Friday, 7 December 2012

Binder, Edwards & Vaughn

Binder, Edwards & Vaughn were a design group specialising in psychedelic murals and paintings. They were active in London between 1965 and 1967, and during that short period they received a lot of attention from press, most notably The Sunday Times, and they attracted 'hip'  clientele - Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, London boutiques Dandie Fashions and Lord John and many others.
Their brand of psychedelia was characteristic for its rejection of Art Nouveau as an influence. They tried to make their work unique and forward-looking.
Doug Binder, Dudley Edwards and David Vaughn met in Bradford Art College where they studied in the early sixties. Binder and Edwards main designers, while Vaughn took on the role of a manager. Dudley Edwards remembers: The Input between me and Doug was 50/50. To begin with the earliest influences were the panted door fronts in the Asian ghettos near Bradford Art College. Those doorways glowed like gems in the dark. We also loved the dissonant color combinations they used. It was similar to the effect that Thelonious Monk would get on the piano. (...) There was also an influence of certain Marvel comics, like the backgrounds in Steve Ditko's "Dr. Strange" (Norman Hathaway, Dan Nadel, Electrical Banana, p 65).

Article in The Sunday Times Magazine, 1966. From left Doug Binder, David Vaughn and Dudley Edwards.

Binder, Edwards and Vaughn moved to London in the mid-1960's and set up a studio on Gloucester Avenue. They started out from painting and selling furniture. One of their earliest clients was their Gloucester Avenue neighbour, photographer David Bailey, whom they tricked into buying a painted chest of drawers by 'accidentally' displaying it right outside his front door. We thought, If we put a painted chest of drawers on David Bailey's doorstep in the middle of the night, it'll be the first thing he sees in the morning and he's bound to want it. It worked! (Hathaway, Nadal, p 65). Soon after they began exporting their painted furniture to USA, Canada and Belgium.
They also began beyond the furniture buisness. A design group Wolff Olins commissioned them to paint the facade of their studio.

 The address was number 81, so we used a combination of numbers and words, '8ONE' where the 'O' served a dual function as both a digit and a letter, all portrayed in 20th Century Fox style (Hathaway, Nadal, p 65).
They also started painting cars. They have painted a 1960 Buick convertible.

 The car have captured attention of The Kinks, who have used it for a photo on a cover of their 1966 'Sunny Aftenoon' EP.

The cover was noticed by Tara Browne, who commissioned Binder, Edwards and Vaughn to paint his AC Shelby Cobra....

...and a facade of his new boutique, Dandie Fashions

Through Browne, they have met Paul McCartney , who commissioned them to paint his piano.


Other famous projects by Binder, Edwards and Vaughn was a mural for Lord John boutique on Carnaby Street..


and  a mural for fashion departament of Woodlands 21 store.


Binder, Edwards and Vaughn parted ways in mid-1967. Dudley Edwards, who struck a friendship with Paul McCartney, was commissioned to do some more work for a Beatle. Paul called and asked if I was free, and would I like to stay at his place and paint a mural for him. Stash (Stanislas Klossowski De Rola) was staying there as well, so it was just the three of us. A lot of the time I got the feeling Paul wasn't really bothered with me doing a mural, really. He just wanted a mate around. So every time I started painting Paul would say, 'Let's go off to a studio and lay off some tracks' or 'Let's go to a nightclub' (Hathaway, Nadal, p 66)..
Edwards also did a mural for Ringo Starr.

 Edwards' mural for Ringo, 1967.

Dudley Edwards formed a buisness partnership with Mike McInnerney, an art editor of International Times. They did a few projects together, of which the most impressive one was the mural for The Flying Dragon Cafe in King's Road.


After that Dudley Edwards went into designing poster art. He is still a graphic designer today.

Because Binder, Edwards & Vaughn did not work  within a usual popular media, like album covers, posters or even ads, their work is not very well remembered today. But between 1965 and 1967, they were called 'The Beatles of the art world' and during their short existence , they had a tremendous impact on visual culture in Swinging London of the 1960's.

For the full story of Binder, Edwards and Vaughn (and more examples of their artwork) read 'Electrical Banana' by Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel.


1 comment:

Rebecca said...

An excellent and informative piece! It's a wonder the powers of London allowed the Lord John mural and not the Apple Boutique one by The Fool...

I've never seen the Dandie Fashions entrance work close up before, thanks particularly for that!

I will do my best to not outbid you on any vintage Petticoats.