The Great Seth Bogart On Personal Branding, Wacky Wacko’s and His New Album
Posted by Isabelle 8 months ago in Interviews
(Photo cred: JJ Stratford)
There’s really no one like Seth Bogart.
That’s probably because Seth Bogart is, or at least acts like, about five people. He’s a musician, a visual artist, a designer, an LGBT idol, a TV actor/director/producer and … shit, anything that requires creative expression. Somehow, some way, he’s managed to combine these seemingly disparate personalities into an ultra-cohesive brand around himself; one with an immediately recognizable image and feel.
In all of Seth’s work. the remnants of his previous life as a hairdresser meld with objects of musical obsession, an aesthetic the LA Times described perfectly. “In the corner of the vanity that appeared last summer was a Miley Cyrus ticket stub and a Bikini Kill button,” they wrote about his much-acclaimed visual art show last year. “His clothing line, Wacky Wacko, features T-shirts with his drawings of artists like Marc Almond, Lil Kim and Darby Crash. In his art, pop meets punk is a cult-y collision that’s a lot like his music.”
This is a big ass month for Seth, the man formerly known as Hunx from the band Hunx and His Punx. He’s dropping his first, self-titled solo album on February 19th, his art studio/fashion brand Wacky Wacko’s in Echo Park is reopening at the end of the month (and will feature t-shirts with his drawings of Lil’ Kim, Marc Almond, Darby Crash and more, all of which were very popular at RuPaul’s DragCon last spring), and he’s finalizing the details of his live shows, which are rumored to mirror his recent gallery show at 356 Mission (which also served as the set for his now infamous “Eating Makeup” video). If that seemed like a long sentence, it fucking was because this dude is everywhere doing everything, and it all looks like a sexually arousing public access TV commercial for pheromone cologne.
We caught up with him to ask him how the hell he pulls all this off, what contributed to his obsession with beauty products and how he created such an ubiquitous brand around himself by just … being himself. We also got some much-need advice about our hair and found out something no one, not even you, knows about the making of his album. Read on!
You’re involved in pretty much every mode of creative expression right now, from music to art to fashion. You’re omnipresent and all-knowing. How do you do it, and what planet are you from?
All I can say is that it’s important to follow your dreams.
Was it your intention to create such a cohesive brand around yourself? Your art, music, design, and TV work all come together so seamlessly with such a direct message.
Recently I’ve become obsessed with branding myself ever since I saw this psychic a few years ago who told me I needed to put my name on things I make. Until then I had never used my birth name on literally almost anything. Now I’m addicted. I love over-doing it.
What caused your deep and undying love for beauty products?
Beauty school gave me brain damage.
Are you trying to make any broad, art school-esque statements about consumerism or the vapid facade of commercial manipulation with your art? Or is it just shit you like and we don’t need to overthink it?
Haha, I was joking with my friend Peggy (Noland) about this about how we think so, but don’t really know. And that we’d like some college student to do a paper on it so we can figure ourselves out.
Wacky Wacko’s is reopening with a bunch of your art printed all over clothing that people will put on their bodies, very close to their vital organs. Can you tell us a little about the re-opening and what’s in store for the … store?
It’s re-opening on Feb 27 and my best friend Peggy Noland is opening a shop at the same location! Two-in-one. I’m very excited because she’s also one of my favorite artists and her shop in Kansas City (Peggy Noland Kansas City) is one of my favorite shops in the entire world. Our other best friend Christine Stormberg has her art studio in the back of the shop and is helping up create a huge installation outside of the shop and inside too. It’s kind of a total dream to get to do this with Peggy and Christine and have a creative HQ together. They are both so inspirational.
I’ve read that you get shy when you see people wearing Wacky Wacko’s stuff. What should a fan do if they see you in public?
Give me candy or if they are really hot, their phone number.
Who are some musical artists that influenced your aesthetic, and how do they play into your art and designs?
Le Tigre and Tracy and The Plastics are two artists that influenced the live show that accompanies this album. Aesthetically I was kinda influenced by Shampoo and Plastic Bertrand. Video-wise I was influenced by Devo, Aqua and Toy-Box. Other music that I was inspired by making this record: Nina Hagen, Kraftwerk and Broadcast. And Julian Casablancas … I still love him and if he’s reading this, 1) Can we do a duet and 2) Do you ever do gay stuff?
Your upcoming album is your first solo project. What feeling do you want it to give people? What do you imagine them doing when they hear it?
I want them to smoke weed and dance and possibly have sex although that would be creepy maybe and I don’t think of my voice as a turn on.
What’s something no one knows about or the making of it?
I was SO HIGH THE ENTIRE TIME WE RECORDED. Also I’ve known Cole MGN (producer) since like 2006 but never got to do music with him ’til a few years back.
What can we expect from your live shows? Word on the street is they’ll mirror your “Eating Makeup” video and LA art installation.
I have a LOT of surprises in store for the record release party Feb 19. And there’s a visual video backdrop during the show too made by my friend JJ Stratford of Telefantasy Studios (www.telefantasystudios.com) and she is incredible and I’m totally obsessed with her work.
Personal question: What’s your favorite pizza?
Dominos Cheese P.
You’re really hot, but I have a vagina. Why do you love Bernie Sanders so much?
He gives me hope for the future. He seems like he has similar politics to a lot of my friends and it’s refreshing to hear someone on TV saying that they can say whatever the fuck they want because they turn down corporate funding and don’t have to lie about anything. Seriously, I almost cried just listening to him speak. And for an old white man, that’s insane. I hate old white men.
Best haircut for someone with an oval face and semi-Jewish heritage whose resolve has withered over the years yet paradoxically excels at remembering birthdays?
Fry your hair w/ bleach and go for something triangular.
Word on the street is you love malls. What stores did you hang out in as a kid/ do you hang out in now?
Spencer’s and Claire’s. I hate Victoria’s Secret but can DEFINITELY get into Forever 21.
If you live in L.A., you’d best get your ass to Seth Bogart’s album release party on February 19th at The Echo. Seth is a character enough as it is, but he’ll be flanked by even more musical personalities of force and glory like our girl Chela, Geneva Jacuzzi and Cold Beat.