VAGUE takes its inspiration from the Hollywood greats immortalised in the seminal Madonna dance track ‘Vogue’. The portraits celebrate and pay homage to idols such as Marlon Brando and Jean Harlow but also consider a Hollywood not so glittering.
From the time the artist first encountered the stars of a bygone age, there were two conflicting notions: “On the one hand you had the sumptuous iconic images of the stars but then you had the sordid tales of them as described in books such as Kenneth Anger’s ‘Hollywood Babylon’ (1975). I love that contradiction.” – JL
As memories fade and blur and people forgot who these people were (the death of Lauren Bacall in 2014 representing another end of an era) their images remain unchanged and live on.
But for how long?
The techniques used for VAGUE reference the monotypes of Edgar Degas (for example, ‘Beside The Sea’, 1876-7) where an image is drawn onto a plate and then paper is pressed on top to create a print. Most of the work is then embellished with chalk and charcoal to create the finished portrait.
“I see the first step as building the foundations of the person, and then added to this are the flourishes and adornments, although, like people, some of the works haven’t needed as many enhancements as others.” - JL
Whereas Degas used black ink, the works in VAGUE use black acrylic, which has a quicker drying time. This means the artwork has to be created with a fast-paced intensity and larger works are executed in layers.
“The speed in which I have to work initially allows a certain randomness to take over and unexpected shapes appear on the paper. However, the second stage of drawing into the paper counterbalances this as I consider carefully the marks I make.” - JL
Jody Little was born in 1974 in Dumfries, Scotland. He received his MA in Printmaking (Merit) from Camberwell College of Arts, London in 2013.
Prior to being a professional artist he worked in financial services as an analyst for a number of years.
He lives and works in London.