How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I survived a trip to Little Rock unscathed, and a little surprised at the 78 degree weather. In my bag I’d thrown gloves and jackets and long sleeve shirts for the assumed wintry Armageddon that is North Arkansas in November. Not so much, as it turns out.
I flew through Houston and had an hour layover, and there’s not much you need to know about the Houston airport, besides the fact that there is a Bass Pro Shop inside the airport. Like, PAST the security. You would have to be a traveler to access the store. Secondly, they were playing a video of three women in chest high lake water catching catfish with their bare hands. More importantly, I was the only one who thought this was disturbing. No one else even looked at the screen. I’ll take the gangs, mudslides, riots and earthquakes in LA any day. Just keep me away from those terrifying fisherwomen.
This weekend we cruised on over to Bergamot Station and checked out a few of the openings, ran between buildings in the rain, and tried not to get bummed out because none of the galleries were serving beer. Normally, Bergamot has some great galleries with more than enough thoughtful and impressive work to really make me excited about contemporary art. But Saturday night, this was not the case. A few months ago I asked that we put a moratorium on some photographic trends (like naked girls in animal masks) so I thought we might do the same for the other disciplines. Strap in, this is going to hurt.
I know, I know…Disney represents a slow whitewashing of history, the corporate-ization of art and culture, pop culture in general, blissful ignorance on a grand scale, loss of innocence, and on and on. But holy hell, you’d think that Mickey Mouse was the ONLY thing that was metaphorically representative of these ideas. Disney is a cheap and easy target. Everyone knows Disney takes a good idea and runs them through a computer to make a bad idea. You’re not even trying! Make me work for it! Stop looking at SoCal art and go to an actual honest to god museum.
Making a word/phrase in neon lights does not A) Make your uninteresting thought interesting, B) Replace your flaccid concept with substance or C) Deserve a place on a wall. Somewhere there is a Coors Light sign that can’t be made because you needed to make a sign that says “Asshole.” True story.
POEMS ON PHOTOS.
Not to attack photography again, but there was an entire show of photos on canvas (which is obscene to begin with) with stanzas of poems or journal entries imposed over them. A picture, my friend, is worth a thousand words. Not a thousand and thirty four. This is kind of a rookie move and I think it was a vanity show, so I’m not going to go apeshit, but if I wanted to read your diary I’d subscribe to your blog.
MARK RYDEN RIP OFFS.
Still, despite the fact that this is 2012 and there is the internet and phones that let you look up Yelp reviews of things and libraries and AOL and Wikipedia, people are still insisting that the only way they can paint is to make Mark Ryden rip offs. Mark Ryden, however copied and imitated and worshiped, is actually a damn fine painter with an incredible catalog of work. If you’ve stood in front of one, you know they are seriously incredible. I could totally get on board with this 14 years ago when Ryden was blowing people’s minds and freaking out Christina Ricci, but now, unless you’re 16 years old and drawing on your Trapper Keeper, leave the big-eyed ferrets to Mr. Ryden.
Ugh. I’ve been conflicted about writing this part since two weeks ago. Kickstarter itself is a pretty amazing idea and I’m glad to be around in a time when it’s widely used and, for the most part, used well. I’ve seen a lot of good ideas get money and things brought to light that might not have ever existed had it not been crowd-funded. However, the emergence of sites like Kickstarter and others have allowed some artists to get lazy. Every artist has an overhead. Paint is expensive, cameras, film, computers, guitars, really good kitchen knives…all expensive. Even you, kooky conceptual artist, who wanted the internet to pay all her expenses related to a performance piece, you have expenses and I expect you to foot the bill. Or at least the bigger portion of it. What I hear when I’m asked for money is that you don’t have faith in your own art, and that you’re not ready to do the hard work it takes to manifest it. Art is risky. Sell your blood. Get a roommate. Ride the bus more. Beg your parents. PUT YOUR OWN NUTS ON THE LINE FIRST. And don’t let a lack of funding get in the way of anything. Art is solving problems. Your first problem is that you are lazy and broke. Fix those problems, come back to your idea.
I’ll see you guys Thursday.. maybe. If I’m not recovering from a wicked food coma while watching a stream of Disney movies on the couch in my Mark Ryden underpants.
It has been a beautiful grey day in Santa Monica. Of the things I miss about Memphis, cloudy days and thunderstorms are pretty high on the list. Cloudy days are like leap years around here and you really have to enjoy them while they are around. But good lord, don’t ever tell anyone from SoCal that you miss clouds. I did that once and was nearly physically removed from the restaurant I was in.
This is Darcy from Industry Model Group.
There’s a few more of her on the site so you should go check those out if you’re not too busy. Click any photo for a redirect.
About a month ago a model whose work I really love contacted me to shoot with her while she was in town. I cannot honestly tell you how excited I was about the prospect of working with her. She’s something of an internet star in the tumblr world, and I had some great ideas with her in mind. We emailed back and forth, sent each other photos as inspiration, the whole nine. A few days before she arrived she asked me about availability over a couple of days and I emailed her what worked. And then nothing. She completely left me hanging. Didn’t hear from her again. I sent another email but never got a response.
