“Let’s be honest. The 80’s didn’t really end until 1992.” –Iris Berry, musician as quoted in Cramp, Slash, and Burn.
John Scarpati wanted to be a painter. He wanted to be a rock star. He ended up neither—and both. Scarpati was the house photographer for the Sunset Strip of the 1980s, when Punk and Glam were twins. The era of indulgence and tangible allure (at the time intimate bedfellows) bred in West Hollywood didn’t really end until 1992—and thanks to John Scarpati, it remains largely intact, chronicled in his dazzling and often lurid photographs in his new book, Cramp, Slash, and Burn.
Blurb enabled the making of the book, which has detailings that reek of Aqua Net hairspray, leather belts and collars, dirty concert tickets, open tubes of mascara, steel strings of Gibson SGs…and rightly so; these are Scarpati’s mediums.
Brilliant and timeless photographs alternate between artists’ simple descriptions and more vivid recollections of Hollywood, glam, and punk in the 80s. This format brings the vibrancy of the rock era, complete with its melodrama and fascination with fame, into the collective conscience of the 21st century. Pleasant Gehman of the Screamin’ Sirens put it nicely, “John Scarpati’s rock and roll photos are iconic, plain and simple. I always thought of him as the LA music scene’s answer to George Hurrell.”
Scarpati’s photos from Cramp, Slash, and Burn will be on display (and sale) at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, California, from June 22 to July 1, 2012. There will be an exhibition reception and book signing on June 22, from 8-11 p.m.