Sunday, January 22, 2017

Another Year...

So, my 47th birthday is around the corner, and I have been haunted by my ghosts lately.

I have lived in so many places and made so many amazing acquaintances that I am beginning to lose track of them all. I don't want to lose track of all of the people who have shaped me to become the man I am.

Life is sloppy, clumsy and messy, but it is also beautiful, vibrant, and full of meaning. I have been so fortunate to have lived on my own terms. We are nothing without those who have embraced us, loved and hated us. We are nothing without the lessons gleaned from pain and happiness.

Lately, I am inundated by noise and distractions and I have been desperate to have some time to collect my thoughts and slow this ride down, but time doesn't slow down, and so we must learn to appreciate every second while it lasts.

It is interesting to me how the goals I had as a young man weren't goals I failed at reaching, but rather, along the way I changed and what was important to me changed.

When we are young, and facing the end of our childhood and the beginning of adulthood, we see the world in neat little packages. A trail of milestones of achievement that lay in front of us like mirages. As we actually live life, we learn that relationships don't last because we change, and the people we attached ourselves to change, and losing people from your life doesn't have to be sad but rather another chapter of life.

I have loved some exceptional people, and have enjoyed returned love. I have failed in love, and succeeded in love.

The most important thing is that I grew as a person and matured. I learned to live for quality over quantity and to abandon material things in favor of richer life experiences.

I have suffered fools, critics and haters, and they too brought focus to my life, and made my art more dear to me.

The art I create in these last few years has been almost solely out of my love for one woman, my wife Liz La Point. Sparks of lust turn into adoration and deep love, to an intwined life, and then family.

I turned 4o years old in Las Vegas and realized I was not living true to myself and started to reflect on what was missing from the life I was living. I started feeling like I was living in the shadow of someone else's dreams and it made me feel empty. The people I was surrounded by were someone else's friends and not the friends I would have made when I actually knew myself. I got lost.

Around the time I was making some profound realizations about who I was becoming, I met Liz La Point and a mutual passion for work and art exploded and everything became clear.

I wish happiness to all of the people I have known and I am so glad to have lived through some very difficult moments, and to have reached this point in my life where I feel so fortunate to have my own family, a wife who understands me, and more opportunity to create and explore than I have ever known.

Every year my wife asks me what I want for my birthday, and every year I look into her eyes and tell her that I have everything I have ever wanted already.

Life is very, very good.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Here are some shots of my friend Ashleigh, who I used to shoot with on a pretty regular basis when I lived in California. She was a wild, free-spirited, self-proclaimed hippy who would call out of the blue to suggest I photograph her friend, or to meet and do a quick shoot.

Ashleigh and I would have great conversations and go on a long drives looking for places to shoot.

She was one of my favorite people from my California days, and I so appreciate my time working with her.

I met my wife Liz La Point through her, inadvertently and am forever grateful.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Get to the Core of Your Work, Because YOU are Your Art

People who don't understand you, or why you do what you do, especially when it comes to art, can be the biggest contributors to distracting you from creating art.

Whether some people are simple, jealous or ignorant, they will often assign their own insecurities on you.

Yes, artists can be fucked up, but more often than not, they are just misunderstood by people trying to label them and over simplify them.

Negative people are generally a cancer to your work. You cannot give credence to those who are not artists, who don't understand or respect creativity, or are just too boring and mediocre to appreciate the work that goes into seeing creative works to fruition.

I have written nearly forty screenplays, made a short film and some music videos, and had a job briefly as a wedding video editor, but I have never made money doing any of those things so one could argue that I haven't found success doing those things, and perhaps I wasted time and resources.

Writing has always been a soul cleansing process for me, and deeply gratifying.

The most fun I have ever had has been working with actors or on film sets. I love movies from beginning to end, and have a rich and endless respect for anyone who is involved in the creation and execution of motion pictures.

My venture into moving making was never a waste of time, because I don't measure my success by how much money I make.

Creating is succeeding, and producing work that finds an appreciative audience is the most satisfying thing there is.

