“I’ve always loved the aesthetic of mid-century modern houses, and the way their architects used materials like plywood and pegboards.

I installed this one in the Los Angeles studio of my production company, CONCRETE + CLAY, because it transforms the cinder block walls into a big gallery space that’s open to interpretation.

My archive of art and photographs spans 20 years, so I’ll change the pieces based on which ones I want to live among.

The setup isn’t precious. It’s designed to display works that can inspire whatever I may be doing at any given time.”

“I love the color scheme in this set of framed prints, which were identified as tourist art from PARIS, probably circa the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. I got them at a consignment shop in PALM SPRINGS.

There was a time when the great artworks and furniture from people’s desert dream homes would sell at second-hand stores for next to nothing. Now, it all goes to 1STDIBS.”

“The Fender Stratocaster was painted by Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, the famous artist and car customizer, while we were working on a TV commercial together.

His decals include an eyeball with bloody fingers and my name, which he spelled ‘D-O-W-E-E,’ the way it would sound when screamed with your head out the window of a speeding car.”

“I knew and loved BILL CLAXTON. The minute we met, I was determined to get something that passed through his hands and studio. This is his photo of Chet Baker. It’s beautiful.”

“This is from WILLIAM EGGELSTON’s GRACELAND SERIES, which LISA EISNER and I bought together many years ago. Dividing the portfolio was akin to the NFL draft:

Lisa got to pick first but could only choose one image, I went second and chose two. It was a smart system because while I may not have gotten my very favorite, I did well when my round came.”

“I took this photo of the Batmobile for KUSTOM, a book I released in 2000 that features customized things of all sorts, from plastic surgery patients to weird houses to cars. To me, the vehicle is a true American icon.”

“BERT STERN and I were represented by the same photography agent in New York. He knew how much I loved his LOLITA pictures, and surprised me with this signed print as a gift. It’s a perfect photograph to look at all the time. The color is amazing, it has a youthful spirit, and it’s an incredible representation of KODACHROME film. You’d be hard pressed to try and find a way to shoot something similar digitally nowadays.”

“This is an old photo of me taken at Beverly Hills’ historic Union 76 gas station by my friend MIKE TOTH. In addition to being a colleague and champion of mine, Mike was a great photographer who always had a camera around his neck.

We’d ride around in my 1970 CHEVY IMPALA — I’ve always loved fast cars — and he would capture the little moments we shared. Mike passed away last year, so it’s an image I particularly cherish.”


Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told toAnthony Rotunno

Dewey Nicks is a Los Angeles-based director, photographer, and the owner of
Concrete + Clay.

Did you see? Fashion illustrator Donald Robertson takes The Thick Questionnaire, inside stylist Jeanne Yang’s mid-century modern Los Angeles home.