Burn So Bright

Music, Fashion, Art, Poetry, Prose

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Pop Culture Remixed

A new coterie of artists have a razor wit, an eye for popular culture (historical, current, and a thread between eras) and a point of view that is both sophisticated and strangely democratic. The following artists communicate through technology as well as, or in spite of, the rarified world of the stark white gallery spaces of the elite.

Troy Gua: Le Petit Prince

The “Le Petit Prince” project is based on one original doll and his “adventures” through originally hand crafted costumes, props, and settings photographed by the artist. It was a deeply personal project, as Gua explains “Le Petit Prince was made late in 2011 in an attempt to cleanse myself from what I had been making and felt was becoming cynical work. I wanted to make something that made me happy. ”

The full motion capture of Prince in his iconic purple glory spinning atop wax suggests the potential of a short film as well as being enjoyed as an animated gif, one that has been widely shared across social media such as tumblr. One second of this image creates an instant cultural reference: it links our shared memories of Purple Rain with the puppetry trend that appeals to nostalgic impulses and a pre CGI memory of “real effects” and artistry that has attained a special status in a technological era where realness is fleeting. This doll making speaks to an authentic badge of fandom as well as a casual appreciation of cuteness and satire that entered the modern social vocabulary through the films Team America: World Police, Being John Malkovich and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Furthermore, the hair alone is monumentally perfect.

Troy Gua’s website

Sally Edelstein

Sally Edelstein - Home Made Goodness

Sally Edelstein uses collage “as a means of examining social fictions”. This artist applies a great curatorial eye to reference “banal images appropriated from vintage ads, periodicals, children’s school books, comic books, pulp fiction and all sorts of ephemera, dissociating the images from their original use to better re-evaluate its’ original message.”

The art form of collage and the ability to critique the mass media messages of the latter part of the 20th century make a perfect marriage. These works can be appreciated both viscerally and are aided through at least a few decades of women and gender studies/ media criticism courses in University curricula. As long as marketers and fashion tastemakers have been recycling trends, and as these cycles get shorter and more fragmented through culture, these old images and the artists who give them new life maintain an important place in  pop culture. The appeal of this imagery is not only critical, humorous and ironic, but also straightforward: we wonder where all these old piles of magazines have gone and are interested to see them. The time wasting task of looking through piles of stuff is a lost art form for most of us. We miss it dearly.

Sally Edelstein - Homemade Goodness

Edelstein’s work doesn’t rely on obvious tropes about the experiences of women and families in exploring post war (50’s) America (and later eras). Rather, the artist digs deep and gives great thought to a spectrum of experiences. Think of the hours of work of clipping,cataloguing and organizing clips thematically, and the ensuing brainstorming and research that emerges. The subjects embrace and give pointed commentary about pressures (dieting /”containment”, the various ways women were expected to homemake (both “homemade” or “heat and serve” options were things marketed and sold, separating women from the core simplicity of accepted ideas of cooking that existed before the dominance of the wartime tin can) and the various complexities as well as freedoms of the working woman (birth control, the liberated women, and the nearly uncontrollable dirt that awaited the woman who dared to leave for the day). These loud and conflicting messages are layered with social and political movements of the day, a true collage of ideas and statements.

Sally Edelstein’s Website

Surface by Aurelien Juner

The immediate thought: “why didn’t I think of that?!” is the hallmark of radical post-modern art. This might be the thought  accompanying this piece, for example.

Deceptively simple. Who hasn’t defaced a fashion magazine, or wanted to, in a similar way? But the message becomes richer, deeper, and more original with every piece.

The subject being photographed is funny, common, seemingly accidental. The photography is exquisite, artful. The deconstruction/destruction/reconstruction of fashion magazine covers is wholly original, exciting, and evocative. A whole new form of reappropriation that constantly links back to the original production, to fashion and its messages. This art project must be viewed in its entirely to be appreciated as it goes deeper and to very unexpected places beneath the surfaces it touches.