For the past decade, I have been immersed in writing a trilogy of screenplays, working on producing photo books, & producing and filming a YouTube channel for my wife, Model & Writer Liz La Point. 

You know what I else I did during that time? I held down a full time job that I put my all into, spent quality time with my child, and made sure my wife never forgets how much I love, respect, value, and adore her.

The point is that, though I'm far from perfect, I strive to balance my creative endeavors and family, work and relationships. I care about the people who care about me, and I am loyal like a dog.

...And, I never give up! Ever!

Artists, do not EVER stop creating! Ever! Just don't.

It doesn't need to make you rich, and your friends and family don't have to understand you or what you do.

Make art for yourself first, and then try to make some money from it, and grow your audience.

I have been so fueled by my desire to succeed by other people's standards lately that I have neglected the reason I create, and that reason, is because it is my voice, and I have things to say. Perhaps artists sometimes speak without thinking, figuratively and literally. Perhaps I have been talking too much through my work without saying the right things.

It is important to know one's self, and get to know one's self, through your art.

2017 is my quiet year. It is my year to reflect and grow. I am sober, healthy, happy, and motivated, but for the first time in a long time, I just want to process it all. I want to find meaning in the little things and make sure I'm not overlooking the big things.

I want my life to matter as much as my art does.

So, I have healthy new focuses, a ne-newed relationship with nature, and am on a path to living with less and feeling like I have more.

Here are some images from my photo adventure in Hawaii last year.

Monday, January 9, 2017

25 Year Journal Project

So, for the past 25 years I have kept black, hardbound journals.

By keeping them, I mean, I drew, cut and pasted magazines and images into large volumes to serve as a pop culture scrapbook of memories and inspiration. I moved them from coast to coast repeatedly and constantly added to them.

Though the project ended up filling out about a dozen heavy, hardcover books, my intention was always to someday repurpose and self-publish these journals into one book, mixed with my tales of living in NYC and Southern California as a struggling artist.

The books are sometimes personal and intense, perverse and playful, and a reflection of the artists and images that shaped my own artistic aesthetic.

Today, for nearly six hours, I scanned and photographed the pages of the journals and destroyed them. They now live on digitally, but will soon live on as a single, massive volume.

This is my year to disengage from the traditional forms of social media like Facebook and Instagram, to give away or recycle the majority of my belongings, and embark on a journey I consider to be the second chapter of my life. (Check out the Netflix documentary, The Minimalists and their blog for some insight into the direction I am moving in personally.)

I have chosen this blog to replace my regular social media rants, and it has been so liberating.

I am not a religious man, but I feel more connected to nature and the earth than I have in some time, and the pull of the outdoors is calling me. Nature has been my doorway to spirituality and I am longing for the California deserts which became my playgrounds for so many years.

The projects I am working on this year have been stewing and gestating for a very long time and are a celebration of the years I have survived, and the wisdom I have gained from my struggles, pain and joy.

I look forward to sharing my new ventures with you.

Here are some sample pages from my journals.

Friday, January 6, 2017

"Eye of the Beholder"

From the minute I discovered Heavy Metal Magazine as growing boy, My teenage years were spent seeking it out and concealing them from my parents. The mix of science fiction, nudity and erotic fantasy was my teenage drug.

I was particularly a fan of Guido Crepax & Milo Manara and feverishly collected their work throughout adulthood.

My photography has been heavily influenced, not just by other photographers, fashion magazines, and cinema, but also comic books & graphic novels.

I have always been compelled to tell stories with my work, and not just capture beautiful models and landscapes.

For some time I have been working on a photo graphic novel with my muse, Model & Writer Liz La Point, and recently published it.

Unlike my previous photo art books, this is a surreal, erotic story that pays homage to the influences of my youth.

Get yours here.

"Eye of the Beholder" Book

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Art & Business: The Making of Art Bomb Tees, LLC - Part One

Quite often friends would see a particular image I had captured and requested a t-shirt featuring said image, and I would shrug it off and think "Yeah, that could be cool" and then move on.

In 2014, during some difficult financial stretches, I picked up a book by Marc Ecko called "Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out" and hungrily devoured it. I was interested in business, and starting a business that was still related to art, and my mind kept racing back to my love of fashion and design, and the requests from friends and acquaintances for shirts.

