Heidi Horowitz: The Photographer’s View

CHC: Well hello there, Heidi. How are you doing today?

HH: Today is like all days, I am so grateful for it!

CHC: Brilliant! Let’s begin with the basics, how did you get started with photography? Was art always in your background?

HH: While growing up I was constantly exposed (no pun intended) to my father’s lens. He was a great photography enthusiast, always searching for new equipment or the best buy in film. I am now in possession of the many photos he took while serving in World War II overseas, during the time he spent traveling as a comedian with “The Major Bowes Amateur Hour”, and of course the thousands of family photos he took. My entire family is creative. My sister, Jane Simonson is a fine art painter, whose works have been shown in various galleries and museums. I couldn’t (and still cannot) draw a stick figure. I knew what I wanted to express on paper or perhaps even in words, yet I just didn’t have that gene. This, my favorite photography quote pretty much sums that up: “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things in words.” – Elliott Erwitt

CHC: When did your photography really come into play as a serious passion to pursue?

HH: Around 5 years ago, I was constantly taking poor quality pictures with my blackberry (ancient!). Everywhere I went, I documented events as they happened in my life, in order to preserve my memories. On one particular birthday, my kids bought me a “real” camera, a ‘point n shoot’ so that at least I could have better quality pictures.

That was it for me. I signed up for lessons, upgraded to a DSLR, added lenses, more equipment, more camera bodies, even more lenses, and went out on the streets.

CHC: You photograph the everyday. Why People, the title of one of your series? How do you relate as the artist to your subject?

HH: You are correct I photograph the everyday. In my series, People, I look for a ‘story’. I don’t necessarily care what the “true” story is, as I am not a photojournalist. I relate what I call a good photo to a good ballet. I have been a patron of the New York City Ballet for over 30 years. The reason I adore the ballet so much is that for the most part, there is no “story”. Unless it is intended to have one, such as Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake, (which I still love to see for the pure athleticism of the dancers), but those are not nearly as interesting or fun for me. The same holds true in my photography, whether it is of People or of the dolls in my Mirror Mirror series. The normal stress that comes with everyday life will show on people’s faces and body language, good and bad, whether it is because they are rushed, busy, hot, cold, hungry, tired, happy, distraught, in pain, frustrated because they have to wait for something or for someone, or excited because they are waiting for something or someone!

Rarely do I find a relaxed human on the streets of New York. I relate more to people on the beach. The beach is a wonderful “street”. The public beaches are so much fun for me because there is so much diversity, from very young to very old, the eccentrics, the vast array of body types and so many tattooed bodies! It is their “day off”, time to relax, maybe meditate, exercise, play or simply sleep.

CHC: Your series Mirror Mirror is all about the use of Barbie in eerie, mysterious, evocative and humorous situations in your works (please feel free to agree or disagree), I ABSOLUTELY ADORE these photographs. From what I’ve previously seen as what I like to call “Barbie Art,” I have never been so entertained and fascinated, even in the most mellow situations pictorially. How did Barbie enter your oeuvre? Why Barbie? What does this plastic ICONIC doll mean to you?

HH: Are you sitting down? With all due respect to Mattel © and to collectors, the Barbie doll means absolutely NOTHING to me. [CHC SURPRISED!!!] I do not collect them, “iconic” and as beautifully made as some of them may be. I do not keep the boxes for the “future”. I am not promoting the doll as a product. I do not see the doll as anything more than a plastic “model” that I use to represent the emotional side of me. I find some of the dolls have just the right facial expression or body language that I can maneuver to meet my needs for a certain message I want to send photographically.

CHC: Explain how you shoot your Mirror Mirror series if you don’t mind. Do you pick out which Barbie you will use, choose the location, and have an idea of what you want the picture to turn out like…or do you bring Barbie somewhere with you, have your camera and just go with the flow?

HH: I use both methods, and sometimes will combine the two. A shoot can take anywhere from half a second while on the run or “in the moment,” to weeks for the staged pieces, where I conjure up an idea, make sure the lighting is just right, the props are proportioned well, and the doll in use is clean and ready for work! But, I always have a camera with me anyway, and more often than not, depending upon the day, there will be a random doll in my bag.