To be frank, I was crushed. So much build up, so much anticipation. Being in LA has meant it’s been easier to find people who run along my same wavelength, but it’s always exciting when you feel like you’re really going to connect with the person in front of your camera, and there’s chemistry from the onset. I was bummed for a couple days for sure, and, in the true art-nerd way, internalized the whole thing, ultimately taking it completely personally. Two weeks ago, I was approached by someone in town that I was pretty excited to work with. Same story, really. Back and forth, exchange of ideas, happy anticipation. We set a tentative date and she bailed last minute. We set a solid date and she flaked completely. Meanwhile, as a special kind of “fuck you,” she’s popping up in my FB feed every ten minutes with updates about this and that.
Two in a row! WTF, bro? So this is my question: How do you other artists deal with this kind of thing? What is the secret to not getting some completely wrapped up in the shittiness of all of it? How do you avoid getting all butthurt at the people in the world who are most likely not bad people, but a little careless with communication? I would love to hear your solutions.
To calm my nerves, I’ve posted some photos of clouds that happened in Santa Monica this weekend. Calming, soothing clouds. Pinks and yellows. Let the puffy puffiness wrap around you. In all seriousness, it was pretty spectacular. It’s completely true about LA, there’s rarely a cloud in the sky, so when it happens, people freak out and stop traffic and everyone gets out of there car like that REM video “Everybody Hurts.”
Shooting stills for a movie was really cool work. A bit of a departure for me, but overall a fantastic experience. I got a lot out of watching the director interact with the cast and seeing how he was able to inspire cohesive and convincing performances. As a photographer who works with people both commercially and in my personal work I’m very interested in other people’s methods of direction and how they are able to motivate others in relation to their concept. These are photos from one of the last days of filming. People were dying left and right. It wasn’t a terribly violent movie, per se, but the last two days were a crescendo of blood fountains and bullet holes. (Also my new goth band, Blood Fountains And Bullet Holes. We are playing the Hot Topic Grand Opening at the South Springs Mall next week.)
How the hell was your Halloween? I woke up, surfed, and didn’t get eaten by a shark. So that’s always a plus. No worse for the wear over here, but not a single kid came to our door begging for diabetes. Where do all the kids go for Halloween these days?
I’ve been all about some low-light stuff lately, as you can see from the top photo. Digital grain is just not as sexy as film grain, I’m afraid.
Two things for you to check out if you haven’t already. One is the Leveled Magazine (NSFW) photo shoot with the freaking adorable Chebo. Or, as the internet says: “dorbz.” Hit the FB “Like” button while you’re there.
Here’s a couple shots from a shoot with Leveled Magazine a few weeks ago. Go see the whole set on their site and hit the “Like” button if you don’t mind. (Some maybe NSFW.)
Got back 5 rolls of film last week and I’m combing through. This week has been crazy with a lot of fun projects but has left little time for editing. Truth be told, that’s my least favorite part so I’m not too crushed. In a perfect world I’d have a robot/clone that would be able to sift through my pictures and pick the exact ones that I would pick and cut me out of the process. Then they’d retouch them conservatively and post them on my website while I was out making more photos. If you know someone who wants to apply for this job, send them my way. The pay is lousy and the hours are terrible. So it’s probably not much worse than a lot of other jobs, really. I rarely yell and throw things. Rarely. Sometimes. Occasionally.
The apartment complex next to me has these garages in back and I saw a gentleman cleaning his out a few months ago. It was packed with records. I mean, full-up of records. Floor to ceiling. I thought it was kind of formal and beautiful in a way, and LA rarely gets a nice overcast day such as this to make the colors really saturated and rich.
We’ll end with a shot of Juice in my old house. Hard to take bad photos of her, and I will admit that whenever I post a picture, I get like twice the views that I usually do so I’m assuming you guys dig her as well.
Two new portraits on my website. You may recognize this guy…click on over to check it out.
Still on set this week. It’s been an amazing experience…gun battles, crazy mansions on Mulholland, fight scenes, late nights into early mornings, rad scar makeup, and crew of really amazing people working their asses off.
I worked with WIllow from Industry Models two weeks ago. Here’s a shot of her at like 4000030ndkajbdkjbwlknrf000 ISO. True story.
Got a some film back Friday…I’m still wading through Memphis pictures. Here’s a quick shot of Juice around the 4th of July.
Sorry for the short post, I’m on set of my first movie, shooting some stills. Thursday they are going to light someone on fire. I’m pretty stoked about that.
Let’s get serial for a minute.
Facebook, which was once the small-business person’s dream for social networking has declined into a mere shadow of itself and is now all but useless. My posts on my fan page used to get 400-700 views but because they are limiting exposure in hopes that you’ll pay for your own friends to see what you post, my average is around 80 these days. In lieu of these changes, it may be time to bid FB a fond adieu. That being said, if you see something on this blog, or anyone else’s blog for that matter, and feel like someone else could get some use out of it, don’t hesitate to share it. Twitter, Tumblr, FB, what-have-you. Every bit of that helps. Because of the clamp-down, not a lot of people saw this post from Thursday. It’s about Clive Owen fighting Tom Cruise over Lana Del Rey. Or something like that.