Go where people like you. That advice comes courtesy of artist Scooter LaForge, a man who lives by his word. In this installment of our new video series Zoomed In, we speak to LaForge, who has been a proud New Yorker since receiving a fellowship at Cooper Union School of Art in the early 2000s, following creative stints in New Mexico (where he’s from), Arizona and San Francisco. Known for his wild, colorful and frequently wearable designs, LaForge started out silk-screening T-shirts at a nightclub in Brooklyn. It was there that a buyer for Patricia Field invited him to create shirts for the Sex and the City costume designer’s flagship store. That placed him firmly in the tradition of other downtown artists whose works blurred the boundaries of genres and mediums.
Now LaForge works out of his studio in Soho, a space he’s filled with artistic inspiration (think: stuffed animals pinned to canvases, cartoon pop art festooning the walls and closets overflowing with exaggerated fashions). He describes his pieces as “art/fashion,” a term Patricia Field coined in the 1980s and that he helped revive when he began creating his one-of-a-kind pieces for her now-defunct Bowery storefront.
His paintings (usually done on T-shirts, jackets or pants) feature a bright color palette and a range of subjects—tongue-in-cheek versions of Richie Rich and SpongeBob, deranged smiley faces, a variety of monsters. The success of his collection at Patricia Field led LaForge to exhibit his art in places around the world like Stockholm, Vienna and Berlin as well as in stores such as Barneys and Dover Street Market. He has also painted one-of-a-kind pieces for music royalty: Debbie Harry, Madonna and Rihanna, to name a few. Going where people like you? Seems like a solid business decision.