This is an example of an unstaged, “I happened to have the right doll in my bag” moment. I had to work out the right proportion, hand and leg position, lighting all of the faces and direction of movement in a matter of seconds while holding my camera steady with one hand. Very difficult!!! The “story” here is  as if she is trying to “blend in” with the crowd, which apparently, she did, as not one person even noticed what I was doing. This is telling of what New York City is, to me. People are distracted by nothing other than themselves. -Heidi Horowitz

This is an example of an unstaged, “I happened to have the right doll in my bag” moment. I had to work out the right proportion, hand and leg position, lighting all of the faces and direction of movement in a matter of seconds while holding my camera steady with one hand. Very difficult!!! The “story” here is as if she is trying to “blend in” with the crowd, which apparently, she did, as not one person even noticed what I was doing. This is telling of what New York City is, to me. People are distracted by nothing other than themselves. -Heidi Horowitz

CHC: Unlike your “Barbie” photographs, do you stage the photographs you take of those in your People series? Do you ever interact with the people before of after you shoot, or is it all about the story the picture tells, and for people to leave the rest up to their imagination?

HH: I never stage a photo on the streets. As I mentioned previously, I am not actually interested in getting to know a perfect stranger’s story. That is none of my business, and it is not my job to report. It is more fun, and way more interesting to me to have the viewer make that up in their own mind, based upon all of the elements that go into a shot.

I normally do not photograph children, but sometimes it is necessary. This is about the interaction between the small child and the large adult, both dressed in costume, but only one of them knows that. As I saw this scene unfolding I literally ran to catch up to it. The “story” I made up in my head was this adorable little girl thinking “OMG I think I just saw the real spiderman! Nobody is going to believe me!” And she is utterly amazed that he is looking directly at her, as if to say, “Yeah, kid, it’s me. Don’t you worry, I am watching out for you.. go ahead and take your daddy trick or treating..and by the way, "Nice job on the feathers.” - Heidi Horowitz

I normally do not photograph children, but sometimes it is necessary. This is about the interaction between the small child and the large adult, both dressed in costume, but only one of them knows that. As I saw this scene unfolding I literally ran to catch up to it. The “story” I made up in my head was this adorable little girl thinking “OMG I think I just saw the real spiderman! Nobody is going to believe me!” And she is utterly amazed that he is looking directly at her, as if to say, “Yeah, kid, it’s me. Don’t you worry, I am watching out for you.. go ahead and take your daddy trick or treating..and by the way, “Nice job on the feathers.” – Heidi Horowitz

CHC: Who would you say are your artistic idols? Whether it be iconic artists, photo journalists, family, anyone…Moreover, whose works do you admire most and draw inspiration from? Do you have a muse?

HH: My most influential artistic idol is my sister, Jane Simonson. Because of her, I was surrounded by art in some form or another throughout my life. There are so many artists that I admire, and I am thankful to have made some amazingly talented friends in the photographic community, but I especially look up to Lori Nix, who’s creative process requires enormous patience, as she not only builds her own sets, but then photographs them in the most beautiful way, each one depicting a sense of emotion, without the use of a doll! David Carol, my teacher and mentor, has been incredibly inspirational to me. He introduced me to the “world of photography” as he himself lives it. He has had me study lists upon lists of who’s who in photography, past and present. If I am in a “slump”, he takes me on “field trips” to places I’ve never been, makes me run to “get closer” to a shot, and reminds me to check my exposure! Whether it is below freezing or stifling hot outside, we will walk and shoot for miles, and at the end of the day I will have learned something new, not only about photography, but about myself.

As for having a “muse”, yes I do have one. Me! I use my own PERSONAL life experiences, whether happy, sad, dark or funny, as inspiration for and representation of ALL women.

CHC: Where can we find and purchase your work?

HH: Some of my work can be seen on my website, Facebook or Instagram. Although, there are many more photographs that I do not choose to show online, I always try to arrange a private showing of my work when requested. Each photograph is produced in limited editions usually of only 12, signed (en verso) and numbered. Sizes will vary, but the Mirror Mirror series always shows best when printed 30” x 40” or larger. All inquiries can go to my “contact” page on the website to email me directly.

