80s art Tumblr

A Tumblr Devoted to 80s Art

Here's the thing about the '80s: Some of us actually grew up in them. And for us, seeing a Tumblr full of art from that decade doesn't so much trigger an Internet-age wet dream as a blast of straight-up nostalgia — for the kinds of things we remember hanging in our rich friends' parents living rooms, or on the walls of our orthodontist, or in fancy department-store furniture displays.
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Sight Unseen: Esprit’s Brand Books

There are some books that are quoted, referenced, or photographed so often in our line of work that they begin to feel like touchstones for design-world enthusiasts all over the world. The Nathalie du Pasquier–illustrated Leonard Koren bible Arranging Things: A Rhetoric of Object Placement is of those such books; the late-'90s graphic-design manifesto Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist is another. But recently, another book has begun popping up no matter where we look. Esprit: The Comprehensive Design Principle — a huge, softcover paean to every design aspect of the beloved 1980s fashion brand — was published in 1989 by its founder Douglas Tompkins, but has experienced a resurgence of late in these '80s nostalgia–tinged, Memphis revival–happy times.
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Ben Sanders, Artist

L.A. artist Ben Sanders was already making paintings, drawings, illustrations, and sculptures when he co-founded a collaborative art direction and photography studio, Those People, not too long ago. As if all those mediums weren't enough, though, the 25-year-old Art Center College of Design graduate recently started making objects, too, in the form of ceramic pots that he finds and uses as 3-D canvases, for paintings of wildly colorful air-brushed faces compiled from playful '80s-style shapes.
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Keehnan Konyha’s Safe House USA

How do you know when someone's a child of the '80s? Posting photos of Lisa Frank's headquarters on their blog is a pretty obvious clue. Brooklyn interior designer Keehnan Konyha has been tracking his eccentric tastes on his freestyling eponymous site for the past three years, and dipping into his formative decades liberally, so it didn't surprise us a bit when he totally went there for his Sight Unseen Self Portrait. His newest project is a bedding textile company called Safe House USA that's inspired by streetwear and the visual influences he tracks on the web, and he couldn't imagine a better way to showcase his first collection than to pin it up to a white metal grid in a way that should be familiar to anyone who grew up in the era of cheesy department store displays and layaways at TJMaxx. Published here are the exclusive photos Konyha shot of the series — which is printed with internet-approved motifs like faux marble, punctuation marks, and the black and white mottle unique to composition notebooks — along with the backstory behind both the collection and his vision for this project.
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Gruzis in his studio, in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. He bikes there from his apartment in nearby Carroll Gardens six days a week. “I made art all the time as a kid,” he says. “I was an only child, so I just shut out the world and hung out in my own space — which I still do today, all day every day. I never really planned on being an artist, but I couldn’t really think of anything else I wanted to do, and I don’t like working for other people.” The two paintings in the foreground typify his aesthetic, which is inspired by the likes of Memphis, Saved by the Bell, and Patrick Nagel. The one on the left is actually part of a series painted over digital prints of cheesy beach tees he bought in Florida.

Evan Gruzis, Artist

Evan Gruzis explored altered states of awareness a few years back, and while he was wigging out, managed to scrawl down such revelatory thoughts as “there once was a movie, it was amazing”; “welcome to the temple of showers, please take a shower in one of our many showers”; and “no bother, it’s just the remix.” Having rediscovered the notes recently, he turned them into a series of works on paper by scanning and enlarging them, cutting out the individual letters, then sweeping over the cutouts with the flat, ’80s-style gradient that forms the background for many of his works, including semi-photorealistic still lifes and geometric abstractions inspired by Saved by the Bell and Memphis. Rather than using an airbrush — “blasphemy!” according to the 31-year-old artist — Gruzis builds up the gradients in meticulous layers of India ink, spreading upwards of 20 separate washes across wet paper with soft squirrel-hair paintbrushes until the effect is practically flawless. “It’s about taking a moment that isn’t even remembered and turning it into this layered, highly crafted, highly rendered thing,” he explains of the acid notes, the kind of process that keeps him locked away in his studio six days a week. “It’s about taking meaninglessness and glorifying it. That’s another way of putting what I do: Making absurdity seductive, and making the seductive vapid, so you get caught in this feedback loop.”
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