Studio George Hajian Charlie Rose & Peter Brown: The gay artist and his lover

  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    George Hajian
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Sammy Good
  • Client
    Queer Art Narratives

“Charlie Rose & Peter Brown: The gay artist and his lover” is a publication that focuses on the self portraits of NZ artist Charlie Rose, and his portraits of his lifelong partner Peter Brown.
The monograph is comprised of four seperate sections: an essay; a collection of seven letters from Charlie to Peter sent during 1972; a poem by Peter Brown written while Charlie was in hospital (subsequent to his death in 2017); along with the self-portraits and those of Peter—all compiled into a stitched folder fastened by a rubber band. The format of the publication is akin to a folio—a collection of items held together in a document binder.
The portraits’ section and the poem are stitched with the cover across 1/3rd of the paper width, allowing the portraits’ section to reveal the painting details as you double unfold the leaves. The letters—held together with rubber band within the folio, provide a glimpse into the artist’s and his lover’s life during 1972, illustrating a gay domestic scene and the friendships that were important to the couple. These are accompanied with annotations by the author.
The poem laid across five spreads creates a rhythm of memories and grief with a pattern of cadence, while the essay section sits loose within the folio, and invites the reader to interact with it.
The deliberate reading orientation swaps of the essay, breaks away from traditional one column norms to challenge established conventions and create a more interactive reading in a non-traditional non-conformist format, maintaining readability and functionality at the same time.
The publication is printed and hand-bound in-house as an edition of 100+15APs. The riso-pink overprints attempt to highlight and bring elements to the foreground, in an effort to increase the visibility of hidden lives, while the reverse book spine brings the artist and his lover together, as a reminder of their long, almost 50-year relationship.