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Regulars / Bookshelf

Creative director of Clash magazine Rob Meyers shares his favourite books

Rob Meyers founded his multi-disciplinary creative company, RBPMStudio in 2008. Since then the studio has worked with various brands including Calvin Klein, Sony, Adidas, McQ, Cos and Burberry to name just a handful. Working with an array of people in the fashion, music and art industry, visual identities, editorial design, advertising, brand consultation and production have become RBPMStudio’s varied bread and butter.

Rob is currently creative director of British mag Clash, has been published by Rizzoli and is a lecturer at Central Saint Martins, so we were eager to find out what sat on his bookshelf with such a colourful and illustrious CV. Not only are his choices top notch but the stories and people that connect each of his selections is testament to the work he’s done and continues to do.

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Andy Warhol: Wild Raspberries (photography by Kristy Noble)

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Andy Warhol: Wild Raspberries

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Andy Warhol: Wild Raspberries

Andy Warhol: Wild Raspberries

This is the strangest and most fantastic book – it is essentially a 1950s cook book with illustrations by Andy Warhol and recipes by socialite and interior decorator Suzie Frankfurt. Suzie commissioned Warhol when he was the art director of publishing house Doubleday in 1959. It’s now largely considered as the first book Warhol ever actually produced. It was never actually put into production other than the few copies that were printed as Christmas presents for friends until Frankfurt’s daughter found the original sheets in a box of her mother’s things. It was then put into a short production in 1997.

The copy I have is a first edition I found buried in a pile of books in the famous Strand Bookstore in New York City. I found it the night I moved to New York as a teenager in the summer of 2005, I had no friends when I first arrived, so I would spend my nights in the Strand going through their insane book collections – it was open until midnight seven days a week, so it stopped me from feeling like a loser. This book will always hold a very special place in my heart and bookshelf.

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David Douglas Duncan: The Private World of Pablo Picasso (photography by Kristy Noble)

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David Douglas Duncan: The Private World of Pablo Picasso

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David Douglas Duncan: The Private World of Pablo Picasso

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David Douglas Duncan: The Private World of Pablo Picasso

David Douglas Duncan: The Private World of Pablo Picasso

This book was a gift from David Owen at IDEA Books – he knew I’d love the concept behind the book, presenting stunning and at times utterly bizarre private images of Picasso at home. I love the contrast of the classical architecture of his home against his very modern work, especially the sculptural pieces. The art direction is also rad, with unusual images placed in prominent positions and wedges of uncoated power blue paper stock staggered throughout the book for the copy, almost as a visual break.

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Ari Marcopolus: Stoopz (photography by Kristy Noble)

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Ari Marcopolus: Stoopz

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Ari Marcopolus: Stoopz

Ari Marcopolus: Stoopz

This is the first Ari Marcopolus book I owned, it is now very rare and one of the most desirable skate culture publications out there (someone told me the other day they now sell for around £800). Having been a lifelong Ari fan I had always bought his fanzines from Dashwood books when in NYC, but when he worked with Aaron Bondaroff’s OHWOW publishing in the late 00s to produce this they somehow managed to keep the feeling of Ari’s fanzines but in 300-page book format.

In 2012 I was lucky enough to be introduced to Ari by Benjamin Nieves (of Nieves publishing) and within six months I commissioned Ari to shoot lead singer of Sonic Youth Kim Gordon for the magazine Clash where I’m creative director. It was an awesome day, we shot in my friend’s loft in NYC, with the two of them googling pictures of their younger selves together (they’ve known each other since the early 90s). Ari and his style of organic, free thinking production will always be a huge inspiration to me.

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Bruce Weber: A House Is Not a Home (photography by Kristy Noble)

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Bruce Weber: A House Is Not a Home

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Bruce Weber: A House Is Not a Home

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Tim Street Porter: Interiors

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Tim Street Porter: Interiors

Bruce Weber: A House Is Not a Home and Tim Street Porter: Interiors

I’m a massive interiors geek – growing up my mum was an interior designer and it had a lasting effect. These two books show the brevity of my interest in the subject matter. A House Is Not a Home by Bruce Weber is one of my favourite photo books ever, showing incredible portraits of the home owners. The different homes he features are truly inspirational to me. The cover of the book, with no title, just an image of a classical chair is one of my favourite book covers ever.

Interiors by Tim Street Porter is another one of those genius IDEA Books finds – the houses featured are literally insane, shot super classically, but showing off some of the strangest interior design choices I have ever seen (giant ketchup bottles, lounge sunken car chassis and ceiling adorned ‘aeroplane trails’ to name but a few). The art direction is also brilliant and the 45 degree ‘notes’ on each image is a dynamic and brilliant graphic choice to make.

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Ginger Gordon: The Virgin Sperm Dancer (photography by Kristy Noble)

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Ginger Gordon: The Virgin Sperm Dancer

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Ginger Gordon: The Virgin Sperm Dancer

Ginger Gordon: The Virgin Sperm Dancer

Another bizarre short run publication issued in 1978 as a special edition of Amsterdam based sex magazine SUCK (which also features a lot in my bookcases). It tells the photographic journey of a boy who one day wakes up a girl and embarks on sexual adventure to discover her new body – the book documents this journey in every explicit detail. Just finding these few spreads to shoot was very difficult as its pretty x-rated. But for me the thing that makes this book exciting is the art direction, its classical typesetting is so unbelievably ballsy, and at times utterly ridiculous. I love the fact it reminds me of a time before computer-based grids, when books, images and type were laid out solely on visual impact, something I always try to bare in mind when designing.

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Interview magazine: 1970 – present (photography by Kristy Noble)

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Interview magazine: 1970 – present

Interview magazine: 1970 – present

I’m aware these aren’t books, but I couldn’t do a feature on my bookcase and not mention my insanely huge collection of Interview magazines. I started collecting when I was about 16, the same time I started to buy the Face, pretty much for the same reasons – pure, unapologetic visual dominance. Interview’s 1970s spray art covers (by illustrator Richard Bernstein) monopolise the percentage of my collection solely for their colour pop visual perfection. Only to be rivalled by the early 90s split between art director Fabien Baron and Richard Pandiscio. Both art directors now hold rank as two of the biggest commercial creative directors in the world, but back in the 90s they were just ballsy young art directors with a vision and a dream.

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Japanese style books (photography by Kristy Noble)

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Japanese style books

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Japanese style books

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Japanese style books

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Japanese style books

Japanese style books

A bit of a curve ball here – my personal style is, or has always got me attention, from wearing a blue mohawk and glitter tears in high school (you can imagine how well this went down in a pretty brutal Northern state school) to my ‘Boombox’ club kid years of Bratz Doll inspired 10” double hair buns and more glitter than Ziggy himself would have known what to do with. But through it all, from the age of about 13, my day-to-day looks have been inspired by historical Japanese street style, from Super Lovers and obscure skate and street labels, to luxury designers and traditional costume. These days my looks are much calmer, but you can definitely still see those references in what I wear. These are just a few of the looks that have inspired me over the years. I remember at 15 seeing the spread of the guy in a yellow hoodie, kimono and pair of Nike Cortez’s and thinking it was the coolest look ever, and I don’t far disagree with that today.