Joey George on Reflecting Identity Through Hair

Behind the Image is an ongoing series taking a more personal look at both established and emerging creative talent.

Joey George| Image courtesy of Streeters

Joey George, Hairstylist

Based: New York City
Representation: Streeters

How would you describe your work? What’s your trademark?
I would describe my work as sculptural, instinctive, and eclectic. Hair within the context of identity is quite primal for some, but for me, it is consequential. Hair can communicate authority, magnetism, and identity.

How did you first discover your passion for hair, and what led you specifically into the world of hair?
Creativity has been ingrained in me and has been my foundation since I was a child. From the age of 4 until I was 17, I trained professionally as a ballet dancer. Character development was essential for my performance. When I moved to New York City in 2006, I studied and graduated from the Aveda Institute in Soho. It was after my formal education that I was able to evolve traditional hair styling techniques by using hair as a creative outlet.

What other jobs have you had?
I am absolutely devoted to my craft and creative processes. I was an educator and contributed to product development for Oribe Haircare before fully committing myself to the fashion industry.

What inspires your creative process and influences your artistic vision?
Performance art, historical references, and different cultures are major influences in the work I produce.

What have you watched/heard/read lately that has inspired you?
I have been reading Marina Abramovic’s memoir, “Walk Through Walls.” I am completely obsessed with her personal stories and how she navigated her career, especially at a time when she had no access to the digital world.

What do you love about what you do?
The people I get to create with, their personal stories, and, of course, adventure. I absorb the vast cultural offerings of traveling and incorporate them into my creative process at every opportunity.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced professionally?
Navigating both a professional career and personal life.

What’s one thing outside of your work that you would like people to know about you?
Nature is healing! I moved to Staten Island, NY (the island of parks) in 2011, where I live at Sunset Hill between Clove Lake and Silver Lake Parks. My art studio is about 10 minutes from my house, in Snug Harbor Cultural Center, where I experiment and develop hair concepts, surrounded by the botanical gardens, an opera house, conservatories, and Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art.

Selected Work

Binx Walton by Stef Mitchell| Image courtesy of Streeters

i-D Magazine Summer 2021 Covers: The New Worldwi-De Issue
This is one of my absolute favorite memories, creating this hairstyle for Binx. Many of these came from hair tests I had done on friends in my art studio, which were re-created for this cover story.

Marina Abramovic by Scandebergs | Image courtesy of Streeters

Marina Abramovic for D Repubblica Magazine, 2022
Marina and I have collaborated for years on various publications. This story is one of my all-time favorites. I painted her hair black, and it was pulled so tightly into the longest braid, and it reminded me of her “relation in time” performance with Ulay in 1977.

Chloë Sevigny by Davit Giorgadze | Image courtesy of Streeters

Proenza Schouler F/W 2023 Campaign
Chloë and I have been collaborating on various projects for years. She is a New York City icon, and I’m very grateful for our friendship.

Olivia Rodrigo by Brianna Capozzi | Image courtesy of Streeters

Interview Magazine September 2023 Cover
My first Interview cover. Of course, I’m a huge Warhol fan, and for this cover with Olivia Rodrigo, I added several packs of human hair extensions for the feeling of abundance and luxury.

Taylor Russell by Jamie Hawkesworth | Image courtesy of Streeters

W Magazine Vol. I 2023 The ‘Best Performances’ Issue
Taylor Russell is not only an actress and artist but one of the most fascinating human beings I’ve created with. For this cover, we shot in LA. The sun had turned and left this bit of light on the wall of the studio we had been shooting in. Taylor ran over to it, and that was THE picture. It was a divine moment.

Amara Gisele, Zaya Guarani, Hiandra Martinez by Ricky Alvarez | Image courtesy of Streeters

Safe From Harm – A Film By Willy Chavarria
This is a behind-the-scenes still from Willy’s beautiful “Safe From Harm” film, and the day that we shot it was early January. There were so many people in the location where we were shooting. I was set up in a kitchen, which reminded me of those times when I did my family’s hair. It’s always in the kitchen. Working with Willy brings me to that feeling every time we are together — la familia.

Alexa Demie by Alana O’Herlihy | Image courtesy of Streeters

Pop Magazine #46 Spring/Summer 2022 Covers
I flew to LA to shoot these Pop covers with Alexa Demie and Alana O’Herlihy. I must have brought dozens of wigs to play and create various characters with her. It was a shoot I will never forget.