Y H B H S (card catalog) selection 7
Brooks Hudson Thomas of SPECIFIC, Los Angeles
"Inside that magazine I learned about a world that I instantly recognized as home. I learned about Warhol, New York, and nightclubs, fashion, drugs, sex, drag, etc. Most importantly, I learned about A R T."
Interview Magazine, the Molly Ringwald Cover
In 1985 I bought my first copy of Interview Magazine. My family was stationed on Guam. I was 14. I am not sure if I knew who Andy Warhol was yet, or if I only bought the magazine because Molly Ringwald was on the cover.
Inside that magazine I learned about a world that I instantly recognized as home. I learned about Warhol, New York, and nightclubs, fashion, drugs, sex, drag, etc. Most importantly, I learned about art. Everything a little queer military brat needed to survive living on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere.
Things work this way: I learn about a new word, idea or paradigm, and suddenly those things manifest themselves all around me. Suddenly, at 14, still on Guam, I found a world that imitated, or at least aspired to the one on the pages of Interview. I had friends who exposed me to good music and we snuck into Japanese tourist nightclubs, smoked clove cigarettes, wore mousse and vintage clothing. Sounds like a cliche but the high-1980's were happening on Guam because my friends and I willed it to. We did the Molly Ringwald dance like there was no tomorrow.
When you asked me to write on this subject I was out of town. When I got back home and I looked at my books I realized that something that really made an impact was missing and it was that issue of Interview whose cover was graced by Molly Ringwald. I taught myself to draw by copying the images from magazines, like the Matthew Rolston images of Molly Ringwald styled in different 20th C period costumes, and the drawings hung on the walls with the torn out magazine pages. I carried those well loved pages back to California and into adulthood where many of them were destroyed in a flood in my apartment after the Northridge earthquake, and many of the survivors arrived at their final destination in the collages and paintings I made in graduate school at UCLA.
Once again, pulling those old pages back out, nearly 15 years later, something was manifested. I was working on a body of photographic work that I was using in my collages. A friend and neighbor, Raymond Lee, was a photographer and I had heard that he had been a very successful stylist in LA in the 1980's. We were talking and looking at his book, and I was amazed to see those images of Molly Ringwald again. Raymond had done all of the styling for that editorial and many others that I remembered scrutinizing, analyzing for content and trying to glean even a little bit of the magic they possessed.
When I opened Specific early this year I realized quickly that blogs like yours had the same kind of transformative powers. Daily, and even by the hour, new worlds can be delivered to my laptop. The difference is that now I can reach out an end up in the real life of an artist or designer working on the other side of the world within a matter of minutes, not the 15 years it took for Raymond and I to realize the impact his creative work had on my life. I'm not sure how I landed on John-Paul Thurlow's blog: http://johnpaulthurlow.blogspot.com, but when I saw his project I knew that we needed to get in touch.
JP writes about his project like this:
"This is an attempt to recreate cover art for every great magazine and record I own. And with each Cover I take a perfect mass-produced object and turn it into a fucked up one-off, full of my thoughts and feelings."
These are not the serial reproductions that I did as drawing exercises as a teen. With the same tools JP is making something so personal and entirely new. The drawings take my breath away, give me a little bit of wood and make me want to smoke a clove. His Book "Covers" , whose cover is graced by another favorite red-head, Julianne Moore, has just been released in an edition of 100 and I am looking forward to having my copy hand delivered by JP in December.
- Brooks Hudson Thomas.....
Brooks Hudson Thomas runs/owns/curates his jam packed gallery / store/ salon on Beverly Boulevard. It's simply fantastic and a completely absorbing place to spend an hour.....
See you at the Holiday Party this weekend, perhaps?
S P E C I F I C Holiday Party
Saturday December 4th 5-10 PM
7374 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036