Spotlight: America’s sex archive with These Americans, T.A

Spotlight: America’s sex archive with These Americans, T.A
April 26, 2016 HT
In ART, CULTURE, FEATURED, FILM

Doug Rickard is the founder of American Suburb X and These Americans (T.A), aggregating websites on contemporary photography and American historical and cultural photographic archives. He was born in San Jose, California, in 1968, and studied History and Sociology at UC San Diego, receiving his BA in 1994. The artist currently lives and works in Northern California.

In our views, Doug has really set a bench mark for a well curated brand, that obsesses with art, culture, desire, fetish and American history. The archive, which is loaded with radical content from the 50’s, feels more like a museum than a titilating porn experience. The labour and extensive depth to the archive is a testimony to Doug’s commitment and obsession with American culture.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Doug Rickard of These Americans and talking about Girls, the archive, art, and other facts behind the brand. 

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Doug Rickard, I am an artist, a publisher (http://www.americansuburbx.com and http://www.theseamericans.com), an archivist/collector and I own T.A.  I am repped by Yossi Milo Gallery in NYC and Little Big Man Gallery in Los Angeles. As an artist I work with photography and appropriated visual material in all forms, in books, on the wall and video. All of my work deals with American cultural machinery, the 50’s through the now and also the internet. I have hijacked platforms like Google Street View (I spent three years making “A New American Picture”) and YouTube (“N.A.”) and I am neck deep in technology in all its forms. All of these moving parts are connected and reverberate out from the same general place – internal obsessions.  I grew up as the son of an American Christian Megachurch preacher and TV evangelist who fell from grace, losing his church over a sexual affair.  I had a very wild childhood and youth – and an extremely “American” experience that left me permanently kinked in some ways.  I think that all of my projects are driven from a need to provoke and to transgress on that which America holds dear. Obviously that is rooted in my own experiences.

For first time visitors to the website, how would you explain These Americans?

These Americans stems out from a massive archive (digital and physical) that I have built and continue to build ongoing. It’s taken shape over the last decade and presents itself in various forms like the website. My mind and my eyes are hungry and I have a relentless need to hoard and spit out a narrative from America’s cultural moving parts. I sift and I cherry pick, the site represents a sliver of this content, an archive that I call These Americans.  Fetishes, TV Evangelists, guns, war weapons, car wrecks, white familes going to church, civil rights riots, porn posters, mugshots, and on and on and on. It is a massive archive of material for me to bend and shape. 500,000 + items strong. 

How did These Americans and the obsession for American culture initially begin?

I had a need to express myself on a variety of fronts, the brand has started to take center stage or at least a shared stage in that expression. I am fiercely drawn American culture and youth culture, from the past and the present and it was a natural evolution for T.A. to become a brand.  I guess perhaps it was always going to happen even if I didn’t realize that at the beginning. Think of T.A. as a point of view, a desire to say “fuck you” with love.  All of my material fuels a perspective and an audience can participate in that perspective and that point of view. It’s an identification with a way of thinking, a shared love of visual firepower and transgression… and a love/hate relationship with the beautiful fatal car crash that is the United States of America. 

As a artist, how important is it for the photography for These Americans and the archive to be in sync?

I think that it is no so much as “important” but rather that it is embedded within, innate, part of the fabric.  Photography may be important to brands as a vehicle to display their wares and represent their collections, etc. For T.A. it is different, photography IS a component of the brand, part of its essence. The IG feed and the T.A. site perhaps make that self-evident.  The brand and the archive then existing as one…fuelling each other, kin.

How would you say your approach is different to others?

Perhaps a difference is in the archive itself – an archive and brand as one.  Other have roots in this act (appropriation, an archive of material) but perhaps the scale of material is something that T.A. has all to its own.  It is quite literally endless, expect gorgeous and unique things.

How would you describe a These Americans’ girl?

This girl has the ability to do anything she wants.  Be a sex object or say fuck you to sex objects and wear a burka.  This girl can celebrate her body or hate her body and celebrate only her mind. It is about choosing to be anything that she wants to be.  It is beyond irreverence, it is beyond independence, it’s simply a girl that does whatever she wants, period.

What’s next for These Americans?

Moving sideways and outward, T.A. clothing, books and other physical objects as a blank canvas for a highly charged point of view.  I suppose that at the core, everything is simply a blank canvas. 

In the coming months, expect to see more of These Americans on 1800 Paradise and a selection of both Men’s and Women’s T-shirts. Below you can get a feel for some of the designs and art work from the most recent drop.

For enquiries on next release, please email info@1800-paradise.com