Consider this project an eclectic mixtape, but rather with music, it’s focused around imagery. So what started off as drawing commonalities between the gradient background of a Genghis Khan portrait and an image from a 1996 Issey Miyake runway show began my project to juxtapose images that are not always necessarily similar in subjects, but have links in their coloring, shapes, and moods evoked. For me, a bulk of my inspirations and visions trace back to fashion; be it a SoundCloud discovery as a potential Balenciaga soundtrack, or a DMV line-up as an imagined setting for a shot by Mario Sorrenti for Vogue Nippon editorial. I wanted the worlds of my inspirations, be it art, fashion or music to become more interconnected than ever and to create possible mood-boards that my treasured visionaries may have used when creating the very works that are now an integral core of my aesthetic vision.
1) “Vania showering in Balenciaga scuba dress” by Dennis Schoenberg for i-D (2003) x “Man in shower in Beverly Hills” by David Hockney (1964)
Flipping through a copy of i-D magazine from 2003, I landed on an editorial that was uncanny to a copy of a painting I own by the name of “Man in Shower in Beverly Hills”. The painting showcases an ambiguous nude man lurched in an aquatic hued shower, but unlike the i-D piece, David Hockney’s painting lacks a body hugging Balenciaga wet-suit x mini-dress hybrid.
2) Genghis Khan by unknown x Issey Miyake spring/summer show (1996)
A Genghis Khan portrait used in a high-school project complimented an Issey Miyake look comprised of light pink and sorbet orange opal-inspired fabrics, with further shared attributes between the pink flesh undertones in the Genghis portrait and the colors chosen by Issey to bring his Japanese-futurism vision to life.
3) “Sports Illustrated” by Paulo Sutch for Dazed & Confused (1997) x “Blue Nude” by Pablo Picasso (1902)
A prime example of late 90’s fashion photography, and a doleful Picasso nude created at the height of his “Blue Period” in which he painted solely with monochromatic shades of somber blues. A modern interpretation of subtle sensuality, the photograph featured in a 1997 issue of Dazed & Confused draws on the arched posture depicted by Picasso, but re-envisions the painting with a latter-day twist by commanding attention to an exposed thong.
Two childhood forces collide: Audrey Marnay and Björk. Why I decided to combine the two photos goes beyond the obvious (the heavy orange tones that highlight Audrey and Björk’s pale complexions), but it is because both women represent personal beacons of fashion and music. Audrey has been a highly revered model by me for many years, and Björk’s music has resonated with me from a young age, making the pair essential formative influences.
Both contemporary artists, Richard Butler-Bowdon and Le1f use their abilities to challenge their audience’s ideas of diaspora in their respective fields. The two use their artistry to communicate narratives as Black artists, with Butler-Bowdon’s assertions channeled through portraiture and Le1f using rap and video production.