Judy Blame by Princess Julia
We asked Princess Julia to write about her friend Judy Blame who died this week.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly where I met Judy first but it must have been in the very early 80s perhaps actually 1980 itself. There he was, coming up in clubland, that's where we made most of our friends in those days. You would see Judy at various gatherings always looking the part. I always remember him being turned out. Where he acquired his aesthetic to dressing came out of creative necessity, a compulsion we all shared, part of the ritual of getting ready to show off for the night ahead. It's something that never left him or me for that matter, it's something you just can't help doing and he never failed to put together an extraordinary and stylish presence.
Judy made things out of other things. Things that you wouldn't immediately see as physical adornments but he made them so. His process was intense, over the decades I've watched him intently as he's assembled together his signature pieces of discarded buttons, safety pins, old bits of string, oddments from a £1 shop, scavenged bits of discarded ‘rubbish’ and make something chic, an eye catching necklace, broach, a cap cascading with detail that you really have to study up close the stand back to get the full impact rather like looking at a painting. I've relentlessly asked him questions but Judy always has had an instinctual way of doing things. I would love it when he would show me his latest project. He'd excitedly show and tell me this and that, his twinkling eyes glinting and his dry wit making us laugh hysterically, those fluro pink toy soldier necklaces he did for Com des Garçons, the ragged key chains and that time he went out with an adorned frilly ladies g-string as a mask, he loved to make a statement and found great humour in them.
Paying attention to detail and then taking in the bigger picture has always been his style for himself and others and perhaps that's why somewhere a long the way he became the person to go to when, by the mid 80s, he began to acquire a name for himself in the fashion and pop industry. In those days the term ‘stylist’ seemed to be quite a novelty concept. You kind of roped your friends in if you needed help with something. His gang at The House of Beauty and Culture set a ground breaking vision of aesthetic that really changed the way you could live, the things you could wear, sit on or read.
I would see Judy Blame's instantly recognisable work pop up in the magazines of the day and this has carried on through the decades to the present where Judy’s endeavours are more relevant than ever. In more recent times I would pop over to his studio for a catch up where he would rush off to a back room and unearth all manner of collage work. I was always blown away. It wasn't until he joined his beloved Instagram (the only social media he was interested in) and began posting this archive that I realised how much stuff he had. You know Judy was very humble and shy about his work. And so when he had his retrospective show at the ICA I was so thrilled about it. It was a chance for Judy to show the world the full extent of his vision and trace some of his experiences. A life that changed attitudes and made a difference. His legacy stamped over our modern world.
'After years of troublemaking, drug taking & experimenting with every part of my life it seems the most radical thing you can do today is care for yourself & other people!' Judy Blame
Fernando Monroy is a Mexican illustrator currently studying in México city. His work references pop culture, reflecting the work of photographers, designers and fashion. Out Magazine named him one of twenty young queer artists to watch.