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Archive for February, 2008

SHELF LIFE #8B: ALL EVENTS ARE EVEN

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Walk into a gallery and it isn’t. It’s a floor in the hamperless bedroom of a parentless 15 year old fashion-addict with an anaphylactic aversion to hangers, drawers and the associated errata that exist only to contain and mask things intended to be seen.

I said addict. The pile reflects addiction. 15 feet long, 4 feet deep, 5 feet high–almost entirely composed of couture–balled-up, knotted, wrinkled and summited–Wallabee-shorn foot after Walabee-shorn foot.  Mark compiled the mound and invited available humans to engage it. The two things I liked best about Sizzler as a kid were all-you-can-eat popcorn shrimp and the dodecahydrant of soda that invited cup-upon-cup of concocting. An invitation to be photographed playing dress-up was adulthood’s Sizzler.

A few portraits of me made it into the book. Most are reflective of the hours spent spraying Sprite into Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper and grape Hi-C as a kid. Here’s a snap of the book and one of the mirrors of my anally-explosive childhood that Borthwick edited in.

 

SHELF LIFE #8A: CAUSTIC PRINTED PARKA

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’ve been fiddling around with variations on this pattern I drew in December–different contexts and constructions. I have a Canadian military surplus parka that I grabbed in Montreal while filming an as of yet unfinished documentary on the Ecstatic Peace More Hair, Less Bush tour.

The parka’s almost nonsensically fragile for a piece of military clothing. Knowing full well that it’d likely disintegrate if exposed to this caustic printing I’ve been doing, I played the nihilist card and hit it. Needless to say… it’s disintegrating.

I shot some photos of it today for posterity and plan on wearing the thing into moth-eaten oblivion. I need to note that light colored drawings on light grounds vex me. They look wrong. You never really know what you’re gonna get with this process til you get it though, so this little jaunt’s filed under, “just a study.” I’ll get the actual illustrations on here when the items they appear on in their correct and impossibly psychedelic configuration are done.

SHELF LIFE #7A: COUP D’ÉTAT INVITE

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

1999. The Columbine shootings and the Trenchcoat Mafia who brought the war to the cafeteria against a foreground of possibilities in a future-unknown of mind-dicing via the personal computer, FPS videogames and KMFDM records were still piping hot in the collective conscious. Aaron Rose was re-re-re-opening the Alleged Gallery in its then-latest incarnation. A group show was slated. He’d faxed out the mission briefing and the mission was Coup d’État.

As scene troubnologist, I was saddled with making a low-rent, low-tech, anxiety-inducing invitation. Aaron gave me a single photograph, a show title and basically told me to go to town. Computer viruses were in the news daily. PC users were hating life. BIOS chips were being re-flashed in a string of particularly virulent infections and people were losing everything. The invite would capitalize on that and the prevalent tech-gimmick-lust via the lure of art as interactivity.

I made a set of four fonts that weren’t. They were more like autistic etch-a-sketches that only did one thing. If a user followed the instructions, each font would draw a different picture. Type out some crap. Type it out again with caps lock on. Select everything and change the font. That was the gist.

First, they’d draw a picture of Bill Gates–“gates=ham”. Then they’d draw a picture of Gates with the Piggly Wiggly face–“ham=gates” (Bill was in the news constantly–so much so, that in ensuing years, he’d be forced to step out of the Microsoft limelight to rest a weary army of publicists and go poorly do good for the poor). When an invite recipient selected the keystrokes comprising the two portraits, they were suddenly met with a pre-Columbine to-do list and an equation declaring that guns + jocks = a trenchcoat.

All good and well. However this… convenient and completely unplanned stroke of luck fell into our laps. A vicious virus started infecting computers within days of the invite being mailed out. Anxiety came gratis in pre-Y2K America so long as your timing was right.

Here’s what we gave the people. I’m working on something completely apropos of this project right now. It involves me programing hundreds of IC chips and laser etching tons of tiny PC boards to make custom, compact, troublemaking circuits that I’m pretty certain nobody’s exploited yet…

SHELF LIFE #7B: SON OF BOB

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Terry Richardson’s always been a dilemma for me. The first time I saw anything of his was at a group show at Alleged on Prince Street. He had a grip of pics hanging–photomat quickprints of guys dressed up as Batman and Robin in various states of cocksuck. Funny, but the same shit I’d seen for years in alt.binaries.fetish usenet groups. I was kind of bummed that Aaron had put it in a show.

That was around the same time I was assisting for Kern. I remember heading to work a couple of times and running into Terry over there–trading prints with Richard. I was perplexed. Richard took out a copy of Son of Bob and started flipping thru it with me. It just kind of struck me as really similar to Larry Clark, Ed Templeton, Nick Waplington, Cameron Jamie, Harmony and Ryan McGinley’s work. I got the whole, “it’s all who you bump coke with” anthropology kick Terry was on. Fun. Yeah. Call up the Smithsonian–more qualm-weary kids sniffin’ glue and shovelin’ schlong!

