I don’t like sharing a studio. I’ve tried that, but to be an artist you need to be an alpha-type person. And two alphas don’t share well, and it’s even worse when one artist is serious about work and the other just wants to smoke pot all day and make a lot of declarations and promises. I know there is that clichée of the lone artist toiling away in a studio somewhere. That may actually be true in the creative phase, but the rest of the time being an artist means being a cultural entrepreneur. As an artist I need to work even harder than a businessman. If I build a business, I can identify a need for my product or service in the marketplace and try to meet that need. But no one needs art. So I have to hustle twice as hard.
Not surprisingly, the artist-as-slacker vision is most convenient to slacker-artists. Berlin is filled with photographers, painters, writers and musicians who spend all night drinking and all afternoon in cafés complaining about the lack of paid work, publishers who don’t “get it” or amateur gallerists. Many believe that working hard is somehow anathema to the arts, and a form of selling out… or at least find themselves overwhelmed by the fun to be had. Read James Coleman’s article “In Berlin, you never have to sleep” to see what I mean.
So I no longer share my studio space, but I am also very busy, and I need my space for my own work. I have assembled a very talented team, and some of the members will occasionally utilize the space for their own creative efforts. I frequently get asked whether my studio is available for rent, and the answer is an unequivocal NO! But every once in a rare while I will lend my space to a photographic artist who is working hard, has a creative vision for a specific project, and is also a friend.
All of that was just a long preamble. Here’s a video that Tomaso Baldessarini put together to show a portrait project that he has begun. It’s called Anti.Mono.Stereo. I believe he works very hard, and I think his portrait project is interesting. The few images he’s shown look very different than this video, but I believe he is after a certain mood, and is capturing faces devoid of emotions. The face is a person’s most powerful tool in the expression of feeling, in the communication of self, but what does that tool look like when it is not being used?
Tomaso shot this at my studio, and is shooting again in a few weeks. And I’m in the video because I am one of the faces in the project, and that’s why I’m sharing it on my blog. I’ll link to his work again when he’s ready to show the work in a proper gallery.