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My "Camera Paintings"

This gallery highlights my ongoing experiments with body painting, costume, film and digital photography, and digital manipulation: painting with texture, color, shape and accidents... most of the earlier multiple exposures on this site were done WITHOUT digital layering: "accidents of film" made on purpose.

A photographer once told me that an ordinary snapshot camera was all one needed to create powerful effects; my camera as a co-creator brings the element of surprise into the work. Some of the images resulting are interesting to me as portraits, others as archives of experiments in makeup and manipulation. Here and there I find images with personas of their own that stand apart as if they have always existed, even before I created them.

Collectively they seem to record moments and personalities from an evolving dream theater; stills from a mythopoetic cinema dell'arte.

I have always loved costume, makeup, theater, ritual and make-believe; and experiments with painting people as if they were one of my canvas works. Until a few years ago, I had thought of my art in very traditional terms: "I am a painter," etc. and used photography only to create original reference materials to work from. Encountering the artwork and persona of Vali Myers in 1999 turned me on to the possibilities for face and body decoration with patterns and arabesques, which I put on myself for my "opening night persona" in 2000 (ME/"Gods and Men"). By accident, some of the pictures were double-exposed but turned out so interestingly that I went further.

Creating and presenting the Erotic Angels group show in 2004 thrust this experimentation into higher gear, for once I completed the experience of transforming myself utterly through body paint and costume (see "ME/"Painted Angel" – I painted and created everything I'm wearing) I wanted to work this transformation on others. Not only did I want to see how far I could go by my own hand, I wanted to see how the models would come to inhabit the creature that they were aspecting.

The people I like to photograph are usually just attractive or interesting to look at; even more important to me is their personal quality or expression of energy. Like the light inside a lamp, this soul force transforms an image with meaning. The more truly a model reflects his or herself, the more meaningful becomes our collaboration and the more our process becomes what it is already: Divine Play. More elements of creative surprise....