Friends of ESS Presents: ECUBYAN Spring 2012 collection

Katie McKay and Diana Valhuerdi, of Ecubyan, launch their Spring 2012 collection.

Taking the name from a song by the glitter rocker, Jobriath, who in the 1970’s lived in a pyramid on top of the Chelsea hotel, Ecubyan’s first collection mines inspiration from Egyptian iconography.

Soon in stores near you… Check it!


Friends of ESS Presents: Making of – ‘Calling out’ music video by MIDNIGHT MAGIC.ts

Tiffany Roth of Midnight Magic on the set of their upcoming music video 'Calling Out' directed by Pilar Wiley

In production right now!!  Midnight Magic‘s new music video, directed by Pilar Wiley, for their brand new song Calling Out. The video will be released in August along a 5-song EP.

Images from the shoot:

Tiffany Roth, João Rosa and Pilar Wiley at the shoot.

Friends of ESS Presents: KATIE MCKAY – Patterning narratives

Egypt pattern

EXILO STUDIO  showcased new pieces from Brooklyn-based fashion designer Katie McKay earlier this year.

Katie created tanks, tees and hats with fabrics printed in her original patterns.  Highlights include

an Egypt-themed pattern, printed on jersey, and a snake with prey pattern, on silk.  A feast for the eyes.

Katieʼs work ranges from fashion and textile design to art direction and fine art.  Her subject matter is

often inspired by disparate facets of popular culture.

The Scarface pattern, which breaks down some of the movie’s scenes and themes into a multi-perspective composition:


Scarface detail

Katie’s sense of 2-d narrative representation is pure wonderment, conjuring up the compositions of Islamic illuminations from the 1500ʼs or even the surrealist in-your-face world of Robert Williams.

Bath-house scene by Behzād

Robert Williams

Katie has dressed both front women from Jessica 6 and Midnight Magic – Nomi Ruiz and Tiffany Roth – as well as other performers.

Nomi Ruiz models Katie McKay's creation. Photo by Bek Andersen.

Nomi Ruiz models Katie McKay's creation. Photo by Bek Andersen.

Nomi Ruiz models Katie McKay's creation. Photo by Bek Andersen

Nomi Ruiz models Katie McKay's creation. Photo by Bek Andersen

Tiffany Roth performing with Midnight Magic wearing accessory by Katie McKay.

Katie’s fashion design brings to mind the mind-blowing work of Chinese-American, San Francisco-based, fashion designer Kaisik Wong, who dressed  flashy acts from the 70’s such as the incomparable funk diva Betty Davis and The Cockettes.

Cover of Betty Davis' album They Say I'm Different with fashion by Kaisik Wong

Fashion by Kaisik Wong

Fashion by Kaisik Wong

Vest by Kaisik Wong

Spring 2002 Balenciaga show, where Nicolas Ghesquiere found inspiration in Wong's designs

As with Wong, Katie’s aesthetic procures the occult, almost in general terms, as a vehicle to imagine and produce a world full of ceremonial attitude.

Commonly Katie’s subjects represent occult imaginaries of supernatural proportions themselves, as she has interpreted Sun Ra’s idiosyncratic universe through graphic renderings, patterns and most recently a painted mural in Brooklyn, NY:

8' x 8' painting part of a community mural on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Franklin Ave. in Brookly, NY.

Katie manages to find and rearrange the ornamentation imbued in our cultural narratives – from Egyptian mythology to S&M culture to Scarface.

Though touching on fundamentals of recent fashion – loud colors, heavy patterning, neo-tribalism, neo-psychedelia (found in some fashion of the whites gone wild and hip-hop youth cultures), Katie’s composition are so unique, perceptive and timeless, they surpass all expectations. Think Sun Ra!

Katie has also developed the logo of Jessica 6, and art direction for both Jessica 6 and Midnight Magic’s cover art (seen here featuring original artwork by Pilar Wiley).

Jessica 6 logo

Posters as medium – from one wall to another

Leilah Weinraub selected the items on the Top Ten feature in the 2011 summer issue of ARTFORUM.

She sweetly included my current work in her list.    Check the the online version here.

Some images of the print version, arranged with personal items on my desk:

Cover of Artforum Summer 2011 issue with original print from Gary Leonard, ceramic banana by Alivia Zivich and hand-sewn and painted silk neklace by Katrin Jurati

Artforum magazine with ceramic banana by Alivia Zivich, sculpture by Erik Tyberg, hand-sewn and painted silk necklace by Katrin Jurati, Comme des Garçons neon wallet, and Japanese toy lips

Some images from the series ʻHistory of the World – Adams and Crenshaw’ by Nicolau Vergueiro and Marco Antonio Prado:

This body of work is made from layers of posters that had been affixed atop one another over time,

reclaimed from a wall outside a mechanic shop at Adams and Crenshaw Blvds.  The top layer had

been painted black.  By peeling away different sections of the numerous layers, compositions are created

by revealing the hidden images of the posters.





Alexander Rodchenko, Untitled Illustration from Vladimir Mayakovsky’s “Pro Eto”, 1923

Hannah Höch, Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919

Collage, as art medium, fully developed in the early 20th century, facilitated by the emergence of mechanically reproduced images.

Avant-garde movements of the time used ads and other printed images to relay their aesthetics and ideals. Propaganda from propaganda.

In the 1950’s, the affichistes Raymond Hains and Jacques Villeglé emerged.  Their work utilized torn city posters, or affiches lacérées, as their medium to create ready-made compositions.

Raymond Hains, Poster in Yiddish, 1950

Jacques Villeglé, ABC, 1959

Fellow affichiste Mimmo Rotella stands out by concentrating his subject matter and source materials to movie posters and their stars, most notably, Marilyn Monroe:

Mimmo Rotella, Marilyn, 1966

Mimmo Rotella, Marilyn, 1962

Mimmo Rotella, Marilyn, 1972

In the 70’s and 80’s the lacerated poster became synonymous with the branding of the punk movement. The literal anti-establishment aesthetic continued to explore a critique of capitalist production/consumerism, only to became a marketing tool itself.

Sex Pistols iphone wallpaper

FROM ONE WALL TO ANOTHER – recent artwork utilizing posters:

Richard Prince's site-specific installation at the Hong Kong Museum of Art for the exhibition 'Louis Vuitton: A Passion for Creation', 2009

Klara Liden, installation shot at Serpentine Gallery, London, 2010.

Mark Bradford's post-Katrina ark, part of Prospect 1, 2008