My wife Liz La Point and I selected three of our favorite images from my work and spent a great deal of money we didn't have, incorporating my LLC and having several hundred shirts printed up to sell.

I literally did EVERYTHING wrong and barely sold any shirts. I was indeed a terrible business person at first, because you don't know what you don't know, but that lesson would pave the way for success.

It took nearly two years of loss and almost giving up on my little LLC before I found a better way to make and sell shirts, but I am finally in a place where the company is growing and I believe in it.

So, the lesson here is not to give up and to learn from your mistakes and keep finding ways of improving and being better at what you believe in.

From time to time I'm going to talk about my growing little apparel company and how the mistakes were so costly, and how valuable they were, and how I am still learning.

Making money from your art is the biggest challenge in an over crowded market where every creative person on the planet is trying to do the same thing, but the key is to focus on what makes your brand and product unique (no one wants to call their art a "product" but in order to profit from it and build your brand, you have to be prepared to see your work as an asset that people want.)

I love wearing t-shirts, and feel like they will never go out of style.

Stay tuned for more updates and Behind the Scenes stories of the building of a business and go get yourself a shirt from Art Bomb Tees, LLC.

Model: Heather Bee

Some images from the archives of Model Heather Bee - 2009

The Wicked, Wicked Lens

Perspective is everything when it comes to art, as ART is subjective.

People who have traveled, worked, experienced life, and who regularly put themselves in the shoes of others' can appreciate a worldview that differs from their own.

Those who have grown up absorbing pop culture, studied psychology, have people smarts, and who know their way around art museums and galleries, aren't easily offended.

On the other hand, some people don't venture outside of their comfort zones, and are easily offended or upset by images, movies and music that contain themes they don't agree with. I am only offended typically by harm to children or animals, but now and then a special level of ignorance by people too lazy to educate themselves, can also offend me.

An artist should never self censor or self edit during creation. Art inspires and moves us forward as a species, and as a result, science often takes it's lead from ideas and themes presented in art.

Art can break cultural barriers and help people expand their perspectives.

Anything that stimulates conversation is a positive thing, especially if it isn't actually hurting anyone.

My work, for instance, can often contain nudity, sexual themes, and cinematic violence, all intended for an adult audience, but good art shouldn't be for all audiences. I am always pleased when someone likes my work, and accepting of the idea that some people dislike it, as well.

Haters need to hate what they personally don't understand or appreciate, and they have that right and luxury in a free society. When I dislike something (usually because it is painfully mediocre) I simply avoid it, but some folks aren't happy until they complain and whine about something they dislike until they let everyone know how they feel. (LOL, have fun with farting in the wind to an invisible audience. That existence seems miserable.)

Part of my process of creating is to explore a theme that confuses or intrigues me, and discover the answers of how it affects me as I am seeing it realized. I like to peel back the layers of mystery through the image making.

My approach is often "I have this idea, and it seems insane, so let's try to create this work and see how we feel about it after it is complete." I am lucky to have worked with models who want to explore and create in this fashion, as well.

Sometimes my work shocks me too, but it is very satisfying to see how others respond to it, lovers and haters alike.

My one rule when photographing models has always been to consistently make the models look good, cool and interesting.

In some ways, there is little that is original and new in the art of photography, but in other aspects, it is still a fresh and new medium of expression.

Every time I think I might be done with photography, I realize I have more to say so they might as well bury me with my camera when I die, so I can capture the inside of my coffin because I can't actually see myself ever quitting.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What Happens When You Fall in Love with Your Muse

For years I photographed models, male and female, nude and clothed, and I never developed crushes or non-professional feelings for them, and I am certain they didn't for me either.

Though I shot regularly with different models, I was really looking for a creative partner who wouldn't mind developing more intensive projects and shooting frequently.

I was always on the lookout for my muse.

I often mistakenly believed I had found her, and would get really excited about a particular model but for whatever reason, they would not be as interested in a long-term creative partnership.

