100 covers is an exhibition taking place at the KK Outlet in London which will act as homage to the progression, development and creative recognition behind the aesthetic of the magazine cover. Illustrator JP Thurlow will be presenting his work as a series of pencil drawings, all reproductions of the original publications. However, Thurlow has worked to look beneath the surface of the initial branding and semiotics of each magazine and has attempted to display an exhibition which transforms the image into a single art piece. Dazed went to find out more…
Dazed Digital: How did the 100 covers exhibition come about?
JP Thurlow: Danielle the curator at KKOutlet produces a list of interesting work each month for Messrs Kessel and Kramer. My work was on one of those lists and caught the eye of K or K. I‘ve been aware of the agency for a long time, so when they offered me the show it was a no-brainer.
DD: What is your selection process to choose each cover you illustrate? Is it random or does something in particular draw you to the publication?
JP Thurlow: The selection process is purely visceral. It’s like love at first sight. I typically respond to something that’s different to the rest of the newsstand, an unusual image, beautiful typography, interesting use of colours, format, or paper… usually the original magazine sparks off a thought or memory in me and that sparks my imagination. It takes me hours to draw each cover so over the time I spend working, a narrative or reverie emerges which in the end makes all the detail rather autobiographical.
DD: You chose to illustrate the December 2008 issue of Dazed - why were you drawn to this particular cover?
JP Thurlow: I was drawn to the technical challenge of the makeup, for example the zigzag over the lips. The androgyny of the models also appeals; as do the colours around the eyes… it’s just a stand out magazine cover.
DD: The Dazed cover has the headline, “Smile! What Crisis? Fashion’s New Optimism” – is covering and exposing fresh talent on the fashion scene something you are also interested in documenting?
JP Thurlow: The answer to your question is yes, kind of. Through Covers I’ve come into contact with so many cool people involved in fashion and design, I’ve never stopped to think if they’re young or old. Talent is talent, but yes I have used my blog to alert others to the work my friends are doing.
DD: You have been quoted as stating that you ‘want to cut through the loveliness and reveal something that’s lurking behind’ the magazine cover - what do you think lies behind the immediate response to a cover?
JP Thurlow: We’ve never been more educated about the artifice involved in creating beautiful photographic imagery. It’s so seductive but it’s not really real. Like anyone I enjoy the beauty of fashion and marketing gloss but I’m not hypnotised or brainwashed by it. What lurks behind it is the desire to sell stuff, and having worked in and around advertising I just like to corrupt that stuff to my own ends. Everyone constructs their own relationship with the world around them, I’m just sharing via my drawings.
DD: What’s next for you?
JP Thurlow: I’m looking forward to drawing some nudes and some fashion illustrations… full figures rather than portraits. There are a couple of really interesting commissions coming up, with They Shoot Homos Don’t They, the Bears Illustrated calendar, and The UnTitled Gallery project.
The exhibition will run from November 5 – November 30 at the KK Outlet in Hoxton Square, London