Contrary to the official Instagram feed, it’s not all sneaker drops and new collections in the HS office. Quite a bit of printed matter comes through our doors; not all of it involves naked women, either.
Some of the selections are paper imprints from our favorite brands or agencies, others are indie publications that have piqued our interest — all feature distinctive storytelling, even if it isn’t always straightforward. Sometimes we’re drawn to a particularly ardent piece of prose, other times it’s arresting photography or an unusual layout that makes us revisit an already-read page, sometimes it’s a combination of all three.
Every week we’ll be sharing a few of the volumes that have found a permanent home on our office shelves or in the living spaces of our writers and editors.
Photographer, creative director and casting agent, Kevin Amato, has carved a niche in the fashion industry for his dissident thinking and dedication to advocating for youth culture, and gender, racial and sexual fluidity. His subversive casting choices were part of what created the wonderfully dark, eclectic and risk-taking aesthetic of Hood By Air. Amato also discovered Instagram darling Luka Sabbat who was the quintessential SoHo kid, hanging out in the city, skateboarding and talking shit with friends before their chance run-in.
In addition to occupying the role of creative director at VFILES crowd-sourced magazine, WOMB, Amato has also been busy working on The Importants a delightfully gaudy, bright gold volume that is part retrospective of his work, part mood board, and part bible of youth culture. The 200-plus page hardback features anecdotes from Amato’s career and life, alongside portraits of talents ranging from Flatbush Zombies, Boychild, Chris Brown, Luka Sabbat, Travis Scott, A$AP Ferg and many, many more.
In typical Amato fashion the photography is minimal and gritty, featuring both famous subjects and unknowns. And while some of his subjects take the form of youthful school kids others are those who occupy societal fringes. Gender identity, race, sexual orientation, none of it matters to Amato. He treats every subject with the same respect, drawing out the most beautiful parts of them while still displaying their tenacity. The Importants closes with an afterward penned by fashion designer Rick Owens who ends things by saying, “Welcome to the golden age of cunt.”
Failure sucks. Failure feels like an indictment on personal worth. Everyone hates failing. When it comes to Erik Kessels, co-founder and creative director of disruptive communications agency KesselsKramer, he offers some out-of-the-box solutions for facing failure and clenching the longterm win. Much of his advice comes from direct experience working in a creative field where he has acted as an art director, curator, graphic designer, photographer and more.
As you can imagine, Kessels didn’t learn all of those skill sets without some epic fails, but as he points out on page 29, “Screw up. Stand out.” That isn’t the only unorthodox advice he gives, either, the entire 160-plus page paperback offers witty anecdotes and quotes from some of history’s most prolific creators regarding the subject of failure. Works of contemporary art, photography and even advertisements are sprinkled alongside Kessel’s pragmatic advice, offering an entertaining and visually rich meditation on taking the L.
Tom Sachs’s Nuggets exhibition at Jeffery Deitch gallery in New York was something close to twenty years in the making. In fact, in the zine’s foreward, penned by Deitch, he even outlines a near-miss in September of 1999 where Sachs, after subjected several galleries to an elaborate, jocose faux competition, elected to show his work with Mary Boone gallery rather than at Deitch’s. It was a near miss because the very next day Deitch awoke to a New York Times headline proclaiming the arrest of an art dealer: The dealer was Mary Boone. Sachs’s show turned out to involve live 9-millimeter cartridges which he invited guests to take home.
Deitch’s story calibrates the reader’s understanding of the work within the zine because it introduces the type of artist Tom Sachs is. Perhaps he is a provocateur and a little bit of a prankster (apparently), but he’s also an observer and a consumer of culture. His work draws on his observations and his ability to re-contextualize the things that already exist while imbuing them with something very Tom Sachs. He’s an artist for the sake of creating and that’s part of why his creations are so interesting.
Useful Photography #013
When Erik Kessels isn’t making tomes dedicated to the art of failure he’s collecting “useful photography.” The 13th installation of the series is all about the eggplant. Dedicated to a new breed of selfie, the dick pic, the volume is, well, a big ol’ collection of penises. Like, eggplants on eggplants on eggplants. Pale ones, melanated ones, big ones, small ones, thick ones, long ones, just eggplants everywhere. What’s more, they’re all contrasted against everyday objects ranging from remote controls to Sriracha, coins, money, cans of all shapes and sizes.
Our model intern gifted us with yet another gem before heading off to enjoy the rest of his summer before school starts again. This time it’s Rap Tees, a 500-plus page hardcopy that chronicles hip-hop’s best t-shirts from 1980 through 1999. The book was compiled by Ross Schwartzman or DJ Ross One, a Cincinnati-born whose obsession with hip-hop led him to call New York home. Schwartzman is an obsessive collector of rap tees and has a personal archive that includes nods to Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, De La Soul and more. A true labor of love, the book is made up of flat photography of iconic shirts along with the year of their release and additional information where relevant.
Need more printed matter? Take a look at our last edition of Sunday Morning Reads.
- Photographer: Bryan Luna