Maybe what I didn't realize is that if I found that one perfect model, she might also be the love of my life, and that is what ended up happening when I met Liz La Point.

Working with Liz was so rewarding and stimulating that I found myself not wanting to shoot any other models. I found myself wanting to photograph her every chance I got.

I remained professional in the beginning, but our commonalities were overwhelming, (both non-religious, vegetarian, free-spirits) and our mutual attraction and admiration for one another was too strong to deny.

As a rule, I would suggest most photographers not fall in love with their models, and to treat the business of making art as clinical and professional as possible, unless you meet someone like Liz who you would never forgive yourself if you let her slip away.

As an artist, I am lucky to have found a creative partner to challenge me and force me to improve and evolve. As a man, I am lucky to have found the woman of my dreams who gets me like no one else ever has.

Check out Liz's blog at

Economics of Social Media

I have come to love sharing and interacting with other artists on sites like Twitter and Ello, but I found Facebook and Instagram too restrictive and not genuinely artist friendly.

Sharing on Twitter, doesn't allow for much explanation or deconstruction of the art, so I thought I would start blogging about the hows and whys of some of my photographic sets.

My 5 Year Project with Model Liz La Point, required us to collaborate regularly on photo shoots and sets for inclusion in books I was working on, and to explore old ideas and concepts that I hadn't been able to previously explore with other models.

Having a fearless, risk-taker, who was open and free of shame, allowed me to delve much deeper than I had previously.

Conceptual photography is about fantasy, and about reflecting ideas from the artist's imagination. I often explored themes that had been bouncing around in my head since the early formation of my first sexual thoughts, so as I teenager growing up with comic books, video games and weird low budget movies, I would often meld the past with the present.

In my "Gamer" set, I placed Model Liz La Point in my library of comic books, photo art books, magazines and action figures and had let her loose on my Atari 2600.

In an outfit and make-up ensemble that looked more fitting for a New Year's Eve party, Liz went from playful, to frustrated, to abandoning the game and her clothing altogether.

It is my favorite set of mine.

I loved how Liz played the character and how youthful and fun it was, showing video games aren't just for males, nor are they just for children anymore.

Buy the book "I Love Liz La Point - 5 Years of Art & Love"

Eyes are such a gift. I am forever amazed at human beings and how we develop new ways of seeing. Photography is one of the most mesmerizing innovations in human history, and to be able to not just preserve our favorite moments, but to also turn them into art, is still awe-inspiring to me.

My interest in art and photography grew from my love of nature. Growing up in the isolated woods of Northern Michigan, I spent the majority of my childhood in those woods, exploring and discovering.

Though my decades in New York City and Southern California were deeply enriching, returning to the place of my formative years has been an asset to my art.

I have truly come full circle, in spite of all of the years I spent trying to escape my past.

The accompanying image is from my tribute to Guido Crepax from my "The Visitor" set with Model Liz La Point.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mojave Desert - 2007.

If you think you have it figured out, spend some time in the Mojave and you will realize your journey has just begun.

Growing up in the 1970's & 80's, I worshipped the anti-heroes, the rock stars & the fallen. My heroes were Jim Morrison, Syd Vicious, & James Dean. By the time I graduated high school, I wanted to be Mickey Rourke.

I don't want my son growing up emulating the behavior of lost souls. I want him to have goals and focus.

All of the precious time wasted drinking alcohol or consuming massive amounts of hard drugs might be my biggest regret in life, and it isn't what I want for my child, or anyone else's child.

America has such an excess problem.

I never did anything high or drunk I am proud of.

I spent my 30's sober, and it was amazing, and a sharp contrast to the blur that was my 20's.

Artists don't need to be intoxicated to create, they use to medicate from being misunderstood.

I'm not one to preach because I understand how easy it is to struggle with addiction but I'd love to be a positive influence for anyone struggling with these particular demons.

It is a long road to finding one's self, and I suspect we don't truly know who we are until the moment of our death.

To be remembered positively is everlasting life.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

This photo by photographer Emily Maglothin captures me at my happiest, photographing my muse, Model & Writer Liz La Point.

Having a partner to make art with and to share life's struggles and joys is a dream come true.