My career began as a spoiled layabout in Greensboro, NC, surrounded by a jackpot of weirdoes, three of whom are now the editors who bring you Mayday Magazine. Upon arrival in Greensboro, I had made a handful of short films, the earliest dating back to an 8th grade short which re-enacted the Nat Turner Slave Rebellion and won an NC Heritage award. Once the Gate City’s artistic sleazorati got a hold of me, my output started to elevate. I was a member of the artistic alliance/corporation American Distractions, an outfit many refer to as the Wu-Tang Clan in cardigans. I assumed the Ghostface role. American Distractions produced my one-act play, Breakfast in Nice, which received solid reviews.
My impatience with filmmaking led me to photography in an effort to create images quickly. My first project was a photo essay of Greensboro’s rub-and-tug “massage parlors.” I was chased and nearly attacked by angry Asian madames and pimps during the assignment. The experience led me to a serious study into the medium of photography. Disillusioned by the growing number of the scumbag, guy-with-camera “modeling photographers” and by snowballing internet megalomania, I began to examine new ways to make portraits of “beautiful” people. I became fascinated with finding human depth in the middle of artificial, self-glorifying popular imagery. This proved to be a difficult and occasionally controversial task. The difference between examining the contemporary state of human truth and merely making more vapid “pretty pictures” is dangerously small.
Houston, with all of its deranged pride in venal emptiness, became a rich platform for me to look for where authentic beauty could be found in a sea of polished ugliness. I began producing local event television in Houston, with the sole intent of gaining access into the world where people were outspoken and proud to sell themselves out for anything. The garish packaging of Houston’s emptiness allowed me to find images that were striking, accessible, and cartoonish—illustrating a new devolution in the modern American.
Then suddenly, I was invited to co-organize/curate a city-wide art biennial in Bangkok, Thailand. I took the job and moved East.
Once in Bangkok, life fell into chaos. The Bangkok International Art Festival was to be the most legendary collection of artists ever assembled south of Tokyo. Artists in the initial lineup included: Banksy, Thomas Demand, Philip Lorca-Dicorcia, Nobyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, Os Gemeos, Animal Collective, Matmos, Los Carpentaros, Bela Tarr, Space Invaders, Janet Cardiff, Sue DeBeer, and Stan Douglas among others. My partner and I produced the exhibitions, performances, and massive construction projects for two years, then the bottom fell out. The vacuum of corruption resulting from a government coup and subsequent bombings in Thailand led to the disappearance of funding for the festival, just weeks before it was to begin. My partner and I scrambled to re-organize and fundraise and managed to still hold the festival on schedule, with a fraction of its original lineup.
I returned to Houston with a deeper and sharper insight into the extremes and nuances of human nature which galvanized my approach to photography. Since returning from Asia, my work has been featured in Kid Glory Magazine, Urban Outfitters, Neal Hamil Agency, The China 8 Project, The Houston Press, two group shows, and an album cover for the group Sunol.
I now split my time between Houston and Austin and, in addition to photography, have returned to my first love of filmmaking. I am the lead producer on a recently completed independent feature, Billy Bates, starring James Wirt and Margherita Missoni, directed by Jennifer DeLia, and co-produced by Julie Pacino. The film is aimed to premiere in Berlin in February and Cannes in May. My production company, Clayhead Pictures, is currently developing two documentaries and a feature film.