John Samuel Waters, Jr. (born April 22, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector, who rose to fame in the early 1970s for his transgressive cult films. Waters' 1970s and early '80s trash films feature his regular troupe of actors known as the Dreamlanders—among them Divine, Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, and Edith Massey. Starting with Desperate Living (1977), Waters began casting real-life convicted criminals (Liz Renay, Patty Hearst) and infamous people (Traci Lords, a former porn star).
Waters dabbled in mainstream filmmaking with Hairspray (1988), which introduced Ricki Lake and earned a modest gross of $8 million domestically. In 2002, Hairspray was adapted to a long-running Broadway musical, which itself was adapted to a hit musical film which earned more than $200 million worldwide. After the crossover success of the original film version of Hairspray, Waters's films began featuring familiar actors and celebrities such asJohnny Depp, Edward Furlong, Melanie Griffith, Chris Isaak, Johnny Knoxville, Martha Plimpton, Christina Ricci, Lili Taylor, Kathleen Turner, andTracey Ullman.
Although he maintains apartments in New York City and San Francisco, and a summer home in Provincetown, Waters still mainly resides in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, where all his films are set. Many of his films take place in a neighborhood called Hampden. He is recognizable by his trademark pencil moustache, a look he has retained since the early 1970s.
Jeffrey "Jeff" Koons (born January 21, 1955) is an American artist known for his reproductions of banal objects—such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces. He lives and works in both New York City and his hometown of York, Pennsylvania.
His works have sold for substantial sums of money, including at least one world record auction price for a work by a living artist. On November 12, 2013, Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York for $58.4 million, above its high $55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction. The price topped Koons’s previous record of $33.7 millionand the record for the most expensive living artist, held by Gerhard Richter, whose 1968 painting, Domplatz, Mailand, sold for $37.1 million atSotheby’s in May. Balloon Dog (Orange) was one of the first of the Balloon Dogs to be fabricated, and had been acquired by Greenwich collectorPeter Brant in the late 1990s.
Critics are sharply divided in their views of Koons. Some view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work askitsch: crass and based on cynical self-merchandising. Koons has stated that there are no hidden meanings in his works, nor any critiques.