Category Archives: Other Artist

connections to other artist current or dead

Paul Richmond: New Featured Artist on the Project

Paul Richmond is an artist I always adore and admire.  I finally connected with him earlier this week, mostly just to say howdy.  We spent most of the morning exchanging message.  It turns out the publishing company he works for was looking for photographic work as cover art for some of their publications and I was very interested in featuring him as one of the artist in this project.  By the end of the day he had sent me a selection of his images and I was able to create a gallery of his work.  I love his images, they are filled with so much color and the concepts are hysterically funny.  He plays on images we are all familiar with and twists to fit within our on gay mythology.  I know growing up in Montana there were no iconic images that even hinted at anything gay, it what kept so many of us in the closet and fearful of coming out.  Now Paul has taken those marketing concepts and fashioned them into what I think are brilliant gay iconic art.  They are playful, they hint at the naughty and they are revealing, often exposing men’s bare bums.  The subject’s faces often filled with shock in a feigned innocent compromising vulnerability.
Paul’s history has been primarily as an illustrator.  He illustrated comic books as well as probably hundreds of pulp fiction style book covers.  Paul now live in Columbus, Ohio with his partner Dennis Niekro and teaches painting classes.  I wish I didn’t live so far away I would love to take a class from a master like Paul.  Last summer Paul had a show with friend and other featured artist Tom Acevedo in P Town.
This morning I feel I am getting back on track now with this project.  It has always been my vision to create a community of like-minded artists and begin showcasing their amazing talents.

A Flicker Of My Past Desire Realized

Last night I watched an old western called Red River directed by Howard Hawk originally released in 1948. It was a John Wayne classic featuring one of the most beautiful men to ever be photographed, Montgomery Cliff. This was his first major feature film and made him an overnight sensation. He was 26 years old at the time of shooting and is just stunning to watch in this old black and white epic. Part of what makes the film so brilliant is the lighting is fantastic though out the film and though I have seen this film a dozen times it still mesmerizes me. After watching it last night I began to see how much of an influence it has had on my style of photography and the development of my approach to lighting. Of course growing up in the west, I identify with the sexual allure of the cowboy, particularly Montgomery Cliff. In this film he embodies it all, handsome, strong yet sensitive, compassionate, and secure in his masculinity. He was my role model and became the one icon I could always look up to because he stirred such strong feelings of desire within me for this sort of male figure and I began to recognize my sexual attraction was definably toward men. There is a very wonderful scene in the film in which he and another wrangler named Cherry admire each other’s guns in a very homoerotic flirtatious manner that is quite suggestive of something other than shooting. He was one of the first movie stars that I found out was gay which deepened my desire. Though he often play emotionally tortured men, his characters seemed to become a mirror of his personal life and struggles which seem to somehow personify everything I felt. Every time I saw him on the screen I become absorbed by the depth and pain he brought to each character. He was a man who was able to tap into this own pain and reveal his very soul for others to see. Few movie stars have brought this much honesty to the screen, except maybe James Dean. This is a quality I strive for in my own imagery, a moment of bearing the humanity of ourselves and exposing who we are in our existence. Cliff is one of the few actors to consistently maintain this intensity making almost every film an instant classic: A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity, The Heiress, Raintree Country, Suddenly Last Summer and even the Alfred Hitchcock classic I Confess.

I have often pondered how a young ranch kid like myself was so drawn to work in arts and entertainment. Last night that connection became clear watching Red River, the magic, the beauty, the sexual allure of the American west, my west, stirred my emotions , presented in the flicker of a film and watching Montgomery Cliff enter my universe. I identified with a feeling where anything was possible and knew it was a place I could coexist and where I would be understood and accepted for my difference. Where the tormented soul can reveal itself and become the basis of artistic expression. Monty though you died when I was just a kid, you still live in my heart decades later and stir a desire and passion within me that will never dissipate. You only seem to grow stronger with time as the truth of your worlds real and make believe still haunt me.

