Spanish-born, New York-based artist Silvia Prada’s CV includes such assorted projects as photographing dog portraits, promoting parties, art directing an album cover for her wife Kim Ann Foxman (of Hercules and Love Affair fame), and doing voiceovers for porn flicks. But since 2000, she has focused mainly on drawing, and her pop-art inspired sketches have appeared in The Face, Dazed & Confused, and V Magazine and been shown at Deitch Projects and the Paris boutique Colette. Last year, with the help of cultureEDIT, she published “The New Modern Hair: A Styling Chart,” a collection of stylized portraits highlighting some of the more superb men’s hairdo’s over the years, including The Flat Top, The Sportsman, and The Executive Contour. An exhibition based on her book opens Thursday at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. Called The New Modern Hair, it includes works from the book, as well as site-specific murals, poster montages of references that informed the project, and coif-inspired contributions from a host of artistic folks, including filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, hair stylist Jimmy Paul, and artist Collier Schorr.
Where did your fascination with men's hair come from?
I had always had a fascination with male beauty, which was facilitated growing up with a father who owned a hair salon. I was constantly exposed to hair and beauty magazines and early on developed a language for aesthetic cues that define male identity.
What are some of your favorite hairstyles from the past?
I am fascinated with hairstyles from the ’50s and ’60s and also from the early ’70s. Regardless of lifestyle or interests, men carried their hair with elegance, confidence and absolute masculinity. It was a time when hair contributed to the idea of an alpha-male, something that is lacking in today’s "laissez-faire" hair culture.
Tell me about some of the artist contributions for the show.
The contributors are all extremely talented people who I either have a close relationship with or whose work I love and respect. “Hair Grid” was contributed by Michael Forrey, who is Creative Director of Vidal Sassoon New York. He collaborated on it with Christelle De Castro, and it a great example of the application of a styling chart for the current generation. Robert Knoke's piece is also very intriguing. At first it looks like abstract shapes, but in fact it is a photo-montage composed of hair details from some of his amazing portraits, including Casey Spooner, Alison Mosshart, Kiki Smith and Bernhard Willhelm. And Slava Mogutin's piece, which he chose to print on pure silk, is a great manifestation of how hair can be used as a character-defining mask.
Silvia Prada, “The New Modern Hair” runs through February 26, 2013 at The Pacific Design Center in L.A.
Images: courtesy of cultureEDIT