Using editorial images from other photographers as well as his own, Pablo Thecuadro puts images together by hand with a cutter.
In a statement about his work, Thecuadro says: “The collages I make express the duality in the human being, who we want to be versus who we really are and what part of us we show to others. ‘Collage Art’ is a never ending process, you can put as many images you want together over and over again.”
“The collages I make express the duality in the human being, who we want to be versus who we really are and what part of us we show to others.”
The new Netflix series The Get Down is a mythic retelling of the origins of hip-hop, folded into the stories of young Bronx natives Zeke, Shaolin, Marcus, Boo-Boo, and Ra-Ra in 1977. The series revolves around the influence of the legendary artist Grandmaster Flash, who served as a consultant on the series, but if Flash’s contributions to the art form move the story of the show forward, The Get Down’s style is all thanks to its executive producer and ringleader Baz Luhrmann.
As with any Luhrmann project, the visual style of The Get Down is of utmost importance to making the story become the kind of spectacular fantasy he prefers. Once his longtime costume designer Catherine Martin stepped into the role of executive producer, Luhrmann turned to Jeriana San Juan to fill this crucial role in the show’s development.
San Juan has worked as a buyer and costume designer for series like The Americans and Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll, and she designed many of the costumes for the The Get Down herself. Her work is one of the most distinct elements of the show’s appeal, with much of its eclecticism coming from her picks of items like Bruce Lee belt buckles, fur-lined vests, and tube socks. She called in to MTV to talk about short shorts, polyester, and working with both Grandmaster Flash and the grandmaster of flash, Baz Luhrmann.
MTV News: Was there anything you tried to do to differentiate the young characters in the show from the adult world around them?
Jeriana San Juan: In many ways, it separated itself on its own because what youth culture was wearing at that time was so specific. It really was a t-shirt and jeans and sneakers kind of look. The thing that presented a challenge originally was really finding the specific identity of each of the characters and figuring out how they were really going to look different from one another. I really wanted to create an iconography behind each of the characters, so that when you saw Boo-Boo as opposed to Ra-Ra, you really saw their look as distinct from one another.
How did collaborating with younger actors influence the characters’ looks?
San Juan: I think the greatest thing was actually working with Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, since they were able to say exactly what was cool during that time. We were doing the archeology of what was the most expensive sneaker and what was the most affordable that most of the kids were wearing to really find exactly the landscape of fashion at the time. Our show’s kids weren’t alive in 1977! So it was actually more of a process of collaborating with the OG originals, getting all that information and then translating it to this young group of actors who really had no social context for what was happening at the time period and what their character would be wearing. So once I had helped identify and created the look and identity of each character, it really was a close process with the actors to adjust to the difference in how things fit back then and how things looked back then. They very quickly grew into the look of the characters, and they helped embody the characters.
Putting shorts on Ra-Ra for example, because of his long legs — that look is his signature and it’s iconic to the late 1970s. He’s wearing jean shorts, tube socks, sneakers. And I looked at him and just thought, This is going to look so sensational on you, because it almost made him look like a cartoon character, it helped exaggerate his body and it helped create a more mythological character. Skylan, at first he kind of went, “Oh my god! I’ve never seen my legs so much wearing shorts!” And then only a week later he was going, “I love these shorts, I wanna buy them, I wanna wear them!” Boo-Boo, played by TJ, I put a bucket cap on him with a short-sleeved striped shirt and some plaid pants in his preliminary fitting, and then his eyes adjusted and he saw in the look what was so cool about it. And I said to him, “You’re gonna wear this bucket cap, and you’re gonna be one of the first people in 1977 who starts wearing this kind of look.” And of course, very quickly, this becomes a signature thing to wear Kangol bucket caps with a track suit. It becomes what we think of as a classic hip-hop style. So all of those elements start to be introduced on each of the characters, whether it’s the tube socks, the bucket cap, the leather jacket that Shaolin wears, and all of those elements start to gain momentum and you start to see them as early-’80s style and old-school hip-hop style. All those elements get introduced separately and then start to get styled together.