My work has also been featured in: Rangefinder Magazine, December, 2013 issue, Best of 2013 ‘Our Pics of the Year’ page 68, also featured as the background for the ‘Contents’ page; Musee Magazine, issue #2 page 47; Musee Magazine, issue #2 page 82; Lenscratch “Family” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Toy Camera” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Backyard” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Summer Fun” Exhibition; Musee Magazine’s Instagram “pic of the day.”

To see further through the eyes of Heidi check out:

Instagram: @HEIDIHOROWITZ21

Website: WWW.HEIDIHOROWITZ.COM

Facebook: HEIDI HOROWITZ PHOTOGRAPHY

XX, CHC

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Seriously… It’s Jeff Koons – “Made in Heaven”… Come On.

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME FOLKS?

I have recently been posting pictures of Jeff Koons’ first museum RETROspective and BOOOM. I have been blocked, warned, written to about the vulgarity I have been presenting to the public (no it was not this image above that has created a stir).

Many of you know Koons’ work even if you don’t think you do… well now you do. That shiny balloon dog – that is his creation.

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Others may know Koons’ work from before this/his campy craziness – if ever there was such a period.

Koons was once married to a porn star turned a Italian politician – a porn star who was making hard core porn videos while she was a member of Italian parliament… and she was not kicked out. Weird?

The artist’s Made in Heaven series are what many see as pornographic ads. He is fully exposed in many, as is she. But people, my friends, are calling this obscene and say it is inappropriate? Is it? Is posting it on Instagram or Facebook more inappropriate than seeing it in a museum with children? I’m not saying it is right or wrong – what I am saying is that this is a major part of what is becoming our culture and many have not explored outside the “traditional” art scene until these retrospectives and biennales etc. come up.

Art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I may not be the biggest Koons fan but his RETROspective was fun, entertaining, Koonsy, kitsch, camp… typical. But I still had fun regardless of how I feel about his work.

But the appalled attention the photos I have been posting to show another side of his work that many are not familiar with is just shocking.

Get CULTURED. Being naked, having sex, being sexual, exposed, is nothing new to art. If anything, in a sense it is traditional. Think of some of the first female figures that were created like the Venus of Willendorf (below) from the Palaeolithic era… PALAEOLITHIC – aka DINOSAURS. she was their SEX symbol. She was their Marilyn.

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Koons once made his body, his ex wife’s body, their story, into art – however sexual it may be it is a familiar symbol to the art world, putting sex on display with no shame… so why are you freaking out?

There is more to Koons than inflatables… G-d forbid to let the cat come out of the bag (Koons – Cat on a Clothesline below).

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Go to the Whitney. Make your own opinion. But don’t judge me or the exhibition before you experience it for yourself. This was a part of his past, a part of his oeuvre, a part of his history… we all have one – his is just exposed – literally.

Pop Culture Portraits – Don’t Hate Me Cuz You Ain’t Me

There one time was a CRAZE when celebrities got photoshopped or posed as icons into photographs. For example

1.Kevin Bacon transformed into George Washington by the presidential painter Gilbert Stuart.enhanced-buzz-2975-1387791418-14

2. Mr. Bean posing in the Death of Marat by David.

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3. HOV and Queen B as seen in American Gothic, by American artist Grant Wood. tumblr_msqpuw1UQF1shj7flo1_1280

4. Nicole Kidman as Lady with an Ermine by Italiano master extraordinaire, Leonardo da Vinci.

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THE SAGA CONTINUES!

Could this give a new meaning to Pop Culture? Is the current finally appreciating the past? Is David, Wood, da Vinci and more part of the everyday vernacular? Maybe not. But at least there is a some form of recognition.

And with today’s technology, citizens of Snapchat have taken pop culture and history to a whole new level. You won’t believe it.

Apparently much madness can be attributed to some SNAPCHATTER by the name Lyxdelsic, in captioning King Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud (b. 1701)… just took this game to a whole new level. “Don’t Hate Me Cuz You Ain’t Me.”

