Road Trip With Marilyn (RTWM) is the second photo essay (out of three) of a body of work that was created over a ten year period. This portfolio is entitled Endangered Icons.
RTWM involves a 1950’s “Normandie Starline Mod 1” beauty parlor chair, which I named Marilyn. Marilyn has a beautiful chrome dryer top with a pink chair that has an ashtray in the left arm and a swing handle on the right side that lifts the lower part for a leg rest. RTWM is the essay that in my mind, defined the Endangered Icons portfolio. In that, I was watching an old episode of a Huell Howser program where he reprised an episode of a Los Angeles beauty parlor that also functioned as a gathering place of the Fairfax neighborhood residents for decades. Untenable rents were ultimately the demise of the beauty parlor, but the row of Normandie Starline’s where women bonded for generations spoke to me as a cultural artifact – I had to find one!
After acquiring my very own Normandie Starline, I photographed RTWM between 2012 and 2015 at more than 60 locations across California and Nevada. The series includes images that juxtapose Marilyn against outdoor landscapes, studio work and street scenes. I found that Marilyn helped me in a couple of ways as a photographer working in my studio or in rural and/or urban setting. In general, Marilyn is a great ice breaker – her physical appearance attracts and pulls people into the space she is placed in. I believe her sisterhood at all the beauty parlors where they once lived would be proud of her.
About Craig Deman
Deman is interested in cultural artifacts that have helped to define life since the middle of the last century and has framed, colored and otherwise presented his otherworldly photographic imagery that reflects this life in a way that is timeless, iconic and unforgettable. He chooses his photographic art projects by first intensely observing corners of civilization – some well-trodden, others untouched for decades – over time. In some sense, Deman acts as a dutiful journalist, raising classic questions in our minds about who?, what?, where?, why? and when?, as we delve into his rich pictures that juxtapose dream states and very real life.
Deman’s work has been shown at the Building Bridges Art Exchange, Santa Monica, CA; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; Yucca Valley Arts Center, Yucca Valley CA; Black Box Gallery, Portland Oregon; Palazzo della Provincia di Frosinone, Frosinone Italy; Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA; Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA; Times Square, New York City; Pixel Rebel Studio, Santa Monica, CA and The Artists Gallery, Santa Monica, CA. [Official Website]