What was your approach to stylizing the larger-than-life mythology in the show’s design?
San Juan: It was part of my original conversations with Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin that we would try to create an icon in each of the characters and try to push the look of the show to really exaggerate it, but also to remain authentic in contributing to all of the things that were happening in fashion at the time. In order to create that mythology, it really was a process of stepping into the child’s eyes in a lot of ways. I had a conversation with Baz where I had described to him that when we look back at our memories, we sort of amplify things — like colors, you remember brighter than what they were. You remember bell bottoms as being bigger than what they were. So it was about seeing it through the kids’ eyes and portraying that style as a slightly heightened version of what the reality was, and I think that helps to give it a newness and a crispness. It gives it a vibrancy that modern audiences would identify with.
What was Luhrmann and Martin’s involvement like with the costumes?
San Juan: Originally I got involved with the project by way of Kerry Orent, who is one of the executive producers of the show. I was doing another series called Sex and Drugs and Rock ’n Roll with Kerry and he had mentioned that he met with Baz and he was discussing producing this project with Baz for Netflix. I was skeptical, I never thought I would have the opportunity to work with him because I knew that traditionally Catherine Martin was always his production designer and costume designer. So I had a meeting with Catherine and discussed exactly how it would work and exactly in what capacity I would work, and she explained to me that she was stepping into an executive producer position on this project and would be working alongside Baz to produce the show and I would be the costume designer of the series. She explained how we would all collaborate on the first episode together and then I would take the reins and design the rest of the series. And we moved past that plan very quickly, once I understood the realm of what I would be doing, and we just got to talking about Baz’s general creative approach. I got on Facetime with Baz — his assistant was holding up my cell phone and Baz was directing from the other side. And we talked about how everything that you see within the frame is part of the visual canvas, it’s part of the canvas that we see. He explained to me how important composing all of that was for him. It’s not only where that person was in the shot but what clothes were they wearing and what color were those clothes in front of the color of the background, down to what were the colors in the makeup and the hair and how important all of that was to compose together.
To me, it’s how I’ve always approached design for film and television and for stage, so in a lot of ways it was like meeting a creative partner that spoke the same language. We were very much in tune with one another in how we saw the art of costume design. So it was really exciting to me and it sort of went from being a possibility to then me actually being selected to design the project, and I basically passed out because I was so excited. It was an amazing opportunity and not a task that I took very lightly. Baz’s projects are so visually spectacular, and I wanted to honor that and I wanted to honor the time period and telling this story, because it’s really one of the first times this story has been told on this platform. So it’s just so exciting to be a part of this on many different levels.
How coordinated was everything on this show between the different design teams?
San Juan: We were all very much able to collaborate with one another in the early phases of the process, which is something that Baz does very, very well. He brought together all the creatives from the show and the actors from the show and we were all really able to workshop the characters together. By sitting around in a room and discussing the character of Zeke with Justice Smith, we were able to define the kind of books he would be reading, the kind of famous figures he would be looking to as role models and inspirations, and from that stemmed what kind of books were going to be next to his bed, and what his color palette would be that he would be attracted to. Being able to work together as a group on that process really helped to find the characters, to find all the nuances that create a special touch onscreen.
When it comes to fashion, so often what is old is new again—trends and design techniques from yesteryear reworked for today’s style-consciousness. And in the case of Tigra Tigra, the saying has never felt truer. The altruistic brand has been adapting centuries-old Indian textiles and African beadwork traditions into sinuous designs that have garnered a cult following among forward-thinking, global-minded dressers like Solange Knowles. Since 2012, designer Bailey Hunter has been working closely with an Ahmedabad, India–based women’s empowerment NGO cooperative to create silken and hand-embroidered mashroo textiles, which are then transformed into languid pajama sets, wrap dresses, and patterned coats in her Los Angeles studio. Recently Tigra Tigra has expanded its partnerships to cooperatives in Namibia and South Africa. In ethos and aesthetic, the brand is a collision of progressive economic politicis, worldly traditions, and vibrant street culture. And, keeping right in step with the rest of the industry, the line is broadening its reach to include menswear.
