Post by Corey Armpriester
Amsterdam and Philly and Computerland
CA-Amsterdam seems just right for you on many levels; think about the Tulip and two lips being the vaginal lips. Have you ever thought about doing an erotic shoot in a field of Tulips or is that redundant?
TW- It’s actually a wonderful idea, I would be very compelled by something like that, and now that you gave me the idea, you may see that picture in the near future.
CA-Do you have a favorite Philadelphia artist?
TW-Hands down George Krause, he was one of my early mentors in the ’70s and after meeting him I invited him to Rochester to lecture when I was studying at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and he stayed as a guest in my home for a weekend which was unbelievable for a 24-year-old photography student. Even these days when I look at his work, it remains top shelf.
CA-Are you enthusiastic about art or photography?
TW-I feel enthusiastic about digital media, the internet, specifically blogs. I think that is where artists should move their work forward, by creating their own community around the work.
CA-I’ve been to your blog and it feels like an explosion of yes.
TW-I appreciate that because for the first time in several years I feel like my creativity has been invigorated. Whenever you go through personal struggles like a divorce or illness or death in the family, it’s very draining on the creative process. I’ve catapulted all of my energies into a daily commitment to the blog. I encourage any artist young or old, if you don’t have a blog or a website or email address to get those things so you can become part of the digital world.
CA-Is there any way of escaping that?
TW-No, it’s like if you need glasses. It’s part of the process now.
CA- You see it as an empowering tool?
TW-Absolutely, you become your own publisher.
CA-Empowerment through electronic media?
TW-One hundred percent. I’ll take it a step further; I think galleries as a vehicle to show work these days is passé.
TW-Yes, the frontier for showing uninhibited work is on the internet.
CA-How do you balance reaching for the stars and accepting reality as it exist?
TW-There is no balance. The artist must have an unwavering commitment to what they believe in and must maintain this unique position.
CA-Do you mentor artists?
TW- I’m constantly mentoring artists.
CA-What is it about human sexuality that makes you seek it out and explore it? What happened in your childhood?
TW-It’s what happened when I studied art history. I saw a lot of great things–I saw great painting and great ancient art, great sculpture, and then I started to see a lot of photography and when I looked at all of that work I said, you know what’s lacking in this great canon of art that I studied? Where’s the human sexuality? That was lacking in my view of art history.
CA-Do you think it was cleverly disguised?
TW-It was disguised in allegorical paintings but hard core sexuality, which is part of human existence, was never seriously addressed.
CA-Does the name Pindar mean anything to you?
TW-No, I don’t know Pindar. What is it?
CA- You have a photograph on your website that is a portrait of you and Tony Ward (model/actor/artist) you’re both wearing sexy short shorts and slogan t-shirts that say “I am Tony Ward” (I am=God, esoteric symbol) and Tony Ward (model) is feeding you something that looks like a cigar and you’re blowing smoke out of your nose while the other Tony Ward is touching his penis. This trinity of symbols made me think of Pindar, the golden penis of the dragon/lizard that lives in the South of France. Are you familiar with this myth and legend?
TW-It’s interesting you bring up mythology and the esoteric; I have heard these kinds of connections to my work before. People may not know but I meditate twice a day. Who knows, maybe just a subliminal thing. On a practical side, the way that t-shirt came about was Helmut Newton’s former stylist Sascha Lilic saw my book Orgasm in a book store in Europe. He was creative director of Spoon magazine at the time and sent a message to his editor in New York to contact me about us working together. I thought he was looking for Tony Ward the model. So I contacted Sascha and suggested we do a shoot with Tony Ward. Tony Ward shoots Tony Ward (the model) and Sascha loved it. We met in LA to produce the shoot where Tony resides and that’s really how that photograph came about.
CA-You seem to be more and more involved in the world of celebrity. Is there anything about that world that frightens you?
TW-The more famous you are the less autonomy you have.