Paula Gately-Tillman, 2018
Paula Gately Tillman's monograph, Fringe, features black and white darkroom photography that gives a rare and often never-before-seen glimpse into the pivotal fashion, drag and music scenes of New York and Atlanta from 1984 to 1997. During that time, Tillman photographed cultural and LGBTQ icons early in their careers, including legendary drag performers like RuPaul, Jayne County and Lady Bunny, Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey (World of Wonder), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Brant Mewborn (Rolling Stone), Tish and Snooky Bellomo (Manic Panic), John Kelly (performance artist), the cast of the American Music Show, Lady Miss Kier, and Nelson Sullivan (videographer). Many of the photos featured make their public debut in Fringe, which is Tillman's first published work. Produced in a limited run of 200 artist edition box sets, it includes the book Fringe, its companion Nostalgia (featuring ephemera and personal photos that supplement the narrative of Fringe), and a signed digital print.
Fringe is divided into four main sections including a foreword by Kristen Hileman (senior curator of Contemporary Art, Baltimore Museum of Art), portfolio section, Tillman's memoir ("Behind the Lens"); and "Conversations," which feature subjects and acquaintances from New York and Atlanta, giving stories and context to her life's work. Each section is divided with a foil stamped short sheet and an index of subjects written in her own hand, emulating her photo archive and ritual practice of journaling.
With Paula, we conceptualized the idea of "fringe" to describe not only her subjects and interactions with them but also to inform the design. Playing off that idea, we wove Paula's voice and stories throughout the book with narrative captions in the margins of every page. Her ironclad memory reveals details about her photos, like Ru Paul's "Nirvana mesh top" or what it was like to walk into the Manic Panic store in 1986.
“I believed in the book from the get-go. I never had a doubt about the book design, ever. I always knew it would turn out to be really spectacular and, of course, I rave about Ashton. I have everything good to say about them.”
PAULA GATELY TILLMAN
The book and artist edition box set has since won both an Art Directors Club and Mid-Atlantic Print Excellence award since its release in December 2018. In coordination with the book design efforts, Ashton helped market the book through the management of social media and the creation of various print/screen based promotional pieces. Each piece adhered to and expanded upon the design language of the book and included invitations for the book launch, private book parties, promos for auctions, and updating Tillman's website.
Awards & Recognition
2019 Communication Arts Award and CA Design Annual 60 Featured Project
2019 Art Directors Club ADC Awards, Publication Design Merit Award
Best in Category and Best in Show at the PGAMA (Printing & Graphics Association – Mid Atlantic) Excellence in Print Competition