Here, Hunter takes us through Tigra Tigra’s collaborative process, from the way artisanal traditions and modern Western culture come together in the brand’s designs to how monsoons influence the final product.
East Meets West
We work between East Los Angeles; Gujarat, India; and Cape Town, South Africa. The majority of my influence comes from these communities. The fabrics are almost all made by hand in Gujarat using traditional techniques like aari and kutch hand-embroidery, leheriya tie-dyeing, and luxurious mashroo silks and khadis. We combine old techniques that the women have learned over generations with a futuristic perspective. I’m very inspired by the way Western corporate branding is taken out of context and interpreted by people around the world. Logos become purely aesthetic motifs and often lose their brand identity—the way I’ve seen Apple logos printed on West African wax-print dresses, or hand-painted Mickey Mouse faces on tuk-tuks.
How to Wear Ancient Fabric for Modern Times? With Sneakers!
Mashroo is actually one of the oldest Indian textile craft forms. The wordmashroo is derived from Persian and its literal meaning is “permitted.” In Islam, it is forbidden to wear silk on the skin. Weavers developed a loophole with mashroo, which has silk on the outer warp of the fabric, but a cotton inner weft—allowing the luxurious look of silk without breaking religious law. Wealthy Hindu merchants took notice of this fabric in the 18th and 19th centuries and Gujarat became the center of mashroo weaving in India and introduced brighter colors and tie-dyed patterns. Today, we are still weaving in Gujarat with one of the last remaining mashroo-weaving families in Patan. The oversize shirt and boxing pant set worn with trainers is one of my favorite outfits and also the way my favorite, Solange, wore her mashroo dress—very simple and elegant.
Say It With Hand Embroidery
The hand-embroidered fabrics are some of my favorite because of the strong presence of the human hand. One of our signature embroideries is the hand-embroidered warli, which was traditionally done as tribal paintings by the indigenous Adivasis of Gujarat. Warli uses a basic graphic vocabulary—a circle, a triangle, and a square—and tells a story of domestic and social life, wishes, and desires. We do a mix of embroideries referencing traditional life with more graphic embroideries referencing current urban life such as “New & Improved,” “Say It With Flowers!” or “Sweet’n Low.”
Monsoon Season Can Dictate the Product
We design all the textiles and develop them closely together. Often times, one of the embroiderers has an idea for an embroidery—it’s all very collaborative. Every piece we produce is unique. Monsoon season even affects the patterns and colors—our upcoming collection has much more washed-out tones and less saturation due to it being developed during India’s monsoon season. The humidity causes longer drying times and more sun-bleaching. The same fabric produced a month before monsoon looks entirely different.
Slow Fashion Straight From Namibia
I met anthropologist Megan Laws through a mutual friend. She was doing her field study in the township of Tsumkwe in eastern Namibia and had been living with the San community for around a year. The Ju|’hoansi San are living in such a remote location—there is not much trade or outside opportunity that passes through, and they have been marginalized quite severely by their own government. Megan was interested in putting together a coop to generate an income as many of the women are highly skilled bead-weavers. We held a workshop together in Tsumkwe to create a line of jewelry from crushed ostrich eggshells and glass beaded bags—which take about a month each to complete.
Author: Marjon Carlos for Vogue.com
TIGRA TIGRA explores the merger between old traditional craft and modern street culture.
TIGRA TIGRA is a partner in a women’s empowerment NGO in Ahmedabad, India. The organization employs over 500 women in the local community. The majority of the women work daily from their homes in order to manage their family lives while maintaining dignity, financial security and self-reliance.
