You’ve probably came across Seth Bogart, the multi-disciplinary artist, in one form or another: whether that be with his zany punk pop ceramics or as the big Bogart personality with the heavy gelled black painted hair and shiny red suit or as the front man for Hunx and his punx or as the other more stripped down perpetually shirtless speedo wearing guitar wielding rockstar who just released the new album “Men on the verge of nothing.”
In his musical career he has toured and collaborated with Kathleen Hannah and had Shannon from Shannon and the clams as band mate in Hunx and his punkettes. Besides being a fixture in the L.A music and art scene, Seth Bogart also has a succesfull streetwear label Wacky Wacko with a fabric print collaboration with Saint Laurent for a mens shirt. In 2012 Seth Bogart launched a web series called “Hollywood nailz” likened to a bizzarro 80’s public access style variety show.
In 2018 the production company World of Wonder, who are the creators behind Rupaul’s drag race, created the web series Feeling fruity by incorporating Bogart and his handmade installations (a la Peevy Herman playhouse) into a variety show.
Trailer sampler for “Men on the verge of nothing”
“Library Fantasy Vol 1” currently on show at Fierman gallery in N.Y which compromises of ceramic replicas of books, true to size and displayed on shelves as in a bookstore. It’s a imaginary library of a septuagenarian pioneer of the queer community.
Don’t ever call Seth Bogart an influencer.
by Bridgette Read. Vogue, Feb 2019
What’s it like being a lifelong punk in a city as matcha-soaked and millennial-pink-hued as L.A.? If you ask Seth Bogart, it’s not as hard as you might think. “It’s my favorite punk scene,” the Tucson-born Bogart says of his home for the last seven years or so, where he performs as the frontman of Hunx and His Punx. “When punk started in the late seventies, in L.A. especially it was the most diverse here. It was lots of people of color, and women, and queers and stuff. Every punk scene’s just a bunch of white dudes for the most part, with some women sprinkled in. Here you have, like, Alice Bag, and the Go-Go’s, and Darby Crash.”
Bogart’s prodigious creative output—ceramics, painting, music, clothing design—feels like an oasis of DIY in a sea of unrelenting digital non-labor. A longtime West Coast fixture in the queer and punk art scenes, he takes up material culture from the fringe, and distorts Hollywood glamour into a freewheeling free-sex utopia. And even as it’s become harder and harder to stay autonomous as an artist, he remains staunchly, exhilaratingly fuck-you-oriented, even if the rent in L.A. is too damn high. “It’s sort of sad and hard, yes,” in terms of sticking it out, he said on the phone with Vogue in January. “But I still think that there’s so much going on here and it’s such a great city. I always want to move somewhere else, but I don’t really know where to go.”
Bogart started out as a hairdresser in beauty school and as a performer in the Oakland punk scene, and the marriage of two worlds—pop and punk—comes together in his career, which is now primarily focused on three things: recording a new album, prepping for an upcoming exhibition of his Beetlejuice-meets-Warhol ceramic objects in Chicago, and making new items for Wacky Wacko, his clothing line and curio shop. Last year, he hosted a zany Pee Wee Herman–style show called Feelin’ Fruity for World of Wonder in which he and comedians Kate Berlant and John Early make and model garbage-bag couture, in front of a set he made totally by hand with collaborator Christine Stormberg (a.k.a. Hardcore Tina). This was preceded by his initial foray into video with 2012’s minimall fever dream Hollywood Nails, described by Bogart and cocreator Brande Bytheway as “a nail-biting extravaganza of mostly useless products and pansexual hijinks!!!”
This has meant that he’s had a few confrontations with mainstream outfits that were looking to cash in on queer culture. When I ask about an aborted 2017 meeting with a nationally prominent news organization aimed at hip millennials, he says, “I didn’t walk out, but I was just like, ugh. They approached me with weird ulterior intentions. They wanted me to host some makeover show, but they didn’t just tell me that, so I shared all these ideas with them and then it just turned into them wanting me to do this other thing and that’s when I kind of was like, I’m not interested, bye! Because I’m not really trying to do someone else’s idea, you know? I mean, I like collaborating, but it was clear that they already had something in mind, and honestly I don’t really like that company or like a lot of what they’ve done and stand for.” Instead, Bogart looks to others who were successful without compromising their strangeness, like John Waters, Divine, and Kathleen Hanna: “I’m pretty grateful for my upbringing, and being punk, and growing up listening to Riot Grrl music, because I feel like it gave me a backbone.”