The Lost World Of Tennessee Williams

For some reason I have been thinking lately about the lonely death of the American writer Tennessee Williams. Here is a brilliant man who has crafted some to the greatest plays of all time for the American Theater. Things like A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. He choked to death on the cap of some eye drops he was trying to open with his mouth on February 25, 1983. How is it that a man with such a great mind for creating some of the most fascinating and complex character studies can pass away from something so insignificant as a bottle cap? Tennessee Williams is probably one of the most influential people on my life and work. As a young theater student in my twenties, when I had finally entered his remarkable world, I felt like I had finally found a home. He wrote about all the things we as culture in Montana like to keep hidden and considered taboo: alcoholism, homosexuality, addiction, beauty, the loss of beauty, fear, doubt, and self-loathing. A world where people were trapped by their often-brutal existence. Nothing seemed sacred to Tennessee. He himself grew up in a shattered world, feeling closest to his sister Rose. She was schizophrenic, in and out of hospitals, eventually becoming lobotomized; she became the wellspring for much of his characterizations. He used the dysfunction of his life to add life to those remarkable characters of Blanche, Brick, Laura, or Alma. Everything he wrote seemed to plummet into the heart of darkness whether it was a play, novel, or even a short story. His writing was filled with passion, honesty, and above all humility. When I entered this world I somehow knew most of these characters and could see so much of his despair and depression within myself. I became addicted and spent a year reading everything consumable about the man. Eventually I directed a production of The Glass Menagerie for my senior project at the University. I still get a giddy feeling when I read anything written by this master and am still captivated by the ground away versions of the Hollywood classics. That scene with Elizabeth Taylor blurting out the truths of Sebastian using her for procurement of young boys leading to his cannibalistic death before she is about to be lobotomized by his mother, Katherine Hepburn, who will do anything to keep the truth hidden in Suddenly Last Summer is one of the greatest moments in film history and still sucks me in with it’s intensity. I could write a year of just blogs on Tennessee Williams alone.

So much of my own imagery and the worlds I enter with my own photography have to do with the feeling, tone, and mood of Tennessee Williams characters and stories. There is a beauty in the darkness where we remain hidden. My work becomes about exposing the inner life of my characters in a raw and sometimes vulnerable way. There is so much depth hidden within all of us that is rarely allowed to surface. Yet there is remarkable beauty in that depth. This is the place I like to explore with my subjects. This has been a year of finding a wholeness within myself and I feel that dysfunction beginning to fade. I fear this may affect my work. I somehow doubt it because I have always got Mr. Williams to remind me of where I have been. To me he is the essential homosexual on my shelf. It’s unfortunate the upcoming generation doesn’t even know his name, as the quotes of his characters imbued my generation and gave life to an culture, fade into a lost oblivion. We no longer rely on the kindness of strangers, but instead become the strangers.


