Xerox/Rock/Art: An Archive of Drawings and Ephemera 1970s – 1980s by Stephen Sprouse
Published by Damiani (2015)
Comprised of 1,500 separate pieces, including 600 original drawings, color Xeroxes, swatch references and inspiration materials, this book encompasses the design work of Stephen Sprouse from 1974 through the late 1980s, focusing the foundational period in which the designer effortlessly fused New York uptown glamour with the edgy vibe of the East Village.
The works on paper included here reveal Sprouse’s unmistakable energy: his facile and powerful inked lines, his use of the Xerox machine to apply vivid gouache color and his often capitalized marginalia all reveal the vibrant, unstoppable personality of a design genius. Also evident here is the powerful influence of two of Sprouse’s most important muses, Jackie Onassis and Debbie Harry of Blondie, the latter of whom wore the off-the shoulder short dress in 1978 that served as Sprouse’s public debut (Harry also provides the introduction to this volume). Even in these two figures, the uptown/downtown, high-end/punk tensions that pervade Sprouse’s work is apparent.
Though recognised even at the tender age of 14 as a design prodigy, Sprouse’s commercial success alternately soared and stalled throughout the 1980s, but his assuredness of vision and unique concepts have made legendary contributions to the world of fashion. The intimacy of the sketches and designs collected here give the viewer a rare opportunity to draw closer to Stephen Sprouse and his frenetic career.