So how do you translate the Seth Bogart experience for the Instagram generation? He doesn’t, really (although he isn’t above posting the occasional studly selfie). “I generally hate it and wish I didn’t have to,” he says, of the ubiquitous drive to post. “I feel like it’s like selling myself in a tiny box.” And he hates the censorship most of all: “I can’t post a lot of art I make on there because it’s explicit, or there’s stuff I made it about, like hating men, that’s not even violent and it will get erased.” It’s ironic that what he does share, especially ingenious, irreverent ceramic objects like a Maybelline mascara wand that doubles as a bong and a toothbrush out of which crawls a stiletto, plays masterfully with the clean neutrality of the platform. “The reason I make all these products and stuff, I think, is because of brain damage from beauty school,” says Bogart. “I hate the fucking fashion world, it sucks, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the art world or Hollywood. I did like a Saint Laurent collaboration, where his doodled “Hunx Notebook” print was used on button-down shirts, backpacks, and lace-up sneakers for the Fall 2014 men’s collection, “which was cute . . . And then I was like, I don’t really want to follow these rules.” He favors other arty L.A. brands like Online Ceramics, Surprising Health Benefits, and No Sesso.
A second season of Feelin’ Fruity could be coming down the pike, but regardless, Bogart’s influence can very much be felt in the evolution of the weirder corners of Instagram and YouTube, or in Dis Magazine’s recent pivot to video. Just don’t use that word: ”Someone called me an influencer the other day and I was like, What? Fuck you.” As of now, for Bogart, the goal is to keep living and working, follower count be damned: “Every artist that I really like is someone who always did what they wanted to do, and didn’t try to do what would get them a lot of attention at the time, or do what everyone else was doing. And they just stuck with it and eventually people realized that and appreciated it. When I’m down or whatever, like, What the fuck am I doing?—which is all the time—I just need to trust myself and keep going, because it’s too late to turn back.”
Seth Bogart cut his teeth in the band Gravy train!!!! SF Weekly compared them to The Cramps if they were a sexed-up riot grrrl band.
It’s certainly not great music,” Pitchfork critic Julianne Escobedo Shepherd wrote of the 2003 Gravy Train!!!! album Hello Doctor, which she gave a score of 2.9 out of 10. “Its terribleness is trumped by its incredible disregard for human decency.”
Hunx and his punx was formed in 2008. They have a boneheaded garage punk sound along with the catchiness of a 60’s girl band.
In 2009 Seth Bogart appeared in an X rated version of the Girls music video for Lust for life.
p.s. Hey. ** Today the blog gets the big treat of this guest post from d.l. Ferdinand about the multidisciplinary wild guy artist of endless stripes Seth Bogart. If you don’t know his work, you will now or already do depending on whether you view this place from top to bottom or vice versa. Enjoy the shebang and give a verbal shout out to Ferdinand to express your interest and/or thanks. And thank you, F., from the bottomest part of the blog’s heart. ** David Ehrenstein, Very glad you found his work of interest. ** Dominik, Hi, D!!! It’s true I’m not wildly surprised that you like his work, but what a bonus. Okay, I’ll do a hunt for his new film with moderate expectations, thank you. It was a very good pizza. Best pizza in Paris possibly. When you finally visit the big P, we’ll munch there together. I can imagine that proof-reading would have a giant instructional booklet that one can take with grains of salt sometimes? Ha ha. Finally yesterday after years of scouring slave profiles I found one whose slave is looking for a master who knows my work and whose slave name is Frisk love, Dennis. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Yes, indeed, that Altmejd piece was on the cover of Derek’s ‘The Show That Smells’. Derek chose it and Joel Westendorf, the official LHotB cover designer, did the layout. I’m doing my new Julien Calendar exploring today as yesterday got away from me. I like so many of Sarraute’s books. If I had to choose very favorites, maybe, in addition to the aforementioned and ‘TGF’, ‘The Planetarium’, ‘Martereau’, and ‘The Use of Speech’. And, obviously, ‘Tropisms’ is insanely great. We’re squared away re: Skype, and I look forward to it! