daniel moon is the leader of the hair graffiti color cult
The Los Angeles hair colorist is painting heads with radical color and glitter.
i-D Hair Week is an exploration of how our hairstyles start conversations about identity, culture and the times we live in.
"You can't just throw color on somebody," explains one of the most inventive color artists in the world of hair, California-born Daniel Moon. "You can't just do that because it scares people. I care about people and need to speak their language and earn their trust. I listen to them and give them what they want." From pastel and electric hues to glitter and neon magic, Moon has created an effervescent universe of color. It is not a stretch to call his hair graffiti and neon coloring works of art themselves. David Bowie once appeared to Moon in a dream, advising him to create Major Moonshine, his line of dazzling glitter gels.
After doing color at salons like Ramirez Tran in Beverly Hills, he is now embarking on a color movement called Rain Bois, whose message is: "Love. Taking care of each other. We share glitter because if you have glitter on, then you're just like me and it's a language." Having created looks for Kanye West, Katy Perry, Kylie Jenner, and Madonna, Moon blurs the line between beauty and art, creating a range of vibrant colors reflecting the distinctive personalities of those whose hair he colorfully injects with life. For Moon, hair is a source of identity to be celebrated. We recently spoke to Moon about color, dropping out of the Marines to attend hair school, and Kanye West.
When did you start playing with color?
I started playing around with color in the 7th grade with my best friend Jack. We started experimenting with hair color and it was blue black because we were Hispanic boys and our parents wouldn't let us dye our hair any other color.
Do you remember what you used?
I think it was Nice 'N Easy.
And what led to experimenting with other people's hair?
I was the captain of my wrestling team. We went to a competition and the boys from Temecula Valley all had bleached-out hair and I was like, "Those guys are rad. We need to look like those guys." We had natural hair because our parents had no money so they couldn't send us to the salon. I was like, "I'm gonna make us look like Temecula boys. I'm gonna bleach us out. I know it's weird but I've been to the beauty supply store and I think I can do it." I brought the whole team over and tried to bleach everybody blonde. Not everybody could handle the pain that I could handle. I could only lift it as blonde as my friends would let me. So everybody ended up being kind of orange-ish. But as we continued to go to these tournaments, we started winning and everybody knew us by our hair.
When did you know in your gut that you wanted to devote yourself to hair?
After wrestling I joined the Marines at 18. My girlfriend was going to hair school at that time. In hair school there was nothing but girls and she would send me pictures of her and her girlfriends while I was at the base in Okinawa [Japan]. I would get a picture a week later, and they'd have different hair. I was like, "That's it. I'm tired of this Marine Corps stuff. I've been a man already. I can do hair. I love hair. I'm going to get out of the Marine Corps and go to hair school."
What inspired your creative approach to hair?
Music inspired me during the time I was getting into hair. During that time I was watching How the West Was Won by Led Zeppelin. I started to emulate Robert Plant because I thought he was super sexy and his hair was super dope. That's when I fell in love with creating an image. We all want to be in a rock and roll band, we all want to be the frontman, we all want that image. Eventually throughout this whole process I figured out the fastest way to do that is with color. The fastest way to make someone look like a lead singer is bleach their hair. Put hair color on them and then they look like a punk rocker.
What has led to your current process?
I like to make things new, I like to make people feel special. I had to figure out how to make special colors for people and the way that I figured that out is because I'm a sensitive person and I would ask people their favorite colors. They would tell me, "My favorite color is blue" and then I would make their hair blue and that would make them happy. I figured out how to make ten different kinds of blues for ten different kinds of people; make every individual an individual.
What can you tell me about your hair graffiti? Each creation is so unique.
The graffiti that I do are symbols now. I created symbols because of consistency. You need to have ideas, you need to have patterns and you need to be able to think fast. So I researched a bunch of products and found the best product that worked for me is Kryolan. They work under the blacklight. It's controlled and so well designed that you can write with it as if it was a graffiti can.
What's one of your most favorite creations?
One of my proudest moments was when I did Kanye West's hair. I was like, "Kanye, you tell me exactly what you want and I will do it." He was like, "Okay, I want something similar to what you have." At that time my hair was yellow and I sprayed black stripes on the back of my head. I was like, "I can't do it like mine because mine is mine and you are Kanye West. You are special and you don't wear my colors because you deserve to wear your own and I'll make something for you." I did and that was the best piece that I have ever made.
What does hair mean to you?
My philosophy means connection. I connect people with each other, so we know that we're not alone. We're here with each other. If I go to Paris and I have rainbow hair, and I see a girl and she has pink hair, she's like, "Oh, he has rainbow hair. He's just like me." And we connect with each other. Color is connection.
Text J.L. Sirisuk
Photography Daniel Cavanaugh
Hair Danny Moon
Styling Ethan Cowley
Styling credits, top to bottom:
Redd wears turtleneck Gypsy Sport turtleneck and overalls Seeker.
Jonny & Aaron from Request Models wear Gypsy Sport.
Harley wears Eckhaus Latta