Meet Blue Logan, if you haven't already. A couple of years ago a friend dragged the soft-spoken Brit to a show at London Fashion Week, Aquascutum he thinks, and he started to draw the models as they walked down the runway. Within a few shows he realized the people in the front row were just as, if not more, interesting. Now his drawings pop up in Vogues, both UK and American, on Style.com and a bunch of other fashion-loving sites. He's been in New York this summer preparing his sandwich shop, Cheeky's, sketching the cool kids in the Hamptons or at the Jane and starting a project he might call, "I'm on the List" about the nature of waiting in lines in New York. He was in Paris before this and counts India as his favorite place, but he's in love with New York right now and we're happy to have him. How he works, after the jump.
Welcome! Thanks! You're like the first person in here. And it's not even my place! Or I mean it is, it's my friend's and he's never here. He's a model, so I'm living here, but it's basically empty aside from this wall of soda.
Weird. Yeah. So, wow, you have a lot going on. Totally. I've sort of arranged it all along the walls to help keep track of it. I'm not used to working without any furniture, but it works well. This, over here, is a series of portraits I did at a party. Did someone ask you to or were you just there? Well basically rich people in Manhattan just say to me, "We'd love you to come to the party and draw." So I do their portraits and they turn into these. And it's a whole process I go through when I decide to take a sketch of someone. I scan it in, print it out and then paint it. It's like a two step process. Is that watercolor? Yeah, it sort of brings it to life. And then you give them the original? No, it gets scanned, because most times these people want something digital anyway. So for instance, they want to turn this into a book of John's 40th party so they'll all get the Photoshop documents and then they can do whatever they want with it. I don't really give people the originals, I hold on to them. I don't think I make enough money to give them the originals, and I'd really like to hold on to them! So how did you start doing this? I mean it's kind of random and yet the perfect antidote to all of the street style photographers documenting fashion week. Your sketches are really magical. Well I've always drawn, but I was interested in doing something a bit challenging and fast with a pencil because I had a feeling I worked best when doing some very quickly. And a friend of mine said I'm going to a show later, why don't you come? I thought it'd be perfect and such a great challenge to draw each girl as she came out.
What show was it? I think it was something like Aquascutum. It was a London Fashion Week show and it turned into a whole day of shows, some really amazing ones like Nathan Jenden. And I ended up going with him all week, to the shows and just drawing the collections. Had you always been into fashion? Kind of, kind of not. I grew up in it. My mother was a hat designer for Ossie Clark and my uncle's quite a celebrated jewelry designer and sculptor, and great friends with Zandra Rhodes, so I kind of grew up amongst that whole, you know...my godfather was head of a large technical fashion agency so in amongst it all, yes. I definitely grew up amongst fashion but I never really considered it. You don't do you? I mean my father's a sculptor so I just kind of saw it all as art, as making things. So you started out drawing the collections, but you've really moved into so much more. Yeah I mean I'm drawing the shows and I realized like, it's not very interesting to just draw the girls. I mean it is interesting, but ultimately the designer draws the girls, they draw their outfits so I kind of wanted to add something to put it in context. Or have some kind of commentary about the show so now, when the girls come out I still do the same thing, but I also draw people in the front row. Which is sometimes just as good a show. Exactly. All the little vignettes I see during the twenty minutes before the show, people talking with their heads together. I'm not so clued up on who's who or anything, but you can tell whose important, or not even important, but interesting. So I draw the whole of the front row and then I try and throw it all together. Like this one's a real mish mash. It's from Cavalli, this huge kind of circus tent thing and then this girl in the front was actually from Hermes and I put it all together fror somehting someone wanted for a specific event. And then I threw the photographers in to and again it's like a collage.
