& Gai Gherardi
The creation of l.a.Eyeworks was itself an act of breaking free. Starting as a single storefront on Melrose Avenue in 1979, l.a.Eyeworks was not conceived of as a “brand,” but instead as a platform that gave itself permission to resist norms and to think, design, dress, act, and speak without restriction. Eyeglasses as liberators of self-expression were the hub of a conversation from which the concept of “Uncensored Visions” evolved and radiated in many directions.
Where constraints were felt, questions were asked. Could a pair of glasses become a vehicle that advocates for women’s health? Could a retail entity engage with artists in a deep and substantive way? Could store windows evolve beyond display to talk to people who might never walk through the door, to offer commentary on culture and politics? Could an advertisement be a vehicle to campaign for freedom of expression?
(1) “ELECT TO THINK” broadside (1990 – present) to encourage voting.
(2) l.a.Eyeworks advertisement featuring Karen Finley (1990). Tagline altered to illuminate the artist’s historic struggle with the American government for freedom of expression.
(3) “SEE THROUGH WALLS” window slogan, 2018.
(4) “CHOICE” glasses (c. 1989); limited edition to support Planned Parenthood.
(5) “SEEING THROUGH YOU” lens cleaning cloth (2009); commissioned artwork by Barbara Kruger.
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