Much like the society vignettes he masterfully creates, the dashing British-born New York-based illustrator Blue Logan appears charmingly out of sync with the contemporary fashion world he captures – his unique mix of confidence and modesty, irreverence and impeccable manners not unlike a character from an Evelyn Waugh novel. The New York Times has credited Blue with breathing new life into fashion illustration, which is no mean feat given it’s an archaic, arguably obsolete, art form in the digital age. Using his skillz to pay the bills, while also finding a new purpose and audience for fashion illustration, Blue Logan has deservedly garnered something of a following – his work can be found on the pages of Vogue Magazine and the windows of Hong Kong’s Lane Crawford – and now on Sex!&Fashion where the nimble artist tells us of the power of fancy brooches, breaking into fashion shows and the reason he draws so very fast…
Indigo Clarke: Tell us about your fashion/society illustrations, who you illustrate for and what your work is all about…
Blue Logan: I’m a freelance illustrator working for a variety of different magazines, stores, web sites and brands, and the work differs depending on what it’s for; but essentially I got into this on the foot of doing fast drawings at fashion, or fashionable events, and depicting little vignettes of society life.
Indigo Clarke: How did you get started, and what was it that drew you to illustration (particularly with a fashion focus)?
Blue Logan: Well, I used to draw buildings, and although I still enjoy that I wanted to draw something that moved. I also wanted to forge some sort of career and I suppose I felt that the passers-by of a park bench or a train carriage were never going to buy me a life. I grew up in fashion and art, which gave me an advantage in that I knew a few people that could help me to get the access I needed. In reality that was very important and of course I’m thankful to them all. That said, I do believe that confidence is key and in fashion and art the doors are never really closed. It just made it easier.
Talent and a set of balls will get you most places – and in this case a big jewelled brooch made by my uncle, artist Andrew Logan. That might have been more crucial than any courage. So once in the fashion shows I would draw the models, and I found myself to be quick and got some pleasing results. After a while though, it became boring drawing this endless army of pale faces and my eyes turned to the audience. In actual fact, I started drawing the audience because while you wait for a show to start there is nothing to do except either get kicked out – if I’d broken in – or get moved to a worse seat – if I had claimed a better one… front row! So looking busy and arty was a good way to keep the busy little clipboard holders at bay. Anyway, in my quest to just do something I discovered the point of interest – the project if you like – by drawing one woman who was reading the paper whilst the show kicked off. She didn’t look up once. I thought, ‘this is genius – I need to find these vignettes in this room of egos and I want to put them alongside the glamour’. To find the joys, the yawns, the excitement and also the utter boredom. That’s the work.
Indigo Clarke: In many ways, sex and fashion go hand in hand – do you use an element of ‘Sex’ in your work?
Blue Logan: I would not say I’m as into sexiness in my work as other fashion illustrators are. Those (sometimes) beautiful drawings of dreamlike, wet-lipped nymphs and vacant-eyed heartbreakers are not really for me.
I like to try to capture what I see. I don’t draw fashion from the mind. And often I’m more concerned with relationships between people or the subject (the show) than the aesthetics of the models themselves. There is a lot of sexy work out there but I personally find that nailing a line in a drawing just right, capturing a sleeve for example in a single squiggle or a leg lifting before it moves – that’s sexy.
Indigo Clarke: What is the sexiest illustration you’ve created?
Blue Logan: It’s not a sexy drawing but I had to draw a bra ad for Triumph and I found it hard the way I was doing it so I drew the girl naked and then I drew the underwear. Then, like one of those fridge magnets where you dress Princess Diana or the statue of David with various other attire, I dressed my drawing on the computer – it felt a little naughty.
Indigo Clarke: Biggest career highlights?
Blue Logan: I did the whole set of Department Store Lane Crawford’s windows in Hong Kong this year. Of course it was a pleasure to see my work in Vogue a long time ago, even though it was small, and then Vogue Russia, and I was really very chuffed when I got a full page column in the New York Times saying I was leading the pack of young illustrators breathing life back into fashion drawing.
Indigo Clarke: Who are your favourite illustrators?
Blue Logan: I love Gladys Perint Palmer’s work and I love all the old 50s stuff. But I suppose I look more to art than illustration. Lautrec, Grosz… I have just been looking through a book of Van Gogh sketches which are stunning. I love the Russian drawings for theatre from the 20′s – Stepanova and all the drawings for sets. As a child I loved Punch satire cartoons, Raymond Briggs and Arthur Rackham.
Indigo Clarke: What do you think is ‘sexy’?
Blue Logan: Lovely confident black lines. They can be soft but they have to be true.
Indigo Clarke: What exciting projects do you have coming up this year?
Blue Logan: Well I have a show on at the moment in NYC in the Meatpacking district, but it will have just finished by the time this goes to press – I have been working with Godiva chocolates and I’m looking very seriously into a children’s book idea with a fashion plot.
Indigo Clarke: Tell us something unexpected about you…
Blue Logan: I draw fast because I am terrified someone will see what I am doing! If it wasn’t for being so nervous I would never have been able to draw entire collections live or catch a quick portrait from a second’s passing glance. It is a horrible feeling, but it gets the job done, I guess.
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