They also work closely with a non-profit organization based in Cape Town, South Africa and are in the process of setting up a women’s empowerment craft cooperative in Tsumkwe, Namibia.
The winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, and the only American illustrator to win the international Hans Christian Andersen Award (in 1970, for his body of work), Maurice Sendak is a visionary figure in children’s literature. Mr Sendak began by illustrating the works of others— including Else Holmelund Minarik, Randall Jarrell, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and the Brothers Grimm. By 1956, with Kenny’s Window, he was creating his own texts as well as illustrations. Also a distinguished set and costume designer for opera and ballet, he has designed productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges and L’heure espagnole, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and Oliver Knussen’s operas based on his Where the Wild Things Are andHigglety Pigglety Pop! In 1983 Mr. Sendak received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, given in recognition of his entire body of work; in 1996 he received a National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America; and in 2003 he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an annual, international prize for children’s literature established by the Swedish government.
Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are has stood the test of generations of children, offering them a gentle reminder that even when they misbehave their parents still love them. Which is why those same troublesome kids grow up to read it to their own children; it’s the secret handshake passed down through the years that gets you through solitary confinement in a small, cluttered bedroom. The Art of Maurice Sendak, the new exhibition at the St. Louis Public Library‘s Central branch (1301 Olive Street) celebrates the life and works of a singularly fantastic children’s author. The show is built around Maurice Sendak: The Memorial Exhibition — 50 Years, Works, Reasons, which includes 50 original works of art by the man himself. In addition to the artwork of Mr Sendak (including a multi panel pice illustrating Macbeth that Sendak created as a school project at age 11) 50 artworks from local and regional artist inspired by Where the Wild Things are also on display at the Central Branch. Family pleasing highlights include a life-size replica of Max’s bedroom (you can lie in his bed and see the jungle above), a sailboat for sitting in and various monsters hidden throughout the library. There are numerous Sendak-related events at multiple branches, so pick up the full schedule when you visit. The Art of Maurice Sendak is open 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (September 5 through October 18). Admission is free. The traveling exhibition moves on to the Boulder CO Public Library starting Oct 30th. Click for future location info of the Sendak exhibit.
Months before his death, the children’s author met director Netia Jones to discuss opera versions of his famous stories (conceptual backdrop art pictured above) Below in an article taken from The Gaurdian, she tells of the extraordinary year:
Gavlak Los Angeles proudly presents a solo show of photographs by artist-model Bunny Yeager (1929-2014), including hand-painted photographs of Bunny, Bettie Page, numerous self-portraits, and images that reveal behind the scene secrets to how she created her work. Born Eleanor Linnea Yeager in Pittsburgh, PA in 1929, Bunny passed away in 2014 in Miami, Florida. The ironic innocence of Bunny Yeager’s pin-up format compositions is palpable in the current pop-historical climate in which pornography is an explosive international industry, with a panoramic range between entertaining and damaging. In such a climate today, Yeager’s work, and even her pseudonym “Bunny,” operate like time capsules from a softer, less harsh, more voluptuous day. Both she and her subjects embrace the performance of a sticky-sweet, hyper-gendered sexuality along with a highly studied, poolside elegance where everyone plays along with full disclosure. What sets Yeager apart is her intentional authorship as a woman photographer in a man’s world of looking at women. The multiplicity of identities she assumed for her herself and her “girls” is itself a lifelong conceptual act, as is the conscious presence of the camera as a second subject or muse. The apparatus is often revealed in her glamour shots, as if to reinforce her authorship as photographer.
Yeager was a model, beauty pageant queen, promoter, author, designer, scriptwriter, wife, mother of two, and a sought-after photographer and artist. Even though socially it was unheard of for a woman of her background to be an artist, she was on the cover of U.S. Camera in 1954, but the headline: “The World’s Prettiest Photographer” points to the contradictory nature of what it meant then to be both model and photographer.
