Wonderland.

Judy Blame: 'Never Again' at the ICA

Welcome to the wonderful world of rebel designer Judy Blame.

This summer, the ICA are hosting an exhibition on rebel designer Judy Blame, presenting a snapshot into the creative mind of one of Britain’s major talents. Divulging the intersections of fashion, art, music, style and authenticity, everyone’s favourite intersections, that is – Blame challenged established hierarchies by creating jewellery and other accessories from a myriad of found, everyday materials. Think safety pins, bottle tops, badges, plastic bags and toy soldiers; the results of his highly original DIY approach have rendered him one of the most sought after, free-thinking designers in the industry.

During the ’80s Blame, together with John Moore, founded the Dalston-based House of Beauty – a craft collective at the heart of the London club scene towards the end of the decade consisting of celebrated artists such as Dave Baby, Fiona Skinner, Christopher Nemeth, Richard Torry and Fiona Bowen. From this flourishing scene, Blame went on to form creative collabs as a consultant with the likes of heavyweight designers, who’ve become nothing short of contemporary icons, ranging from John Galliano, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones to cutting-edge Japanese innovator Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, and the British iconoclast, Gareth Pugh.

As a stylist, Blame has produced iconic fashion editorials for seminal publications, including everyone’s favourite throwback bible, The Face and BLITZ, where he worked together with a range of influential photographers such as Juergen Teller, Mark Lebon, Jean Baptiste Mondino and Mark Mattock. His intuitive capacity to produce emblematic images that exemplified radical elements of popular culture and fashion steered him towards an extensive career in the music industry as an art director and image consultant for titanic figures spanning genres: Massive Attack, Boy George, Kylie Minogue and Bjork.

We caught up with Blame for a short, sharp, quick-fire Q&A and asked him about the themes of the forthcoming exhibition and the context of his work more generally.

Hi Judy. Where you are from?

Leatherhead.

Can you tell us a bit about your forthcoming exhibition, Judy Blame: Never Again, at the ICA?

Snatches of creativity from every aspect of my chaotic career.

The name of the exhibition is thought provoking. Does it embody any connotations?

I took the title from an old t-shirt design and it illustrates the fact that I’m showing the way I put my ideas together. I come from the world of paper, glue and scissors, not screens and machines. I want people to understand the process of hand-made, one-off and individuality.

When did you first become aware of your passion to create stuff?

Childhood – I was always drawing and making something.

What’s is the most treasured possession you ever found?

Too many to mention!

What was it like growing up in the 1970s?

Always searching for a bit of glitter in a dull and grey England.

Are you inspired by social politics?

I always think about it.

You were involved in a club-night at Heaven back in the 80s called Cha Chas. How important was Heaven to the club scene?

It was all about having a good time.

Words
Ray Kinsella
Judy Blame: 'Never Again' at the ICA

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