Supreme Fall/Winter 2018: The artists, drag-punk performer and action filmmaker who have influenced the collection

Supreme Fall/Winter 2018: The artists, drag-punk performer and action filmmaker who have influenced the collection

Street collabs

Text: Aravin Sandran

Chris Cunningham's Rubber Johnny (2005)

Who: Chris Cunningham

Place and year of birth: Reading, England in 1970

Occupation: Artist and music video producer

Industry: Art, film, photography and music

Known for: The British artist is perhaps best known for his eerily transfixing music videos for electronic artist Aphex Twin, beginning with 1997's 'Come to Daddy'. In addition to taking photographs for bands, he has designed a bottle of Dom Perignon with Björk.

Inspiration: In 2005, Cunningham released Rubber Johnny, a six-minute creepy and experimental short film about an isolated and deformed teenager who is kept on a wheelchair and locked in the basement with his chihuahua. Shot in night vision and soundtracked by Aphex Twin, Supreme featured imagery from Rubber Johnny on a hooded sweatshirt and two T-shirts.

John Woo's The Killer (1989)

Who: John Woo

Place and year of birth: Guangzhou, China in 1946

Occupation: Filmmaker

Industry: Film

Known for: The Hong Kong filmmaker is widely revered for his meticulously choreographed and dramatically campy action sequences in his blockbuster hits such as A Better Tomorrow (1986) that launched the careers of Chow Yun-Fat and Leslie Cheung. 

Inspiration: Written and directed by Woo, the action film The Killer (1989) stars Chow Yun-Fat who plays Ah Jong, a Hong Kong Triad assassin who damages a nightclub singer's eyes during a shootout. To fund the operation that will save her sight, Jong accepts one final job — where he is discovered by Li Ying, a police detective. The film is famous for one particular scene where Jong and Ying go face-to-face in a slo-mo church shoot-out. Supreme featured imagery from The Killer on an M-65 jacket, hooded sweatshirt, two T-shirts and a skateboard.


Who: Tabboo! aka Stephen Tashjian

Place and year of birth: Leicester, Massachusetts in 1959

Occupation: Artist, theatrical designer and drag artist

Industry: Art, theatre and performance

Known for: A key figure in New York City's East Village's gritty club scene in the early 1980s, Tabboo! performed regularly at the drag-punk Pyramid Club. He designed the club's subversive advertisements with cartoon queens as well as record covers with an expressive style that became his signature. In stark contrast, Tabboo!'s personal paintings were classic and realistic still lifes of flowers and landscapes on stretched Belgian linen.

Inspiration: Supreme referenced Tabboo!'s club advertisements on two hooded sweatshirts, two T-shirts and a six-panel hat.

Mike Kelley

Who: Mike Kelley

Place and year of birth: Wayne, Michigan in 1954

Occupation: Artist

Industry: Art

Known for: Active in the West Coast scene from the mid-1970s, Kelley's interdisciplinary practice spanned numerous mediums such as drawings on paper, sculpture, performance, music, video, photography, painting, installation, assemblage and sound. He lifted materials from popular culture and subverted it to screw with its meaning. The diverse themes that he tackled include sexuality, religion, politics and class in America. He died in 2012 at the age of 57, and is considered one of the most influential artists of his generation. 

Inspiration: Supreme worked with the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts on a collection featuring images from Kelley's iconic artworks, More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, Ahh...Youth! and the Reconstructed History series.
Installation view, Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1, 13 October, 2013 – 2 February, 2014.

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