Art and Sociology Combined – Curt Jackson


A recent happy accident uncovered an incredibly awesome project called, The Creatives Project – who can best explain their project:

The Creatives Project was created in an effort to pay homage, elevate and connect artists with viewers and with each other through exhibitions, events, performances, and lectures. In addition, TCP’s is building a visual archive of the artists, musicians, and cultural creatives who support this movement and represent their city’s creative heartbeat.

Every shoot is a unique, collaborative effort between the photographer, the stylist and the featured artist. Each portrait seeks to document the artist, and is framed by what makes him or her unique: inspiration, influences, history, context, likes & dislikes, and on and on.

Whether it’s using a treasured object, an eccentric article of clothing, or a specially-chosen location, the unique characteristics of each photograph act as clues in helping the viewer to understand the artist’s work, aesthetic, or sound. The resulting portrait is an intimate look that aids in visually informing the viewer about where the artist came from, where the artist is going, and where the two intersect.

Curt Jackson
Image From: The Creatives Project
Photographer: Neda Abghari

TCP has always been drawn to the creative culture and those participants who have existed on the fringe, underground, or outside of the commercial world of art and music. Recognizing the isolation that so often exists for these artists, however, TCP has sought ways to use photography to connect and foster a sense of community.

[…]

Over the past three years we have successfully created 70 intimate portraits of creative individuals nationwide as a visual tool to gain community support through events, exhibitions, and fundraisers to help establish TCP as a non profit.

The beautiful surprise was a series of pictures about DJ’s and Producers. They were photographed in their home studios with their favorite childhood objects.

While all of the pictures are striking, one of the pictures seemed most appropriate to share with M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors. The picture, taken by Neda Abghari, was of Curt Jackson paired with the following quote from Curt:

I loved my collection of MUSCLE figures. I’d hit the drug store everyday before school and buy a few packs of 4 for a dollar. I guess you can say I was always a collector of the bizarre. also, my 1977 mork and mindy styled egg chair.

The University of M.U.S.C.L.E. reached out to find out a little more about Curt Jackson and his involvement with M.U.S.C.L.E. toys. Like so many other collectors, as a child Curt was drawn to the absolute bargain of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. He shared that he only received a small allowance, but was given a dollar each day for lunch. It was this extra daily dollar that allowed him to grow his collection.

He would go to the drug store before school to buy figures, most often a 4-pack, and then go without lunch that day. Curt carried on this routine until Mattel stopped production and the figures were no longer on store shelves.

Again, like many collectors, M.U.S.C.L.E. seemed to fade into the background of his life – until an unexpected event reawakened his passion. Curt had a friend named Taka who was from Japan. Taka noticed the figures and couldn’t believe that Curt knew about Kinnikuman. Of course, Curt had only known M.U.S.C.L.E. and was completely unfamiliar with the characters, comics, and history that actually accompanied the figures.

Taka began teaching Curt simple katakana and hiragana so that he could understand simple words in the manga. In turn, Curt helped Taka proofread his English papers and taught him about African American culture – which was very important to Curt because so often a gross distortion of African Americans is exported from America.

Over the years the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures have acted as a physical memento of Curt’s friendship with Taka plus a symbol of his love of Japanese culture. Curt has also kept them because, “they look fucking cool!”

Rotating Souls Records

The impact of M.U.S.C.L.E. and Kinnikuman on Curt is not only felt through his figures, but in much of his everyday life. For example, he plans on getting a Kinnikuman logo tattoo and he also follows @yude_shimada. Curt mentioned that he’d love to ask him about doing a special Kinnikuman commission. The art would hopefully be used as some art/design for one of Curt’s DJ aliases, “Blacktain America.”

Curt’s love of music, Japan, and Kinnikuman seems forever connected. The record label that he recently started, Rotating Souls Records, had its first release. The record has done well, but it appears that serendipity may have also played a small part in the success. According to Jet Set Records, Curt’s first Rotating Souls Records release was the #1 Funk/Soul release for the week of March 27th.

There seems to be a beautiful symmetry in Japan importing something that Curt loves and Curt returning the favor with the loving export of his passion fueled records.

For all of the wonderful assistance, permissions, and kindness that accompanied learning about the art and Curt, M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors owe a huge thank you to:

Neda Abghari
– Curt Jackson and Rotating Souls Records
The Creatives Project

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  1. #1 by stoneyface on April 20th, 2011

    that is an absolutely fantastic find! muscle spans all time and collectors!

  2. #2 by Uoozuman on April 22nd, 2011

    Great post! Makes me wonder how many other super rad collectors are out there that don’t know about places like UofM and LRG and visa versa…

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