I first came across Seth Bogart about ten years ago when he was the frontman of the band Hunx and His Punx. I was immediately obsessed with the world he’s created with his music, his performance, and his visual art. The whole thing reads as some sort of fucked up version of 1950s melodramatic teen love drama, mixed with a bit of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and a little bit of Litchenstein/Warhol/Hockey. His work has followed me and remained everpresent in my life for the past ten years and it’s something that makes me happy every time I remember it exists.
I guess what I love so much about Bogart’s work is how clearly it creates its own world. It’s a world that’s made up of humorous references, with a definite John Waters vibe. Sidenote: You know who John Waters is, right? One time in grad school he came to lecture and I wash shocked to find out that most people had no idea who he was. If you don’t know who John Waters is, LOOK IT UP/GET IT TOGETHER (Also, remember to buy my book of the same title, available for pre-order now on Amazon).
The richness of references in Bogart’s work is part of the point. It’s supposed to be cacophonous, an onslaught of relics from our culture, from Eggs Pantyhose to McDonald’s. All of this is done in a bright, colorful way that mesmerizes they eye and leaves you wanting more. It’s candy that’s also kind of weird and gross.
Bogart’s paintings are much in the same vein as his installation work. Colorful, crazy, and filled with a ton of noise and information. There’s an undercurrent of feminism and gender equality that runs through all the work, which was what initially drew me to it.
Bogart released his first album under his own name in 2016. His previous work had all been done under as the character Hunx, so this was his first chance to do something that was more a reflection of his actual personality. According to him, it was “like a weird teenager’s version of an adult album.”
One of my favorite shirts is a Seth Bogart design. It’s a pink patterned shirt covered with drawings of feminine products. I get compliments all the time on it, usually before people notice I’m wearing a shirt covered in tampon logos. I love it because it’s bright and happy. I also love it because there’s such a stigma about feminine products for no reason. It is absurd, but also a little subversive, keeping with the overall theme of Bogart’s work.
Bogart creates his clothing and objects line under the name Wacky Wacko, and maintains a studio in downtown Los Angeles. If you live in LA or nearby, you can set up an appointment to visit the Wacky Wacko Mini Shop. But you can also buy some of this stuff online. I love the shirts and I covet the ceramic objects. See below for some of my favorite picks from the current collection.
Go ahead! Buy something! Remember that every time you buy something from an artist, you are supporting their ability to continue creating. And living in a world where artists create is the ONLY THING THAT SEPARATES US FROM THE ANIMALS AND INSECTS PROBABLY DESERVE TO BE RUNNING THINGS MORE THAN WE DO. No pressure.