Stephen Sprouse: Xerox/Rock/Art
An Archive of Drawings and Ephemera
Edited by Carol McCranie, Javier Magri. Introduction by Deborah Harry. Text by Carol McCranie. Designed by Nick Vogelson.
Drawn from an archive comprised of 1,500 separate pieces, including 600 original drawings, color Xeroxes, swatch references and inspiration materials, Stephen Sprouse: Xerox/Rock/Art presents a revelatory look at Sprouse’s design work from the mid-1970s through the late 1980s--a period characterized by the artist/designer’s participation in and connection to the glamorous studios of Bill Blass and Halston and his embrace of New York City’s edgy East Village/ Bowery vibe. The works on paper included here reveal Sprouse’s unmistakable energy: his facile and powerful inked lines, his use of the Xerox machine which, in the spirit of Andy Warhol, allowed Stephen to vary gouache color applications. Sprouse’s fashion designs and sketches unmistakably capture the era of disco and punk. Inspirational muses represented here include Jackie Onassis, Patty Hearst, Patti Smith and Debbie Harry of Blondie. In 1978, Harry famously wore an off-the-shoulder creation in a concert that signaled Sprouse’s public debut and the two star talents collaborated for years (Harry also provides the introduction to this volume). Though he was recognized at the tender age of 14 as a design prodigy, Sprouse’s commercial success alternately soared and stalled, 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 the artist and his frenetic career.
Stephen Sprouse (1953–2004) launched his first collections in the early 1980s to immediate critical acclaim, selling in venues such as Henry Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. In the late 1980s, Sprouse opened stores on Wooster St in New York and at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. In 2001, Louis Vuitton incorporated Stephen’s designs into their product line. Sprouse died of heart failure, following a diagnosis of lung cancer, at the age of 50.