Interview: Phoenix New Times “100 Creatives”

Self Portrait med format
This week I somehow appeared as part of the Phoenix New Times’ “100 Creatives” series profiling Arizona artists, designers, musicians, etc.  This is the interview I did with them:
1. I came to Phoenix with: my wife Vesna and dog Mulder.
2. I make art because: it’s an uncontrollable compulsion to make stuff.
3. I’m most productive when: the kids are in school!
4. My inspiration wall is full of: things that make me happy- art from Australia, framed records, Dr. Zoidberg fanart…
5. I’ve learned most from: podcasts like the Candid Frame and Brooks Jensen’s Lenswork.
6. Good work should always: reflect who you are as a person, and be given opportunities to live and breathe outside of one’s hard drive or closet.
7. The Phoenix creative scene could use more: community art events that aren’t based around buying, selling or partying.  Stuff that is about neighborhood beautification and is open to regular folks.
And a few questions for background:
– What’s your age?
– In what city do your reside?
– What’s an average day like for you?
Up at 6, computer stuff (email, etsy, blogging, photo editing) from 7-11, then physical stuff like sculpting or photographing after lunch.  When the kids are out of school I’m usually all theirs, but then I teach photo and art classes 3 nights out of the week.  Summer breaks reverses everything where I teach a lot in the day and make art/computer stuff at night.
– What are you working on currently?
Learning 3-d model capture, and devising gallery show material that takes photographs off of the wall and puts them in a more installation-type environment.  I’m also scanning various people’s skin and making custom viewmasters that are art pieces of their own.  Even though it’s July I’m making sculptural masks for the December art walk tables, since the process of building inventory and getting them fired and glazed takes so long.
– Any big projects coming up?
I released an album of music with local model Lacheln on July 14 of this year and we’re making music videos for some of the tracks.  Because I don’t have a lot of true video equipment I have to do these as time lapses with huge piles of xeroxes… it’s a lot of fun, and a way to bring different parts of my creative output together.  In August I’m doing a mini-tour of LA, Portland and Vancouver CA, shooting around a dozen models for the raw material for all the above mentioned projects.
– If there’s any other biographical info you’d like to include, please do.
I currently teach adult photography and art classes/ workshops for City of Chandler Rec, City of Tempe Rec, Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe and Art Intersection in Gilbert, and teen art classes for Mesa Arts Center.

Amazing Exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum

The Phoenix Art Museum is hosting several interesting exhibits this summer, but there are two that are truly inspirational.

“The Process and the Page” features photographer books and original prints from Richard Avedon, W. Eugene Smith, Ansel Adams and others. Among these well-known names were two women photographers who I had never heard of, Rosalind Solomon and Barbara Crane.  The work of these women spoke so clearly to my art photography aesthetic tastes, and I have to attribute my ignorance to the usual over emphasis in photo history on the white male perspective.

Also showing is a collection of Japanese Noh Masks, “Quiet Rage, Gentle Wail”.  I’m a fan of all Japanese Art, there’s equal parts elegance and goofiness wrapped in an exotic sushi roll.  Since I also make sculptural masks of the same approximate size, I got a lot of ideas to incorporate in my own pieces; the forehead bits, ways to work with cheeks, strange expressions, demon men and the outer shape of the masks.

Ceramic masks I made after viewing the Noh exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.
Ceramic masks I made after viewing the Noh exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.

The photo book exhibit runs through August, and the Noh Mask exhibit runs through November.  My Noh-ish masks are on Etsy and Ebay.


Atomic Age Texture Pack

Atomic Age Texture Pack

One of 4 new texture packs I’m releasing as digital download on my Etsy store. This “Atomic Age” pack features 20 different royalty free/ high resolution images of military and scientific equipment from between 1940-1970. If you’re a fan of mid-20th Century tech like I am, please have a  rummage through my collection of textures!

Mixed Media Photographic Xerox Transfers- Workshop Preview

sierra mixed media

I made a lot of these pieces in April of this year and am only catching up on the posting.  Top is a xerox transfer of model Sierra McKenzie shot 3 years ago, and the bottom is Mosh from 2 years ago.  The finishes are watercolor and colored pencil; I’m teaching this whole process as a workshop at a local Tempe chain store, Jerry’s Artarama, later this week.  These two original pieces, and others, are for sale on my Etsy.Mosh Mixed Media

Inspiration + Influence: James + “Moving On”

James is one of a few musical acts I’ve caught multiple times (4 to be exact- 1997, 1999, 2011 and 2012).  They have several qualities I admire – positive vibes, unpretentiousness, energy, leftist politics, pro-women and pro-gay.  They write songs that are artistic and relatable to the average bear, not an easy combination.  “Moving On” is one of those perfect combinations, the message of which is even more expertly communicated by Ainslie Henderson’s stunning video with yarn people.

Can emotion be communicated without faces, by inanimate objects?  Absolutely.  These yarn people will break your hear and fill your heart.  I know exactly what it’s like to have a parent dying in a hospital bed and what it’s like the first time your baby clutches your thumb.  I feel very strongly that art should be about actual human experiences and not esoteric questions of the art world.

I’m working on ways to bring the clay sculpture and photography I do closer together and this gives me a lot of inspiration.

This may be my favorite music video of all time.

Artificial Human – “Unconsciousness” Music Video

Artificial Human – “Unconsciousness” Another collaboration with model and singer Luxbot Lacheln.  I remember writing this around the time I saw the movie “Drive” and falling in love with the main song “Real Human Being” by College + Electric Youth.  Our song features a similar single octave arpeggio and some melodic strings alongside dreamy vocals, though the Artificial Human song only has one word to it!  Lacheln and I filmed this video in about 2 hours at her house with 3 costume changes being pulled magically from thin air. THE ARTIFICIAL HUMAN LP GODDESS (featuring this song) IS NOW AVAILABLE ON ITUNES AND AMAZON!

Ammalynn + Friends

Ammalynn + Friends

Model Ammalynn with real live worms coming out of her eyes and mouth. I xeroxed the image, exacto-knifed the holes, bought worms from Wal-Mart and had an interesting time getting them to “act.” Then I gave them a moist shady home in my garden.

The model knew we were going to have an image like this and she was really into the idea, which is exactly what you as the photographer want. Last year someone told me “I have no wish to appear decapitated,” and I quickly dropped that shoot. I’m not saying everyone should love a photographer or director’s ideas, but if there’s conflict better to just drop the whole thing and work with people who gel.

This is part of my ongoing “Scream Queens” series, which I began a couple years ago and thought I had said everything I could say. There have been a lot of variations on the theme, and it turns out I have a lot of previous work that fits in with the series.

This particular idea was based on Halloween 3, where Halloween masks melt a person’s head and bugs come rocketing out of the eye sockets. I also saw a similar thing on the PowerPuff Girls involving cockroaches. I may get around to doing a cockroach version, my cat usually presents me with dead cockroaches during the hot summer months when they invade my laundry room…

For more photoworks goodness (and a print of this image) peruse my Etsy shop,  become a patron at Patreon, follow on tumblr and twitter and instagram, and rummage around on my full site