Did you always want to be an artist? No I wasn't going to do this at all. It was just a hobby. I loved drawing and I knew I was kind of good at it, but I did it like, on holiday. Just buildings, really. I loved drawing buildings, little corners and places in cities in Spain or Cuba or wherever I went. You know you normally take a photo but I'd sit down with a sketchbook and draw it and I could remember it better, all the places I'd been and what was going on around it which is the same when I'm doing a show. And I like it, you know; I love to try and capture something about something to remember it. So what else are you working on right now? I'm doing this project, this New York thing called like, "My Name Should Be on the List," which is a pictoral study of party queues. So I hang around late at night, go down Chrystie and the lower east side and you know, like find people and groups of people outside just waiting to get in. And then I want to work on what's inside too, to encapsulate that whole idea of being on the list, that selection process. Like in the downstairs of La Esquina or VIP areas or the DJ booth where there are ten people who think it's more fun to dance in the DJ booth than outside it. New York's quite a fascinating place for a secret society. I mean we do it in London but you're probably fifty and really rich and it's members clubs, but here you do it in that kind of really interesting way...I mean, a telephone booth? Hah yeah, it is kind of strange. So what will you do with that, have an exhibition? I'd love to actually. I mean at the moment I feel like I'm just doing everything and I feel like my personal projects have kind of taken a back seat.
Do you see the fashion stuff as a means to an end? No, I love doing the fashion stuff. I like drawing... I was going to say women but it's - I would draw men just as easily you know? It's drawing the sexiness of it or something to do with that and I think the line that I try and do, that fast line, it suits the industry. I like appplying it to that, I love being there and seeing everything happen so fast and then bringing this old idea of illustration into it. That juxtaposition between the modern and fun and the beautiful, aesthetically...you know, I love it. But yeah I'd like to do the fashion thing even more actually. Well New York's a great place to try and do that. Exactly. So after that first day in London - you went and drew everyone and how did it happen from there? I guess you meet people, and get introduced to people and they start asking you to draw things. And I got an agent soon after that and just started doing things for magazines.
Was there a moment when you were like, "Oh wow, this is a real thing, it's really happening?" I don't think there was a moment, so much as like, I'd collected all my drawings from the shows and there was more a moment of 'Oh I can do this.' I think I'll really give it a go and see what happens and to some extent I'm still kind of getting there. There are lots of things in the pipeline I guess, but I still feel like I'm still drawing for myself. You know, magazines use them, but they don't pay me. It's like I draw for food. But it's this whole interesting world and I love documenting it. It's funny, because I feel like so many parties are just for the photographs and this totally warps that idea, or it's just so much more fun to look at than yet another picture of the same poeople. Yeah, exactly. Cause you see photographs of people and they're kind of all a bit flashed up aren't they and they don't necessarily look their best and when you draw them, well I mean, hey, it can be hard. Not every drawing looks like the person but it's not necessarily about that, it's about capturing their spirit. I'm deifnitely getting better at it though. Is that the hardest part? Trying to make the sketch look like the person in real life? The hardest part is when someone's looking over my shoulder. It really stresses me out, not like it gets me angry but I feel so much pressure and when you're pressured you're not doing it right. It's also because when people see a drawing of themeselves they dont' really recognize themselves. Like you show someone a sketchbook and they'll go, "Oh my god it's Brian! It's Lindsay!" and they totally nail everyone and then they see them and go, "Wait, that's not me," though if someone else saw it they'd totally recognize it. So I tend to not show people my sketch book.
Do people generally react well though, to what you draw? They can. You know what it's like, when people react badly they don't really react badly, they're kinda like they just go [makes a face] And of course you know I've drawn a few stinkers, but when it's that fast it's kind of do or die. It's not the end of the world you know? Right, I'd hope not. So what's your process like during Fashion Week, walk me through a show. The first thing would be looking around outside the doors to see what's going on, if anything. Like at the Louis Vuitton show just up Rue de Rivoli a few seasons ago, they weren't letting anyone in so we're all crammed together and I'm just kind of looking around thinking, oh my god, if there's a natural disaster these are the worst people to be with. They'd just trample you and scratch your eyes out and you could feel the selfishness and the meanness and it's terrible! And you're there thinking, this is a bit much. We could just chill out and be glamorous and then we all went in and they didn't start the show for ages so the photographers started getting rowdy and then everyone started doing the wave and the whole thing was so electric - it was an amazing show to sketch.