Aurelien Juner’s Website


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The Wild Ones Part 2

Has anything ever been more Super than the Supermodels of the 90’s? Whatever they were, they seemed absolutely fearless.

Steven Meisel

Salvaging the early 90’s memory: here are some favorite parts of the best of it:

Giving Face! Photo by Peter Lindburgh

Blur elevates a grungy/baggy era with their dedicated stab at Laddish Mod Suiting (Fred Perry Shirts, Clarkes Desert Boots, Docs)…

Sassy, of course. This cover gives an example of the first and best (redux) versions of Witchy poo/ 60’s rock and roll (tights, short skirts, chunky boots)…


Drew Barrymore looking every inch the movie star face. Forever young.

2011 revisits the 90’s. In the constant cultural recycler, even the much derided black choker is back. For the right price. (Dolce & Gabbana)

There is nothing new under the sun. This is so painfully late 80’s/early 90’s, or SPRING 2012 they tell us! But we never really did get over it, did we? 

Ashish, Spring 2012

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The Wild Ones – Suede

Bruno Dayan

“on you my tattoo will be bleeding and the name will stain”

1993 ~ Forever

This song and its video are the inspiration for this post/mood board/editorial theme. Play it.

“the history of this fucking band is ridiculous. it’s like machiavelli rewriting fear and loathing in las vegas… it’s like a pram that’s just been pushed down a hill. it’s always been fiery and tempestuous and really on the edge and it never stops. i don’t think it ever will.”

Suede is one of the most important and beautiful bands to come out of England. They were massive in the years 1993-1999 (and have recently reformed for some gigs). Brett Anderson was (is) their impossibly glamorous front man and lyricist. Their sound is haunting and unique, layered and equal parts glam & shoegaze, postpunk and post Smiths kitchen sink but got lumped in with “Brit Pop” (a term they loathe, although they rose in that are and covered some of the same musical themes, including explorations of the drug culture of the time and class issues in Britain as well as universal themes of love, longing, and the fantasy of escape to a better world. 

Join the ranks and find out why Suede and Brett fans use terms such as God, angel, and various applications of the word beautiful unironically.  Brett’s impossibly slim and elegant looks are what a rock star should be, making him an eternal style icon as well as musical icon.

So: Dreamy, Jewel Tones, Filters, Faded, Fantasy, 1993-4, feathers, angora, urban decay, loneliness, lace, flounce, buttoned up, natural (abstract) elements, chemistry, claustrophobia, bohemian fantasies…

Naomi Campbell falls on the catwalk in Vivienne Westwood platforms, London 1993. This marked the height of the true "Supermodel era".

Speak Art & Design: Tim Speaker

Libertas Academica

Gustav Klimt, Baroness Elisabeth Bachofen-Echt

Detail at Alexander McQueen, spring 2011 via salveo.tumblr.com

McQueen via style.com

Christy Turlington, British Vogue 1993

Bruno Dayan

“But oh if you stay we’ll ride from disguised suburban graves
We’ll go from the bungalows where the debts still grow every day”

UK Vogue March 1993 via rag-pony.com

Much of the fashion imagery found online from the early 90’s is limited and cliche/retro. It was a weird time of rave wear and grunge. I am will include scans on this blog like this one above wherever I can for good examples of true 90’s looks. There was some beautiful fashion photography we just have a void of it on the internet. So get out your scanners and your old magazines and share the wealth of your attics! I still think those dark or brown-y matte MAC lipstick looks of the time are beautiful (and are in the midst of a comeback!)

Allure magazine September 1993 via http://www.rag-pony.com

Brett Anderson via theessentialsuede.com

Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp (with Winona Forever tattoo) circa early 90's

Tropilcalia by Matheus Lopes (via lionskeleton tumblr)

Moby, London 1993, Wolfgang Tillmans (wallpaper magazine)

Tim Barber via barbert tumblr (2011)