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It just went there. And it does not stop:

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I say keep on popping. Spread the word. Why not? To all you one liner Snapchatters, “may the odds be ever in your favour.”

LACMA and The Getty: LA – “If you don’t know, now you know.” -Biggie

1369545754094.cachedIn what was my first OFFICIAL visit to LA I can say that I was definitely IMPRESSED with both the LACMA and the Getty museums. Both institutions have been mentioned throughout my studies and to get to experience them in person was well worth the visits.

Being more partial to art of the contemporary persuasion I had an especially great time at the LACMA. The James Turrell Retrospective (see image above) in particular was a HIGHLIGHT (no pun intended), something that I strongly recommend to anyone living in the area or heading out that way – it runs through April 6th. The works span Turrell’s lengthy career, from early works all the way through plans for a yet-to-be-executed project at the Roden Crater in Flagstaff, Arizona. The temporal and spatial affects of Turrell’s works can hardly be described in words, one really must be there in person to engage with them. In order to experience the energy and power emanating from these works, immersion is vital and the effects are unforgettable.

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The Getty Museum (see image above) is one of the most beautiful institutions I’ve visited to date. High up on a hill overlooking the city of Los Angeles, you definitely gain a sense of the extreme wealth of the museum (J.Paul Getty left no shortage of cash). Like the LACMA it’s split up into different buildings housing different styles of art throughout various periods in history. The highlight for me here was Hearsay of the Soul, a 5 channel video installation created by one of my favorite directors, Werner Herzog (see image below). The film is a compilation of etchings by Dutch artist Hercules Segers complimented by the music of composer/cellist Ernst Reijseger (also Dutch). I found this piece to be both unsettling and beautiful, capturing the sublime through the coupling of the etchings and the pure emotive power of Reijseger as he played. It’s as if he was translating the artworks through his music. This was for me, definitely a must see! 4.-Herzog

If you have the opportunity to get to LA and visit these institutions, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

In the words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now you know”…so go!

Cheers,

NYX

Kanye West: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” Goes Haute Couture…

 

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This may be old news, BUT we are still not over it. If you have not heard, American artist George Condo painted a 40K BIRKIN (Hermes, DUH) for Kim Kardashian. The purse was a gift from her ever so loving BABY DADDY / fiancé Kanye West who is friends with the reknowned artist. What a statement.

While we love Condo, this atypical canvas is surely a first. This is not the West’s first collab with Condo. If anyone can recall back to 2010, the year after West’s drunken rampage at the VMA’s over Taylor Swift, Condo illustrated West’s cover of his album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” And while the bag is untitled, it kind of recalls a similar scenario, although it appears nothing like the album cover itself.

What do you think?? Beautiful? Dark? Twisted? Fantasy?

XX, CHC (Follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)

WHAT the HELLO: The Interview

… and BOOM. Just when we were not expecting to see this BRILLIANT artist intertwined between slaps and throws in LONDONTOWN, we came across our new friend from Down Under: What the Hello! What a refreshing way to start the New Year! See what he has to say about his art and brilliant advice he gives you future artists!

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Walking around SoHo London, I came across your sticker (what I like to think of the popsicle man with two legs and an upside down face – see image below) which caught my eye right away. The detail and subject made it stand out from most other “slaps” you come across on the streets – no matter where you are in the world. What made you come up with this idea to put out sticker art as opposed to putting “slaps” with “tags” on them?

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Haha! That’s so fantastic that you see my character as a “popsicle man”, I’d never looked at him in that way before and I like it. I always kind of thought of him as a small man looking inside a giant upside down head, perhaps his own head and being pleasantly surprised at what he’d found. All a bit deep and meaningful.. and kind of wanky, but I think I like the “popsicle man” idea better!

Thanks so much for noticing my stickers by the way, it’s always nice to hear that people are noticing and appreciating them. I guess when I started making them I really wanted to create stickers that would stand out and promote my art, so I made them big, colourful and kooky, and hand coloured them all so that each and every one is an individual piece of my art. 

I don’t think “slaps” with “tags” are really my thing anymore, I grew up doing graffiti so I get the whole “tagging” thing but I’m just more interested in the art now. I definitely want people to recognise my name “What_the_Hello”, but it’s more important to me that people recognise my artwork. 

