It’s something about the eyes. The way they stare or squint or gaze over cheekbones. In his portraits, Los Angeles-based artist and illustrator Blue Logan captures a world of feeling on a two-dimensional page. His subjects—which often occupy the spheres of fashion and celebrity—are glamorous and beautiful, yes, but they are thoughtful, opinionated, ripe with perspective. It’s a gift to be able to render reality with truth and accuracy; it’s another thing entirely to breathe life onto paper. Whatever it takes to do that, Blue Logan has it in spades.
Born in the U.K., Logan grew up steeped in a creative household, where he learned how to, as he describes it, “create fun from nothing at all.” The spirit of freedom and invention informed his childhood, encouraged by artistic parents and uncles. The sketching for which Logan would later be so well known began as a holiday project, where he would document his travels. He soon got an itch to begin sketching people on the move. As luck would have it, Gianluca Longo, then fashion editor of the Evening Standard and a friend, asked Logan to join him at a fashion show. Logan arrived with his sketchbook and a ballpoint pen. The rest, as they say…
Logan moved to New York City in 2009 and quickly attracted the attention of editors and others in the scene. When he was still an early arrival, Paper Magazine described with a flourish Logan’s “iconic movement-driven mien” and an “uncanny ability to perfectly capture the tenor of any milieu.” He directed his ample talents towards painting the goings-ons at parties, concerts, and cafes. A staple backstage and in the front row during fashion week, Logan became a go-to for capturing a designer’s latest looks as models poured themselves down runways. A frequent collaborator with SIXTY Hotels, Logan’s work has been commissioned by Vogue, Elle, GQ, W, and the New York Times, to name just a few.
Below, Logan let us into his studio to talk literary pants, a childhood in paint, and the part of the day that’s always best spent lounging.
Former occupation and your most notable memory there:
I’ve worked in pubs and kitchens, I’ve managed some trendy bars, and done some cheffing. I used to cook a Sunday roast in London’s Clerkenwell for a few years. I also worked in a tattoo shop.
Your first experience with art as a child:
I grew up in a family of artists in an art studio. From the very beginning of my life, I was surrounded by paint.
What did your parents do for work?
My father, Peter, is a sculptor and makes kinetic art. I have recently come back from a trip to Japan where I managed to go and see one of his pieces in a stunning sculpture park in Hakone. My mother, Diane, is now making “up-cycled” garments, but her success came in the ’60s and ’70s as a milliner. She had her own line but also made hats for designers like Ossie Clark, and was frequently on the cover of Vogue. She also had a shop on Chiltern Street. My uncle is Andrew Logan, who created the Alternative Miss World and makes wonderful sculptures and jewelry from broken glass and mirror.
What was your first introduction to the SIXTY brand?
I had quite a busy New York calendar when I lived there. I called it “The City That Never Lets Me Sleep” in one of my murals, which is in Cheeky Sandwiches, on Orchard Street. I was often at things going on at SIXTY SoHo, and I lived in the Lower East Side for six years whilst SIXTY LES was being built, eagerly anticipating a pool for the summers.
How has your move to L.A. changed your work, if at all?
I think the access to the breathtaking outdoors and a new studio has enabled me to enjoy exploring new techniques and bigger canvases.
Iconic establishment you’d love to put a mural in:
Something expensive without limitations.
Best people-watching in L.A:
The dog park is proving to be fascinating.
Person in history you’d like to have illustrated in person:
Shakespeare. I love literature and I would be fascinated to meet him—to find out what inspired him, if he wrote all the plays, where he got his bardy pants. I don’t think he could or would have had my head chopped off if I messed up, which is a bonus, and unlike wanting to draw Lautrec or Da Vinci, I’m pretty sure I can draw better than he could.
What’s a day typically look like for you, from start to finish?
I start my day with the dog and the park. Then it’s a mix-up of work and food until it’s time for the evening walk. I like to work in the mornings and evenings best. Afternoons are meant to be lazy.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
BBC Radio 4, an Audible book (at the moment: Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Bleak House by Dickens) or some Spotify. I am listening to Khruangbin and Ninja Tune’s playlist at the moment.
Least favorite question people ask you as an artist:
“How long did that take?”
What are you currently working on?
A mural in Miami.
What book/ film/ work of art most recently captured your attention and why?
I like to read a few things at once. Currently on my night stand are: The Topeka School by Ben Lerner, The Best of A.A. Gill, Any Human Heart by William Boyd, Live Flesh by Ruth Rendell, and Conversations on Cassavetes. Last film I saw was the new Scorsese: The Irishman. Last exhibition was too long ago in London: Lee Krasner.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
“If you are looking for a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.” — Sam Levenson. Not the best ever, but it’s the most recent I read and advice is only as good as the roof on our dreams.