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. No, stupidly and temporarily tragically, I still haven’t watch ‘Twin Peaks 3’. Absurd, I know. ** Bill, It’s possible, about ‘Le Samourai’. It might have been on my top 50 films list, I can’t remember. I don’t know ‘Slow Machine’. Wow, I can’t remember the last time I saw a film characterised as ‘mumblecore’. That takes me back and also intrigues. Thanks. Toe continues to incrementally cease calling attention to itself. ** Misanthrope, You know I agree. Two weeks sounds sane. I don’t remember ever celebrating Columbus Day, but then I’ve never had a 9-5 job, and it seems like one of those dates celebrated only via maybe getting off work. Celebrating that dude is gross, if you ask me, but there are much worse problems. Internet/email has made everything to do with submitting work or manuscripts many infinite times better, yes. ** john christopher, Hi, jc. I totally and obviously agree about Altmejd’s stuff. Big indeed to you about that jingle. Still, to this day, when I remember it, it gets stuck in my head and tortures me for days. Whenever humanly possible, I do Halloween in Southern California. It’s the kingdom, the Mt. Olympus of Halloween with hundreds of home haunts and haunted house attractions, which are my soul’s oxygen. One would think London would have figured out how to bear hug Halloween and its incomparable possibilities by this point in time. Paris too, actually, but it’s a wasteland here as well. Oh, wow, thank you, I would love to get that Halloween pamphlet! I don’t give my address here, but send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll jet it back to you. Thanks a ton. I’m excited to read that. It’s cold here too. I might even have to pull out my scarf today for goodness sake. ** Scunnard, Hey JP! Great to see you, man, and thanks a bunch. You good? You seem to be doing good from the mid-distance that social media’s information providing talents allows. ** Steve Erickson, Ah, well, may your eyes show you impeccable patience. ** Nick Toti, Hi, Nick. Oh, cool. Will do. Thanks for targeting this bunch for feedback. Everyone, Superlative magnetising filmmaker Nick Toti has a request/gift for you. Here he is to explain: ‘I have a new cut of a short film that I’m hoping to get some feedback on. Would you mind sharing with the locals? If anyone watches and wants to let me know how it’s landing (good or bad), they can email me at diediemaomao @gmail.com. I’ll give them a “special thanks” in the credits for their trouble. Here’s the link. Password: wendy. Take care, man. ** Brian O’Connell, Hey, B. My true pleasure, of course, on the galerie show. I think our easy new restrictions will be very short-lived. Like you, but differently since the powers-that-be here are relatively sane and cogent, we’re in for a quite rough next set of months. Bertolucci’s ‘The Conformist’ is a great film. I definitely second the recommendation. Bertolucci pretty much totally lost it in my opinion at a certain point, but all of his films up through ‘Luna’ are varying degrees of great. ‘The Conformist’ is one of his very best. So, yes, go for it, and I’d be interested to hear what you think, if you watch it and feel like sharing its impact. ** Gus, Hi, Gus! Very good to meet you, and thank you for stepping inside here, and consider the door eternally open. No, I haven’t read Kier-La Janisse’s ‘House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films’. What a title. I had never even heard of it until now. Thank you a lot, I’ll go chase it down. I haven’t seen ‘The Moor’s Head’, and wow, it must be out there and viewable somewhere. Thanks a ton for that tip too. Ha ha, good old Cubby Branch. Back in 2000, there were a series of events at NYU celebrating my ‘George Miles Cycle’ books, and one of the events involved artists and writers and so on reading from my work, and Thurston read those liner notes, which was one of the most amazing and funniest things I’ve ever seen. It’s on tape, but it’s not public for whatever reason. Anyway, thanks. That’s my favorite SY album. Yeah, so stick around if you feel like it. What are you up to? What’s going on with you? Take care. ** Right. Please rejoin the Seth Bogart fest in progress. See you tomorrow.