Yeager moved to Miami at 17 where she completed high school and studied photography at The Lindsay-Hopkins Technical College. It was then, in 1954, that she was asked by actress Bettie Page to photograph her. This lead to the famous January 1955 Playboy Magazine centerfold of Page wearing nothing but a Santa hat, launching Yeager’s career as a nationally recognized photographer. Soon after, Yeager began to write “How To Photograph” books, such as her 1957 How to Photograph the Female Figure, publishing thirty books in total.
One piece, which perfectly captures the artist in her practice, is the photograph of blonde bombshell Bunny with a lipstick red tripod, red shoes, and red sweater. Her exquisite left leg points in a pose that is so intentional it is practically contortionist. Her toes pull the camera’s matching cherry red selfie-cord, revealing the subversive nature of the model and artist all at once. Given that fashion photographers were men and models were women only adds to the transgressive tone of this image and of Bunny’s extensive oeuvre of photographs.
Yeager’s books in the 1960s such as How to Photograph Nudes and How I Photograph Myself influenced such artist-photographers as Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. Her work may be viewed within a longer history of subversive self-photographers, from the infamous Countess di Castiglione, known as “la divina contessa,” who authored countless portraits of her face, body, costumes, and legs, over her entire lifetime and career as Italian consort to Emperor Napoleon. Also Vogue model-photographer Lee Miller comes to mind, photographing herself at times through the 1930s, with Man Ray as her muse and vice versa. We may even consider Bunny’s work within the history of women and self-portraiture: Anguissola, Gentilleschi, Leyster, Cameron, and Kahlo. But the glamorous side of Bunny’s projected self and others has masked these important associations. It is as if seduced for decades, we are unable to see past the beauty. We stop in our tracks at bombshell, bunny, and blonde. The discourse ends with pin-up girl. But this is perhaps just the blinding starting point for a conversation about how the human form can be both: mother and model, beautiful and meaningful, innocent and intelligent, experienced and engaging. The many faces and figurative hats (hairdos) of Bunny Yeager are revealed for the first time in Los Angeles.
Bunny Yeager’s work was featured in 2010 at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in the exhibition Bunny Yeager: The Legendary Queen of the Pin-Up, curated by Emily Hetzel and Eric Shiner. In 2012 she exhibited in Miami, Dallas, Berlin, and Bulgaria and published her retrospective book Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: The Golden Age of Pin-up with Rizzoli New York. In 2013 she had her first retrospective at the Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale, curated by Peter Boswell. Her work was featured at Gavlak in Palm Beach in 2014 and her work is represented in Europe by Galerie Schuster Berlin, in Miami by The Center for Visual Communication and Harold Golen Gallery, in Dallas by PDNB Gallery, and in Los Angeles and Palm Beach by Gavlak.
-Lisa Jaye Young, Ph.D.
Bunny Yeager Interview with Tara Solomon of the Huffington Post, October 2012:
Tara Solomon: Your family moved to Florida when you were 17. What are your fondest memories of late-40s and early-50s Miami?
Bunny Yeager: It was like I was in a movie. I’d been a fan of movies all my life growing up in Pennsylvania. I loved glamorous actresses like Dorothy Lamour, or anyone in a sarong or hula skirt. I was in love with the tropics, and found it here in Miami.
TS: You’re credited for discovering Bettie Page, “The temptress of Tennessee” and one of the most famous pinups of her era. What characteristics, physical and otherwise, made you realize she was a star in the making? How would you describe your working relationship?
BY: Our relationship was excellent — I was a director and she was a performer. She did everything I asked her to do. I liked that. I didn’t like models who pushed their poses on me, because they thought they were doing something fantastic, and waited for me to snap the shutter. I like to pose my models, and she let me pose her the way I wanted to pose her. We had a good time. It was a like a workout on the beach for two pretty girls.