawatyotin to take on the role of Sorting Hat and put designers into a Hogwarts House. Numbers-wise, one of his most successful images to date is a March post of It-model Bella Hadid carrying a tray of devilled eggs out of a Balenciaga boutique. “People tend to like Bella, or devilled eggs,” Prawatyotin says.
While some may read Siduations as a Zoolander-esque parody of the superficial side of the fashion world, Prawatyotin says that’s never been his intention. Rather, he wants to celebrate the fantasy of fashion and showcase its beauty in more down-to-earth situations. “Why is it funny that you see this person wearing it to school or wearing it to the office or wearing it to a McDonald’s even. Why can’t that happen?” he asks. “I just put models and high fashion in real-world situations. And you can see what kind of connection I’m trying to make with that. I’m trying to bring the worlds together.”