Has documenting the industry in this way changed the way you see fashion? Yeah totally. I'm getting better about it, learning more. The challenge for me is that it takes a lot of time to process these things, the sketching, the scanning, the painting and everything so when I have a lot of drawings, like that Louis Vuitton show there were like forty outfits and that doesn't even include the front row and whatever. So I'm kind of learning to pick out the key outfits so that I don't try and do every single one. But it's really hard - if something comes out and I think oh that's the key outfit and then really it's the one behind it that's key... You need to get backstage for a preview! Yeah and I do usually, I try to do it all. Backstage drawings, front row, second row, relationship between the two, models grabbing cabs outside and capturing the chaos - all while trying to get myself to the next show! And I love that mass exit. Where's it all going? A book? An exhibition? Books I think! Exhibition, I don't think so. I don't see what I do as art. What is it? Illustration.
Which isn't art? Well of course it is, we're drawing hairs here. I mean I just think that art should be about, should have some integral comment within the picture itself and I only see my stuff as snap photography almost. I think, at least at the moment, that I haven't developed that thought process yet. I don't feel like it's... I mean when you go to an exhibition and you see art you know it's art, right? When you go a photography show and you know they're social documents and the person's applied artistic tools - I kind of see myself on that level. I have an eye, I see what I want to draw and I can make it look pretty. But I don't think it has a message. But it'd make a fun book. So you'd like to stay in New York and continue working on fashion projects, as well as the list project, anything else in particular you're dying to do? I'd love to partner with a designer, like I'd love to do some t-shirt collaboration or something. I want to work with interior designer, too to do some work in people's houses like in the olden days in chateaus they'd have rooms that were completely painted so I'd like to do something like that. I know you're loving New York, but you've traveled a lot, do you have a favorite place? I love India. Sounds a bit hippie-ish to say, but India has an effect. I have some really great friends in India, one in the Himalayas and a maharaja in the desert and my uncle has a place I've not been to yet and I love it there, it's like going back in time and it's really fucked up. If I wasn't going to be here, or I might still actually, where all the sadus congregate, some are charlatans, some are really wise and some are just crazy and they meet for this kind of holy thing in the foothills of the himalayas where the ganges meets another river and they do this big wash off. And fifteen million people come, I mean can you imagine? Sounds insane and when you have that kidn of shit, I mean I'd love to go and draw that. Wow. Yeah, it'd be so amazing.
Explain the tattoos please. Um, it's kind of hard. I don't know if I want to. Okay. Well no, I mean, it's okay. This one's an altered tattoo [hate] and this one [love] had to be put there because I couldn't just have that without that. And I have a few other ones as well. This one I got in Tokyo, becasue I have a thing for playing cards at the moment. Did you draw it? I didn't no. I adapted it, I think it'd be kind of weird to have my own drawing. It's my handwriting though. I'd draw someone else's tattoo. Though maybe I wouldn't. People have asked and I've said no. You would if it was the right person. Yeah, I would.
Cool. Well thank you! And now, the semi-Proust questionnaire: 1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD? Jacuzzi. 2. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE WORD? Segment, Fondle, Moist, Bosoms. 3. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOUND/NOISE? The sea and French sirens. 4. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE SOUND/NOISE? American sirens. 5. WHAT PROFESSION, OTHER THAN YOURS, DO YOU WISH TO ATTEMPT? Film director. 6. WHAT PROFESSION WOULD YOU NEVER WANT? Garbage collector in Chinatown. 7. WHAT MAKES YOU INSPIRED? People. 8. WHAT MAKES YOU NEVER WANT TO WORK AGAIN? Nothing. 9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SWEAR WORD? Fuck. 10. IF HEAVEN EXISTS, WHAT DO YOU WANT GOD TO SAY TO YOU WHEN YOU DIE? "The whisky's over there and the ice is in that cloud - help yourself." Anything but, "You need to settle up your bar tab before you're coming in here, mate." I'm fucked - totally God blocked.