As we transition LA Slush into more of a personal blog featuring behind the scenes perspectives on what we are writing and the home site for links to all of our work, one thing we’ll be highlighting will be the articles that struck a nerve with readers and did exceptionally well online. Our LA Weekly profile on Tyler Shields last year will definitely be on this list.
The controversial photographer and film-maker is a polarizing figure and writing about him was a challenge, but an extremely enjoyable one. We changed our mind about him a couple of times during our interview, at one of his events and later while researching his work. He still kind of puzzles us and that’s a good thing.
His work is filled with celebrities, which makes him a target for “star-fucker” slags right off the bat. Lindsay Lohan is a friend and frequent subject too. He makes tons of money for this work. He puts himself in his pieces. His stuff is shamelessly provocative often depicting violent images, guns and gore. It’d be shocking if he didn’t have haters. Forget about Klout, negative comments on the net are the real measure of fame and power these days!
Still, his gorgeous and vibrantly-lit work has just as many lovers and they’re well deserved. (Has Demi Lovato ever looked sexier than she does in the above photo?) People can question Shields originality or shock value aesthetics — we have — but we don’t think they can honestly deny his talent or eye for beauty, whether it be found in obvious physicality or extreme brutality.
Tonight, Shields presents “Mouthful” at the Ace Gallery in the Wilshire Tower. Anyone who knows us, knows this one is right up our alley too. We are obsessed with mouth and lip imagery. Just take a gander at our Pinterest boards.
If eyes are windows to the soul, mouths are the doors to our minds– often dirty, sometimes dumb, and occasionally demented. Always expressive… The public can see the work right now (GO!!), but tonight there will be a private showing for friends and fans, and if we know Tyler (and we kinda do now), he’s probably got something theatrical up his sleeve. Last year before a screening of his video work at Soho House, he made all his guests — including yours truly– pose in the theatre like we were dead [see photo below... can you spot us?]. The year prior he had someone shoot him (for real) at an art opening.
Though busy prepping for the one-day-only showing, we managed to get a little email Q&A with the enigmatic artist, and though his answers are terse, we think it gives you an idea of his personality. Enjoy it and some of his old and new pics (used with permission) below.
1. How did you come up with the idea for this exhibit?
I have been wanting to explore an inside the mind concept for a while.
2. Why is it only up for one day?
I want it to be one of those things you either made it to or could only hear about there are a lot of elements to make this happen the way I want it so it would not be as good if it was open longer.
3. Whose mouths are featured and why?
Francesca Eastwood is the main mouth but there are a lot of other people once you get inside (that will make sense once see it).
5. What’s next for Tyler Shields?
My new novel richest man is coming out soon and I am ready to start making movies!
More info on the exhibit and Shields upcoming projects (plus, his entire portfolio) at www.TylerShields.com.