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So, what are you hoping to find back here?
Well, you've found something special. You've gotten past the pretty tourist trap up front and you've entered the actual artist's page. So many people want an artist to be one thing and create one style of work. Most people expect my art to be about sexy men and that might be the subject of my art, but the reason why I create my art, and what I want you to see, is something entirely different.
In fifth grade, we were taught about the Greek Gods: Zeus and his thunderbolts, Venus the goddess of Love and Ares the god of War. I was also taught that this was the religion of the time. People prayed and honored these gods, built lavish temples to them. But in my fifth-grade class, this was being taught as "Mythology", someone's dead religious beliefs. And a thought went off in my head, when does my religion become mythology.
So, at the ripe old age of 10, I became an atheist.
Humans are terrible people and terribly ingenious. What better way to control people than to say you have a direct connection to an all knowing being and only you know what He wants. And the only time you will actually have proof of this deity is after you are dead.
Play by the rules, be subservient, give money and you will be rewarded in the afterlife
or don't, and risk ETERNAL DAMNATION!!!
Tired of all this malarkey, I set out on my own road to find my own truth and beliefs.
I moved to Palm Springs from Minnesota in 2009 and immediately started a whole new artistic path. I had picked up the camera in 2002 back in Minneapolis. At the time I had a lot of fun photographing drag queens and hot guys. I had created my own studio in my two-bedroom apartment. Having a degree in theatre, I created some fantastic sets and backdrops played and with dramatic lighting. But in Palm Springs, I didn't really need lights and sets, I could shoot outdoors with natural sunlight nearly every day of the year. The first step to finding my "truth".
On the way out of town I saw a sand dune far off the road and knew I needed to shoot there. It was on the north side of town where the wind farms were, so it was always windy. I took a model and some fabric.
"Take your clothes off and run with the fabric. Catch the wind! Jump! Dance!"
Not only is wind the air that you need to breath, but it creates energy captured by the windmills. Thus, I named most of my wind photos after electrical terms.
Returning back from the dunes in January, the fabric was so sandy, I needed to wash it. I walked past our apartment pool and thought, it's too cold for anyone to swim in now, the sand will be long gone by pool season. So, I put the yards of fabric in the water and saw the great things that water did for optical effects. I knew what I was doing that summer!
I went in to the fabric district in downtown Los Angeles and bought myself tons of light and colorful fabric. I had bins and bins of the stuff, all separated by color. I would decide on a color scheme and throw them all in the pool and have the model swim around, sometimes two models. One time, i put only primary colored fabric in the pool, red, blue and yellow, but through the power of Physics, and sunlight, I captured purple and orange and green as well. Thus, the magic of water was discovered.
After Wind and Water, I wondered where this was going and after ruminating on the ideas on a long drive, I realized my subconscious was taking me on a journey into the
Four Elements. Wind, Water, Earth and Fire. The four things human have to have in order to survive. I think I may be on to my truth.
I had quite a few photos of my models out at the sand dunes, naked and struggling. But I realized not all earth is desert, so I started taking photo trips to different climates. Up to the rainforests of the Northwest, the ocean and my favorite, the snowy cold of Minnesota. There are only two answers when you ask your model to pose nude in the snow, either "Fuck You" or "Fuck Yeah!". I actually got quite a few Fuck Yeahs! To me, earth is the real struggle of life. We need earth to plant our crops, to grow trees to make wood to build houses. The daily toil of life is provided by the earth. I show the struggle but also the joy of a day's worth of work.
Darkness is illuminated by fire. Secrets are found and myths dispelled with fire. And I am not just talking about a campfire, the Sun is a ball of fire and without it, we'd freeze to death. I went to shoot in one of the most difficult photographic situations and that is in the dark with nothing but firelight. The stillness that is needed from both me holding the camera and the models was troubling. And then on top of that, fire does its own thing, it cannot be controlled.
Having taken that magnificent journey exploring the absolutes of living, I wanted to dig deeper that a one photo at a time. I wanted to create images that explored the passage of time and movement and events. I started studying the "joiners" of David Hockney from the 1970's and 80's. Hockney would take multiple photos either with an instant film camera or a Polaroid and take those photos and put them together to make a single image in a Cubist style. So off I went on my journey. Sometimes working with a single model or multiple models and then sometimes with no models at all! Shocking I know. I was tired of having models not show up for shoots, so one day after this same disappointment, I eyed my trusty piano and decided to give it a go, creating images based on musical works that I enjoy playing.
Early in the showing of my work, I loved to print on aluminum. It was "Nouveau"! It was "Moderne"! I loved the brilliant color and I also loved the reflective qualities of the metal prints, that is similar to water and its reflective properties. I was on my metal printer's website and noticed he was doing circular prints. "What do I do with that?". What things are round. The thought of planets and moons came to my mind, and the fact that most heavenly bodies are named after Greek and Roman Gods and even a few Shakespearean Characters, it seemed a no brainer. I went back to the magic of my pool and asked friends of all shapes, sizes, ages and even women to model for me. I had a great premiere of the work at the Jannsen Art Space in Palm Springs in the Fall of 2019.
Trying to be even more creative and keep myself busier than ever, I turned to the later works of Henri Matisse, specifically the "Cut Outs". I developed a technique in photoshop in which I photographed and then outlined a model and scratched in significant details like nipples and genitals and turned the subject into a solid color. Eventually I started creating digital worlds for them to inhabit. And then before you know it, I am creating scenes with hundreds of people playing the drums and dancing around naked worshipping the rise of the Full Moon. You just can't stop me. Sometimes I tone it down and it's a raucous clothing optional pool party in Palm Springs complete with DJ.
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