Well with characters like yours, your work is highly noticeable! Where does your inspiration come from? What subjects are you most inclined to work with? Basically, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

As an artist I think most of my inspiration comes from pop culture both past and present. Of course I’m inspired by other artists, but also things like the cartoons I use to watch as a kid, the comic books I would read under my bedcovers at night, the artwork on lolly wrappers at the local milk bar etc. I always try to create images that give you that feeling of familiarity, not a tangible feeling, but more of a feeling that somehow it relates to you or your life.

We see that your art has infiltrated the apparel industry (see below) and you often refer to your work as illustrations. You have been named “Lurzer’s 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide amongst others” and have been featured in Rolling Stone! That is a major accomplishment! Do you have advice on how to get your art out there? tee 2

I studied Illustration at NMIT in Melbourne back in 2003 which is probably why I still refer to my artwork as “Illustration,” but I kind of do bit of everything these days from tee shirt design and graphics all the way through to mural artwork. The best advise I could give to anyone trying to get there work out there is to be as prolific as humanly possible, just be a part of everything and anything you can be a part of. Today especially when there are so many social media outlets at our disposal, it’s really important just to be seen as “doing.”

Clearly, you have traveled to spread your art which we he(ART). While I found your sticker art in London as mentioned before, I know you are based in Melbourne. What is the art scene like down under?! I’ve never been!

Melbourne has a brilliant art scene and there is so much happening here all the time, the only trick is knowing how to find it all. Besides having a thriving street art scene which is there for all to see, Melbourne has loads of little galleries and exhibitions popping up around town all the time so keeping an eye out and an ear to the ground is essential.

Fabulous! Hopefully I will get to go and check out the scene in the near future. However, last but an intricate part of being able to interact with your art, where can we purchase or see your latest works?!

The best way to see some more of my artwork is by checking out my website www.whatthehello.net or by following me on Instagram @what_the_hello. You can get your hands on some of my hand coloured stickers, original art and giclée prints at my Etsy shop via my website. 

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Well kids, there ya have it! What the Hello here to inspire us all. No matter what passion you wish to pursue, remember to follow your He(ART).

XX, DP (follow us on instagram @CultureHeARTs)

Fresh in a Classic Institution – Jan Fabre @ The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Brussels

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Museums usually tend to be places of deep contemplation. Rarely does humour and comedy come to mind when referring to such an institution. However, The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of BRUSSELS has invited contemporary artist Jan Fabre to display 36 bronze and wax busts in his exhibition called Chapters I-XVIII Waxes & BronzeAmongst the FAMOUS Flemish OLD MASTERS, such as Rubens and Breugel, one can fund these chucklesome busts (with faces that mirror those similar to Damien Hirst’s outlandish poses – or so some of them appear to be). These 36 busts are all self-portraits of the artist, mimicking art historical references, yet bringing them into the contemporary in a comical way. Fabre’s self-portraits are made of clean shiny bronze diverging from the usual dark dreary bronze that were used during the 19th century – very Koons-esque. The seriousness of these sculptures are also obliterated by poses of the artist laughing, smiling, and sticking out his tongue with sunglasses, unicorn horns, deer horns, and various other mythical creature features.

For me at least, these busts bring a light humour to a very stern environment. It relaxes us from the strict setting of the Museum and allows us (or for me at least) to not be as serious and remind us to enjoy the beauty of the art surrounding us.  Fabre describes that he, through making these portraits “…laugh[s] with myself. You see the obstinate Jan Fabre, the coarse Jan Fabre, the diabolic Jan Fabre, and the foolish Jan Fabre. There is a kind of irony in it, of course.” This of course is not to discredit his work altogether as foolishness. Fabre is also cleverly studying and contemplating the medium of historical self-portraiture, the human body, and more importantly how we situate and are aware of our own existence within the world we live in. However, he does this in a playful way, which is refreshing.

If you have a chance to come visit Brussels, then I highly recommend you come visit The Museum of Fine Arts of Brussels. Kill two birds with one stone – get your fix of the Old Masters with a Contemporary TWIST.

PEACE OUT, K