Being a male artist that has some semi-nude and nude images of women in my work, I am aware of being criticized for the “male gaze” or objectifying women in my work.
As an Artist, I cannot censor myself. I can choose what I share with the public at large, but I must stay true to the thoughts and ideas that I want to express through my work. None of the women pictured in my work are victims, weak or unsure of themselves. They all stand firmly on their feet living their lives, confidence beaming from their eyes. They have the power to change the viewer, I am only a privileged witness to the brief moment in time that they choose to share with me.
Yes, I am strongly and only attracted to women and the female form.
I consider woman the second best thing God made next to All of Nature and the Stars and Planets. I actually find looking at the female form as relaxing as looking at a colorful sunset or a field of flowers. Look, but don’t touch, take as many mental pictures as possible and I move on. Obsessions are NOT healthy. I just focus whatever sexual energy there may be all into the images which brings out more detail, unique compositions and color choices. But I always keep it professional.
I’m glad that I didn’t focus on just women or nudes for the entirety of my work. I would have burned out years ago and felt like some old horn dog versus a sophisticated man with a wide range of projects. Plus it wouldn’t be something my mother could talk about… “My son shoots pornography for a living”… doesn’t go over too well with the older ladies in church, know what I mean? Lol.
When I moved to NYC in 1992, it was still in the last waves of the “Taxi Driver” era. NYC had a way rougher edge from the 1970’s until the mid 1990’s, so I experienced all the little adult clubs, theaters, bars that were EVERYWHERE from 38th street up to 50th street. It was a surreal XXX city back then.
These women were completely open with expressing their sexuality. I didn’t get the “creepy guy vibe” from the naked strippers because I would quietly sit and sketch them like I was in sketch class at school while I sipped on a $10 cranberry juice. They would come by and look at the sketches and flirt with me sometimes. They were always friendly to me, these women had costumes and routines so this was way more exciting than long 10-20 min single poses at drawing sessions.
Around 1995 I met the 2 French Dancers Dr. Noyale Colin and Noémie Lafrance at Momentum Zone, their performance space that was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We became close friends, They brought the element of modern dance and movement into my life. We did the performance play “To Die In Silver” where Noyale and myself worked the low tech lights and stage effects.
They also created their own clothing line Unity Bodywear with a small group of workers sewing them at their warehouse shop in Brooklyn and selling them at their shop in Greenwich Village on 177 MacDougal Street. I also collaborated with them on a product flyer and a window display for the shop that unfortunately, I have no photos of the finished window, just the directional sketch.
Around the same time I had met Angie Pontani who worked the front desk at Coyote studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I would hang out with her and her friends and go to Angie’s early shows while she was putting together her group the World Famous Pontani Sisters, shoot video, take photos, and do some light tech work.
Sometimes there were issues such as lights shorting and flashing for no reason and at one show, the CD mysteriously lodged itself inside the top of the machine as it’s supposed to be played on cue. The ladies were all patient and professional and the situations were quickly resolved. I always chalked up these strange incidents to all of the energy being generated in the room by their dancing.
All of the muses and models helped to expand my photography. Carrie, Lindsay, RC, Sarah, Diamond, Amanda and Raven were all 1st photographed at night. I was born in the middle of the night at 1:59 am 12.01.1969. The night has it's own energy.
I enjoy a bright sunny day as the next person, but the night has a calm, cool quiet that allows ideas from the subconscious mind to rise to the surface of the conscious mind brought into reality through action.
To me the different types of “Nocturnal Feminine Energy”, I know the term sounds silly, but look, I’m trying to explain abstract sensations affecting me translated into physical imagery. So humor me for a minute…
1) A raw, carnal power to seduce you into her grasp either to inspire you to create or to run rampant with excess and self-destruction.
2) An energetic, mesmerizing, moving, musical dynamo that reaches into your inner core, flowing through your body possessing you to move…
3) A confident, yet mysterious subdued beauty with a look of concern about the things we can only imagine…
These are “The Ladies of the Night”.
This is the collage painting that I sold in the 1st hour of my Cincinnati return exhibit at Kwame' Clay’s Gallery. This came about in 2001 from looking at all of the different personal ads in the back of the now defunct Village Voice.
I started to become transfixed by the wall of facial expressions and names in each ad. Since the ads were in a public paper, there were no nudes or nipples, just an intense gaze into the camera with the energy of that gaze coming across and through the paper to entice the viewer to call them on the phone.
This is where the name “Seductive Glances” comes from. I became obsessed with this and started to collect up a bunch of Village Voice papers and started to cut out all of the faces that “spoke” to me.
I also noticed that there was a section other than male, female, gay & lesbian and it was the now unused term “SheMale” which is referred to as TRANS in 2020.
The “SheMale” was at that time a fetish selling point and there were no issues when using that reference. Anyways, the reason I bring this up is that I noticed photos in this “category” that when paired up with some of the photos in the women category, there was no way to tell the difference between the two if the “SM” word wasn’t used in the ad.
So, there are actually 2 different works for this series. I never constructed the “SM” collage. The clippings are sitting in an envelope in a box somewhere and unless I wanted to stir up the social hornet’s nest and become vilified now, those clippings may just stay tucked away in that box somewhere.
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