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Do you ever notice the hairstyles worn by actors and actresses featured in films? These styles sometimes inspire movie goers to copy the look, and even create trends. Remember “Superfly?” Ron O’Neal’s character, Priest wore his hair long, suddenly brother’s who dug the look started perming and wearing their hair in that style if they could. And sisters were hard pressed to find hair rollers to purchase in the stores.
We often pay very little attention to the hairstyles worn by men in films, especially black men. A close cut, a bald head, and maybe dreads or an afro is what we are used to. Samuel L. Jackson however, is a whole ‘nother story. His hair style always fits his character.
In “Jumper” Jackson’s hair was platinum or a very nice, even, gray short afro. It really complimented his bad guy gray outfit. In “Black Snake Moan” he styled a salt and pepper near balding “do” that came with afro lamb chops, and as always, right in character. In “Jackie Brown” he had red hair, and a long ponytail with sideburns, perfect for the nasty character he portrayed.
The man responsible for not only Jackson’s different looks on film for the last 13 years, but the hairstyle of countless other celebrities is Robert L. Stevenson, Motion Picture Hairstylist. And now he’s adding artist to his resume.
The Museum of African American Art located at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall will host Stevenson’s art exhibit “Head Trips: Art as Seen Through the Eyes of a Hollywood Hairstylist” and will be introduced by Samuel L. Jackson.
The exhibit will display Stevenson’s collection of forty, limited edition lithographs in pen and ink. The exhibit will also be a retrospective of Stevenson’s 40 year career, displaying pictures of him working with top stars throughout the years. Wigs worn by stars in well known films such as “The Color Purple,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and “Flashdance” just to name a few, will also be displayed.
Robert L. Stevenson is the oldest of 12 brothers and sisters who grew up in the Jordan Downs Housing Projects in Watts, California. From owning a successful hair salon on Crenshaw Blvd to becoming one of the film industry’s most sought after stylist because of his creativity and attention to detail, Stevenson is now ready to let the world know he’s also an artist of a different sort.
“My art work is simply fun. When you look at my renderings, you will no doubt, identify with some of them or they will remind you of people you know. More than anything, I hope they bring a smile to your face,” Stevenson says.
A self-taught artist, Stevenson began doodling on movie sets as a way of passing time during long production days. He says his art is a tribute to his career as a motion picture stylist which has afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and so much more. And in the last four years the Emmy award-winning hairstylist has been creating works of art which include contemporary portraits of men, women and children in caricature with intricately drawn hairstyles and hair related accessories.
And if you want to have his artwork for your home the Head Trips limited editions lithographs, signed by the artist, can be purchased at the museum. Or you can visit the website:
“Head Trips: Art as Seem Through the Eyes of a Hollywood Hairstylist” exhibit kicks off Sunday, Aug. 17 at 2:00 p.m. and runs through Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.
The Museum of African American Art is located at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall – Macy’s 3rd Level, 4005 Crenshaw Blvd. For more information, call (323) 294-7071.
– Gail Choice can be contacted at