Perhaps the biggest name being talked about in the world of artistic celeb photography right now is none other than Tyler Shields. His style is, to say the least, quite provocative and manages to weave beauty with the macabre and love with the dangerous, all in an effort to illustrate the dirty (and often time unseen) side of glamour.
Shields has been most recently associated with our dearest Lindsay Lohan, whom he depicted in a bloody feud with a lover, as well as Glee actor Heather Morris, who was photographed with a glittering bruised eye–a controversial piece that struck a little too close to home for some viewers.
Tyler Shields will be part of a joint exhibition with Maximilian Wiedemann at Imitate Modern–a well-respected London art gallery–from October 13th to November 12th. We were lucky enough to get a chance to talk with Mr. Shields and ask him a few questions that, hopefully, work to shed a little more light on his current standing as a contemporary artist.
Interview with Tyler Shields
CDL: You maintain a very unique artistic vision and perspective, often time dealing with controversial themes and subject matter. Recently, you portrayed GLEE star Heather Morris with a “glamorous” black eye and not so long ago captured the bloody dangers of love with (MY ABSOLUTE FAVE CELEB!) Lindsay Lohan. I, personally, am an advocate for your artwork; but, before we talk about your upcoming exhibit in London, what might you say to those people out there who claim not to “understand” your artistic/creative direction?
TS: What a great question. I’m not creating for them – I’m creating for myself. If it angers someone or they don’t understand it – that’s on them, not me. I have a vision that I like to see and I like to create. If someone in a random town thinks that I have really given Heather Morris a black eye and am laughing about it, they are mistaken, that’s not the case. I think there is always a very dirty side to glamour.
It’s quite interesting how you say your “art is for you, not for them.” Many artists might challenge this notion of art for the artist’s sake. Is that a creed you live by? It sounds as if your art is very much a cathartic experience for you. . .
If I’m not happy then why would I bother to make it? Of course you want people to respect and embrace and enjoy the work, but at the same time you have to be proud of what you are creating as a person.
Your work has been considered “controversial enough to be branded illegal by over a dozen countries around the world.” How do you, as an artist who strives to get his work in front of as many audiences as possible, feel about that statement?
The idea there are kids in a country that I’ve never been to who are trying to see my work but being blocked is crazy. I’m flattered in one way but at the same time . . . why does a country take the time to block my website for everyone within its walls? It’s crazy. I love it. It’s hilarious. I want to go there!
You’ll be showing your work alongside London-based artist Maximilian Wiedemann in an upcoming exhibit at Imitate Modern, a well-respected modern art gallery in central London. What can viewers expect to see there, and how was your experience working with Maximilian?
Working with Max is like working with a tiger wrapped up in a bear’s body! He is a rare breed of animal never considered for mass production. That being said even I don’t know what to expect. My own goal is to stay alive and survive the night. Needless to say I’m excited.
You’re currently working on a new book entitled The Dirty Side of Glamour. I can only say, as a writer of all things celeb-worthy, that I’m intrigued. Can you tell us a little more about the project (i.e. when it will be published) and what people might expect to find within its pages?
Hopefully next year. I’ve been working so long on it that it feels like it may never end. When it’s done it will be the craziest collection — a mix of celebrities and complete chaos blended together. My hope with it is that if at any point I should ever die and this was the only book I ever put out that it could live on forever.
Have you ever had the fear of not being able to create something or, on the flip side, find yourself able to create something only to have it not live up to your standards?
No, I don’t believe in fear. Fear is the worst four letter word ever invented. And if something is not up to my standards I’ll make [sure it gets] up to my standards!
Your greatest muse? And does he/she/it have a name? I mean, seriously, you could tell me it’s your pet beta fish (if you even have a fish) and I’ll be impressed.
I have many muses — many people who inspire me for many reasons. If I was to name some and not another I risk outrage! My list of muses is long and very important to me because they are all very important people, all for very different reasons.
What do you consider to be the turning point in your artistic/creative journey? Is there a pivotal moment in your life that is particularly vivid?
When I started taking pictures. I still remember the first photo I took and the reasons for taking it and the response I got from people. At that moment I realized how a single photo could influence people in a very deep way.
All of us here at CelebDirtyLaundry appreciate you taking a few moments out of your chaotic life to chat with us. We wish you the best of luck with your London show! We realize you’re super busy, but if you’d like to tell people anything else we’d love to help you tell them! Any last burning thoughts you’d like to get off your chest before the big day?
If people are interested in seeing my work they should take every opportunity to see it today, because I may not be here tomorrow.
P.S. You and Lindsay Lohan should meet me for lunch sometime. . .Have a fantastic time in London and May the Force be With You in all your pre-gallery opening publicity work!
[*crickets chirp in the background* Unfortunately, no LiLo+Shields interview-lunch-date was scheduled or promised. . .]
If you’re in the London area and are interested in checking out some great art, make sure to stop on by Imitate Modern (website HERE). Or, if you’re like us, and have a ridiculous amount of schoolwork that prevents you from jumping across the pond, check out some of Tyler’s intriguing work on his website from the comfort of your own home! www.tylershields.com
Thanks again, Tyler Shield!
Images Courtesy of: Tyler Shields’s website