So, a couple of months later, Aaron comes over to give me some design homework for the gallery. He brings a bunch of books in trade–Son of Bob included. I asked him what the deal was. “What, you’re not into Terry? He’s hilarious.” “I’m maybe just not inspired by Terry is all. I guess I’ve just seen lots of the same stuff for years and I sort of gloss over it. It’s just point and shoot on one of those Yashicas, right?” “Yeah. But his stuff’s so funny!”

I let it go. Everyone started buying Yashica T4’s. Everyone started shooting everything. People threw parties just to shoot them on their T4s in hopes of catching projectile streams of vomit mid-flash or underaged kids tackling tongues. These images became iconic and everyone had them. I started thinking, “well, at least–if nothing else–he’s inspiring people to make shit.” Again, I let it go. Yet still, even today… look at Dash Snow, aimlessly carrying that same dish-rag whore of a bluelight torch all the way to the bank with his human hamster coke-den. Wake up folks. Simulacra must die.

Anyway…cut to Terry’s meat packing district Alleged show some years later. OK. I had to admit. He’d gotten his concept together. Girls wearing his shades, taking his loads on their faces. Pretty fucking good. Summed up how I felt about fashion. Summed up how I felt about art.

And with that, he really started focusing on concrete series of work–ideas that he’d lift, re-think and own. He hasn’t looked back since. The other thing I’ve anecdotally come to learn about what he does, is that he really makes his subjects absolutely relaxed. That’s the part of photography that I guess people are flaunting in the images they make. Is the fact that a photo’s being taken so transparent that it’s obviously a joke? So invisible that it’s actually some sort of summary of someone’s character? Now… did Terry get there cos of all of the support people gave his work, or cos those elements were in utero and just needed to dodge the art-world’s fickle coat hanger? I dunno–but if you can find a copy, compare the images from Son of Bob to stuff like Terryworld and Kibosh. Nature or nurture?

son-of-bob

SHELF LIFE #6A: SHOTGUN RORSCHACH

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Classic Olsen, Young, Dilloway lineup right at the height of their Ayler moment–free-noise on a sensible grid. For a minute, Wolf Eyes was rummaging around in the smoldering foundations of everything they’d gotten so good at annihilating–piecing the ruins back together again into something more elegant–cross-legged but panty-free, draped in noxious layers of soot and dust. Drop-dead visionary.

Shotgun Rorschach’s a glimpse at that. I shot the footage one night at Tonic. They had all of the lights out, which always makes for super-watchable video. The sound, however, was entirely other and compelled me to use it. I picked all of the moments where flashes, flashlights, flickers and lamps flowed into frame and dragged them out forever. This is an excerpt of the final collection of those frames. Insomnia? Try this. It’s an oxycontin lullaby.

note: There’s a possibility that the full-length DVD, some bonus objects and a special packaging concept may be forthcoming via a collaboration with Nate and Alivia at Aryan Asshole Records. 

SHELF LIFE #6B: KERN VISITOR RUG PHOTOS

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

In 2000, I was hell-bent on textile design, started thinking about mediums and made a decision. Rugs–I wanted to make rugs. I had no idea what to do with rugs or how to sell ’em, but fuck it. I wanted to make rugs and everything would work itself out.

I ran the idea by Kern. He was stoked–particularly if he could lace them with models and shoot some porn. I asked if he’d consider trading promo photos for a rug. He sort of cackled a bit, smiled and huffed out a “yeah, man. That’d be GREAT!”

Sadly, I think I was only ever able to bring 4 of the 20-something designs over to him for shoots–but he shot the hell out of them. Honcho, Leg Show, JUGS, Hustler, Nerve–those rugs saw more carpet munching than a chaise at Plato’s Retreat.

Below are a few shots. I’ll add more as I scan the slides. I stopped manufacturing this series a few years ago. I’ve since moved on to Acts of God: Rugs for Lost Homes.

kern-rugs-models

kern-rugs

SHELF LIFE #5A: BUNNY JERSEYS

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Rabbits, bikes and psychedelic moires… utopia? Hell yeah. What happens when a streetwear company rejects one of your drawings while you’re thinking about making some cycling jerseys? Efficiency! Who could possibly reject a long-eared rabbit wearing a torn, striped shirt and a safety pin necklace? I was hoping the answer was “my client.” I had plans for that hare.

I tracked down a cycling jersey manufacturer in the US and got them to make a small jersey edition–14 or so. I hate selling shit, so the plan for these jerseys was to trade them with friends. My rough guestimate of a percentage of people who follow through with trades when they’re given something in advance and are then put on the honor system to complete their end of the bargain clocks in somewhere at around 60%. PAY UP, FUCKERS!!!

Here are a couple of shots that Amadeo Lansky took last year while photographing a few of us riding rollers at a studio downtown. I’m on my custom Yamaguchi road/track hybrid timetrial bike.