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 Flutter of Activity

Last week was a flutter of activity.  I needed to turn my focus toward the Missoula Art Museum Auction and finish off my other website for it’s opening.  The art auction was a huge success for me.  My framed photograph of the Helmville Rodeo creating somewhat of a bidding frenzy and drove the price up, finally going for $1900.  This is very good for the Missoula market, photography in particular.  Mine becoming the 12th highest priced piece to sell of the evening of 110 pieces being sold.  I am now being offered shows spots around Missoula area. This sort of establishes me as an artist in this region of Montana.  My cyrphoto website is now structurally in place, with just a minimal amount of on going tweaking to keep it operational.  I now have the month of February to begin to focus back on this project.

Yesterday I began a conversation with Cheesecake painter artist Paul Richmond whom I have admired for such a long time.  It just started out with a simple hello and the day ended with him sending me a selection of his images to become the next profiled artist on the project.  I was up well into the night creating his gallery.  It feels so good to be back here again.  I have missed this community.  I working on an article about Paul and will have it all posted later in the week.

I have also lined up several new models and will get back to shooting again the beginning of next week.

Back to a Point of Lost Innocence

I woke up this morning thinking about my cousin Kathy.  There were three families from that generation, and each had three children and she was the only girl amongst eight boys.  I always felt a particular kinship with her, perhaps because that unbeknownst gay genetic gene was always present and she had dolls and I could feel safe and at home in her room.  She was always the person I went to and confided all my secrets with as she did with me.  In a sense it always felt like we could share everything.  But most importantly she never judged me.  Though we all knew I was different, not being able to label it as such.   She always accepted that difference and helped me to nurture and hold on to a side of myself that always seemed hopeless.  I was taunted and teased by other boys because I was so odd.  I was very sensitive and shy with a big heart I wore on my sleeve.  Some how others seem to take advantage of this vulnerability, but Kathy was always there, close, comforting, pulling me out of the muddy mire.

Lately I feel I have been feeling a bit lost and have come back to this project to somehow reclaim myself.  As I begin to clean though the files I begin to see how much doubt and fear so much of my life was based on.  I have been looking for the champions who have helped me through those though times.  Kathy was truly one of the champions in my early life.  I owe so much of my creative ability to her.  She is truly the woman of my light.  She supported me unconditionally.  She gave me such courage to find and accept myself.  I somehow didn’t see, or had forgotten until I dreamed about her this morning.  Somehow it feels like my conciseness is beginning to make its way back to a point of lost innocence and my dreams lately have been about people I have forgotten.

The years have passed and Kathy’s and my life have moved in different directions, in different cities.  We now see each other at family outings once a year or so, and it feels like we are strangers.  The last time I really connected with Kathy was several years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer; it was a beautiful crisp spring morning.  She came to the garden I was planting, we sat in the gazebo, in the beautiful light that morning, and opened our hearts talking about all the things we had lost, and how we always seem to reclaim ourselves.   I realized this morning, that Kathy I have you let you know how much you are loved, adored and admired.  Thank you for all you have ever done for me.

Something Unexpected!

I had an unexpected surprise yesterday morning.  A kid stopped by that I was interviewing for a model.  He is from Montana but works in the oil fields down in Colorado and was taking off to head back there today for work.  We jumped right into shooting, or testing,  to see how he would photograph.  The natural winter light was beautiful in the studio so we continued to shoot for an hour or so.  Wow, he was just sensational to work with.  Totally a natural!  I am jacked to resume shooting on this project again.  Now I really need to get myself in gear and begin actively looking for some new subjects.  I spent the morning working through his images and began texting some of them to him as I worked.  They looked very good naturally without much adjusting.   He will be back to Montana in a couple of weeks so we can begin working again.  If there is anyone out there that would like to work with me or knows of someone that would become a good subject let me know.  It seems quite difficult to find people here in Missoula.

Cleaning Through The Project!

I have spent the past couple of days cleaning through The Naked Man Project, fixing broken links, simplifying the internal elements, and opening up many of the existing galleries.  Many of the model galleries have not been open to look at since the beginning of the website.  My focus has been the make it functional.  I originally put real peoples’ name on many of the metafile data and when site became very popular at the end of the first year blog, many of the models become a bit leery of someone being able to search them and find them exposed.  So I began to shut down many of the galleries and a few of the blog posts in respect of their anonymity, some of the names I changed.  It was heart wrenching in the beginning when I was asked to remove things that I thought were key elements to explore my style.  Though most everyone had signed a model release allowing me to use these images I am still mindful and respectful of their wishes and realize we all live in a very small community here in Montana.  I still see and want this to remain a community project.  It has been a year now and many of the links have been broken and the site has remained in a stasis.  The site is still getting a lot of traffic and it is time to get back to the work.

I want to begin shooting on the project again at the beginning of February and have begun approaching some new subjects; I’m even meeting someone new this morning.  I still don’t have a clear motivation for the project and it’s aim but will begin exploring those ideas in the upcoming weeks.