The name Tod Waters is a familiar one to nearly everyone who had any involvement in Houston's explosive and legendary music scene in the '80s and '90s. Popular for his notorious, insane, and sometimes dangerous theatrical antics with area punk bands such as Spunk - infamous for their over-the-top theatrics, pyrotechnics, explosions and gore, gained Tod both notoriety and local fame as he dominated the Houston music scene along with many of H-town's hardest-hitting bands of the era.
Passionate and influential, Tod also left his mark on almost every aspect of Houston's underground creative community at that time. Working as a visual artist and fabricator, including modifying, designing, and enhancing his own clothes and for many years living among a small and exclusive group of working artists; Tod was easily identifiable as a member of Houston's creative class - always active doing something unique and interesting.
Houston is a cultural patchwork of a city, a huge metropolis where many different types of people make their homes, where beauty is sometimes found in unexpected places. It's also a city where the twisted metal and cast off debris of construction and industry are sometimes the palette that creative individuals have used to fulfill their artistic vision. Tod Waters is one such artist, a person who sees potential in many different materials, and who has mastered many techniques in his quest to create interesting things. At heart he is a talented collage artist - Taking often abandoned materials and discarded junk and shaping them into new forms. That philosophy of regeneration and reuse has been a long running theme in Tod's work, and it seems right at home in Houston.
Like many artists before him, Tod went through some dark days. His band Spunk disbanded, and a breakup with his then-girlfriend led Tod to help drive another musician friend across the country to Los Angeles. He thirsted for a change of scenery and found work on film sets doing fabrication, and then at a screen printing company. That experience made him realize that a creative person could mass produce and control his own art.
He also had formed a new band named "Diefast" and wanted to create clothes to wear on stage at live shows. A friend allowed him to use her sewing machine, and Tod left the clothes he was making at her place, which happened to be discovered by Lenny Kravitz's stylist when he visited. Soon after, he was sought after by many of the rock elite, designing custom fashions for the members of Motley Crüe, and Poison, and many of the industry's biggest stars and such as Johnny Depp, Robert Rodriguez, Christina Aguilera, Prince, Steven Tyler, Britney Spears, and Alice Cooper. Over the years, Tod's special fabrications and costume construction work have been featured in films such as "Magic Mike", "Sin City 2", and "Machete 2", and more.
Tod continued to prosper in L.A., building a clothing design business that stayed true to the values he'd always kept as an artist - Junker Designs was born of hard work and Tod's ability to create functional art from found objects and other non traditional sources of inspiration - giving a distressed and apocalyptic look and feel to his functional and wearable line of clothing..
Junker Designs also offers a line of fashions and accessories for the rest of us, and Waters has been spotted scouting locations in his hometown, for a workshop/storefront during a recent photoshoot with model Olivia Hargrove (pictured) here in Houston.
I caught up with Tod Waters, and he explained his reasons for a planned return to Houston:
"It just feels like a chapter in my life is over and I want to do something else; and Houston is just cool- to see all the people I used to know and to see them all doing great things. I miss Texas and the Texas vibe - It's really different than LA."
Tod is the kind of artist who has drawn inspiration from his early experiences in the Houston art and music scenes, and it seems evident that he still feels the creativity that fuels artists of all kinds here. Waters continues:
"You can't replace the people or place you grew up in, and Houston in particular has always been about sticking to your guns and hard work. Those are values that were instilled in me early on, and I like to be around people doing great work."
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When talking with Tod Waters about Houston, it becomes obvious that he feels deeply connected here, and that having Junker Designs in town will be an exciting development for our city, where art, music, and industrial culture have often met and combined in extraordinary ways.
Tod finished our conversation by adding:
"I am excited to bring custom clothing to Houston. Each piece is unique and created by hand."
Houstonians will soon have the opportunity to see his work locally, and to experience Tod Water's wearable art. In the meantime, you can arrange for a custom fitting with Tod by contacting him at: http://www.junkerdesigns.com/ or on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/junkerdesigns