There was a time in the 50’s when young men arriving in Los Angles seeking fortune and fame in the film industry were recruited by photographers to be photographed nude or nearly nude for companies like Athletic Model Guild to showcase these young guy’s bodies in the hopes of hiring them for work.  It seemed harmless at the time, and the photographs grew into such publications as the Physique Magazine that were adored by a complete male culture as a means of becoming healthy and strong.   I recently watched a movie called Beefcake that documented the rise of fall of one particular photographer named Bob Mizer who was eventually brought down and indicted on a charge steaming from a prostitution sting.   Looking back at his images they are spectacular, well conceived, well photographed images of beautiful fit young men in the prime of their lives.  Many of them becoming classic works of art that have become highly collectable today, with prices ranging to $400 to $1000 plus for a standard 8×10.  During that era the post office began to shut down such distribution of these images as being lewd and lascivious.  Many of the photographers of this era’s images and negatives were confiscated by the courts and destroyed.  Mizer went to elaborate lengths to refine and define this style of imagery that was by nature erotic and arousing for much of the culture and was yet socially acceptable by the general public at large.  It became a cultural phenomenon to see near naked men exposed in such ways.  This was of course before my time so I was never really exposed to such things.  But I do member as a kid seeing the puny weakling on the beach having sand kicked to his face and wanting to become more masculine and strong and the beautiful Adonis you would become and who would be adored by everyone if you subscribed to this sort of ad.  I am not even sure what the product was then.  I had never really paid much attention to this sort of photography, but now I see the influence it has on my own work and style.  Mizer was a man of vision who worshiped and paid such adoring homage to it.  He opened his house to lost wayward boys, giving them a sense of dignity and respect.  Paid them small sums for posing and gave them a place to stay.  Many of them hustled on the side and took advantage of his generosity.  But to look back, his artistic vision was astonishing and at the time may have felt or seemed worthless but inspired countless others to pursue the art of men naked.  In the end he lost everything and become labeled as a pornographer, but for one fleeting time in our history defined a new adoration of oneself, with dignity and respect becoming a beacon and icon for others to follow.  The film Beefcake by Thom Fitzgerald is a delightful film to watch unfold.  It is filled with actual images and footage of this era and style, and yes contains lots of nudity mixed with live interviews from some of the models from that time and their perceptions of themselves and how they viewed culturally what was happening.  I recently had ordered a book put together by Reed Massengill called Uncovered: Rare Vintage Male Nudes that pays homage to many of these artists, images lost but suddenly recovered.  I have been looking at it with a new found adoration for those who have paved our way in this modern era.

I Can Always Sell Matches

Wow it is mid afternoon and I feel like I have been sucked into the world of cyber reality as I am trying to figure out how to put together yet another piece of this mysterious website. My topic of search today has been: “How can I actually protect the images I put on the Internet?” I have completely come up blank. There are no real solutions actually available out there that can or will work. It seem that it mostly comes down to choice of completely marking the images up with some sort of watermark that will completely cover or obstruct the nature of the work or just putting the images out there for free access. I am not over comfortable with either. The nature of artist is free expression of the art or images without obstruction. I would like to be able to market myself somehow, but if most everything is just for free on the Internet then we end up working for nothing and it completely loses it value. What a strange time we live in where modern media is so limitless and expendable. I feel like I am living in a world of constant frustration that I can’t seem to make work and that the only options are a loss on either end. I wish somehow I just had a limitless wealth so that I could just be creative and not have to worry about the possibilities. Am I just two or three steps behind the technological world where I live? It feels most of life has been lived in a world of dying art forms. I was passionate about theater, but in a sense as I entered that world it too was coming to a close. Overall, the next generation is not really interested in such art forms and it seem that fewer and fewer young people are going to such events. Broadway still seems alive and thriving, but the ticket prices have become so hefty that many can no longer attend a show or will save up for one or two during the course of a venture into NYC. There was a time when I would fill every possible slot with a show when I was in the city, often two a day seeing 16 shows within a two-week visit.

Then I moved into the world of my second passion; photography. I believe the downfall of this medium is has been the advent of instant capture, instant see era. Everyone with a cell phone becomes a photographer and it’s instantly on line. I have seen the images from the new I-phones and I have to say they are utterly awesome. You no longer need any kind of training or experience to get really great results and people around the world are able to share your expression within moments. Perhaps this project becomes for naught, and is just a cry in the darkness of its fading history? I guess I am still having a blast in the creative process though most of the time I have no idea where I am heading. I still love theater and the experience of live interaction. I still love photography for the experience of live interaction and the beautiful essence of what lingers in its wake. Perhaps I should just remain in the garden because of my live interaction with nature, but then again it’s also heading to its season of dormancy. What is a girl to do????? One of my favorite scenes in a movie is from Victor/Victoria, where Julie Andrews dress has shrunk from the rain, and it’s the middle of the night, she is at wits end and begins to sob, “What am I going to do?” Robert Preston replies, “Sell matches!” But then again I live in a world of eternal flame and smoking seems to be on the decline.