My book is paying homage to the work of Andy Warhol. In the late 1970s and early 80s, Warhol's work became more focused on the underground drag scene in New York City and the gay culture of the time. He became ever more obsessed with sexuality and his work reflected this. He did a series of Poloroid self portraits in female drag. The selection of Polaroid photographs of Andy Warhol in wigs and make up were followed by a series of images taken by photographer Christopher Makos within the ‘Altered Image’ project-a selection of which are on display within the exhibition.
In describing the project Makos said: In the case of these "altered image" photographs, I don't see them as drag photos anymore, if I ever did. They are not drag photos. They are a sort of a show and tell about identity, and changing identity, not really drag, not really Andy in drag, not really even Andy Warhol any more, but a record of the collaboration between the two of us: poser and picture taker. That's it. Yes the subject is a famous artist who was obsessed with image, the surface appearance of things, who kept going back to portraiture in many forms to reflect what he saw. Definitely these images are about the "man in the mirror."
"I’d prefer to remain a mystery. I never like to give my background and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I’m asked. It’s not just that it’s a part of my image not to tell everything, it’s just that I forgot what I said the day before and I have to make it all up over again. I don’t think I have an image, anyway, favourable or unfavourable."Andy Warhol
Warhols Queens: A dazzling theme that explores the relationships between myth and identity
Warhol’s Queens offers a surprising mosaic consisting of his portraits of royal queens and images of drag queens. For Andy Warhol (1928–1987), both genuine as well as fake queens slipped into the role of idealized movie-star femininity, devoting their lives to handing down a glittering and sparkling way of life and presenting it to the public for (not all too) close inspection. The volume juxtaposes Warhol’s Polaroids of Princess Caroline of Monaco, Farah Diba Pahlavi, and Crown Princess Sonja, now Queen Sonja of Norway, with drag queens, all of whom Warhol characterized as “living testimony to the way women used to want to be, the way some people still want them to be, and the way some women still actually want to be.” Warhol’s Queens presents intense faces with exceptionally colored lips, eyes, and hair that serve as sexual fetishes and are too tempting to be resisted. Along with in-depth scholarly essays, this book is a must both for Warhol fans as well as anyone interested in photography and portraiture.
This book for me is the basis of all my inspiration for this project. This brief is very open and I have interpreted it in my own personal way. I don't want to simple re-design or re-imagine Warhol's Queens, I want to extract inspiration from it to create my own publication that tackles similar issues and themes but in my own personal artistic way. This book is a large, perfect bound coffee table style book, I don't want to re-create this. I want to create something that has a unique feel to it, almost like a one off design. I want it to feel personal to the people included within its pages and I also want it to be witty, light hearted and not too heavy to read.
I have taken inspiration from the actual design of the book and it's content and I will apply this inspiraiton to my design process and treatments. The book features a lot of white space and it feels as if you are looking at the work exhibited within a gallery space. I don't want my publication to feel this way, I want mine to be full of colour and contrasts and be aesthetically busy and exciting to flick the pages.