Monday, July 23, 2012
He only had a few scenes, but Frankfort Illinois actor Brian J. O'Donnell made quite an impact in last years Steven Soderbergh's Contagion.
I had little interest in watching Contagion, but as it's credits began on the movie channel last week, I found myself more and more drawn in. O'Donnell was still a senior in high school when he filmed his scenes with Matt Damon and Anna Jacoby-Heron (also in her first movie) but his entrance, wearing a Ushanka created a memorable first impression.
'I love walking around with my camera in hand, snapping pictures wherever I go. The art projects that I have featured here are my personal art projects - and I’ve been fortunate to work with some very talented models over the years to help with my art.'
As impressive as it is to create an incredible capture of the male form, Sacramento photographer Michael from STATIC Studios captures quite a bit more. The first images of Michael's that I saw were the two images at the end of the post. When viewing the images of 21 year old model JT Thao lying on the floor I was impressed with not only how original the images were, but also the distinctive mood Michael so beautifully creates.
Describing the mood is next to impossible, it will be different for every viewer, but it is there, quietly loud, emitted most powerfully from the light and shadows that surround and cascade over JT's body. Michael says he finds studios dry and sterile and I think his choices of shooting within natural environments, and his use of natural light, help create the mood with a warmth that sweeps over both his models and those who view his images.
Michael maintains this warmth regardless of location, inside or outside, factory or loft. I especially love the many creative ways Michael connects JT to so many light sources, sunlight of course, but also the light from an open door, a window, candles, streetlights and morning mist.
Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, natural light sources are not just a part of Michael's work, but also deeply important part of his life. Michael currently lives in what he calls a fun solar-powered loft in Downtown Sacramento, the perfect location to work on his art. Photography is not the only art form created in Michael's loft, the artist calls his work, varied and multi-dimensional and also includes painting, poetry, street art and photomontage.
21 year old JT Thao is also an artist. A fashion design major with a focus on designing cutting edge fashion for both men and women. Michael and JT have done about 10 photo shoots together and Michael is currently working on a photography book project that will exclusively feature JT, for publication in late Summer of this year.
'Working with JT has been a fantastic experience. Upon meeting each other, we found that we both had artistic ideas that matched well, as well as a joint interest in shooting artistic (and artistically erotic) nudes - and thus a great artistic collaboration was begun. JT has been a delight to collaborate with, as he's willing to try just about anything, and has made suggestions for photos that have worked very well.'
I was curious about Michael's choice to use Static within his professional name, I was sure it must have something to do with electricity, interference or static pressure. I am glad I asked as his answer was much more interesting than the reasons I had initially assumed.
'I've used "Static" since the mid-1990's as my art (and sometimes graffiti) "tag" of sorts. Initially, I was looking for a way to anonymously sign my artwork, and chose the name "Static" in reference to my "imaginary friend" I had when I was around 5 years old. I liked the use of it - as it was rather something of an "in-joke" for me, my doppelgänger identity as Static being a product of my early childhood imagination. As I am a self-taught artist, and my artwork over the years ranges from the faintly naiive to the generally uninteresting/unacceptable to the mainstream heterocentric art world, the idea of continuing to use this name is my way of declaring my identity as an "outsider" to the larger art world.'
'My interest (and participation in) DaDa art also had a lot to do with my use of the tag "Static." I firmly embrace Keith Haring's idea that art should be free (if possible), and accessible to all, and so I've often posted my artwork under the "Creative Commons" headings that people may freely share my work, if they find beauty (or find anything, really) in it. I still tag my work (c) Static, knowing full well that the "copyright" is totally meaningless to an artist who wishes for his work to be shared freely. Along the DaDa line, I similarly would tag buildings, other artwork, books, and even trees and rocks "(c) Static." This very cheeky idea of "copyrighting" unowned and uncreated things and places amused me, and I suppose it still does. The same idea applies to my art. I feel that the real "creators and owners" are the viewers of art.'
JT Thao on ModelMayhem
STATIC Studios on ModelMayhem
STATIC Studios Official Site
So Saturday night I headed out to the movies, my goal, to catch Michael Fassbender in Prometheus before it left my local theatre. Too late... Prometheus had it last showing the night before. The choice was down to Spiderman, which had already begun or The Dark Knight Rises which was starting in about 2 minutes. My choice would have been Andrew Garfield and Spiderman but in addition to my loathing of entering a movie once it has started (and leaving to have to go to the bathroom) one of the people I was with had seen Spiderman, so.... The Dark Knight Rises it was.
I had little interest in TDKR for a few reasons. Yes, the shooting in Colorado was fresh in everyone’s mind, that in itself was enough to pause. I also really didn’t get into the previous two films helmed by Christopher Nolan. Uninteresting female leads (Katie & Maggie) were part of it, but Nolan’s Batman, although clear in his choice of title, were just a little too dark for my taste. Ledger’s tour de force performance aside, I preferred remembering the fun I had going to see Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer when I was in high school. I shuddered at the thought of Anne Hathaway (annoying on a good day) prancing around as a poor substitute for Pfeiffer.
I could not have been more wrong. Maybe it was partly because of what happened in Colorado. Real tragedy causes make believe death and destruction turn to far lighter fare. I think everyone was a bit on edge during the previews, but The Dark Knight Rises ended up being I think my favorite Batman movie to date. Bale and company were great and Anne Hathaway gave what I consider to be her best performance to date. Now I know that Hathaway is a good actress, but in most of her movies I feel she is performing (belting) to the audience in the back row of a high school production of Guys & Dolls. Even with the showy role of Catwoman, Hathaway remained appropriately restrained, letting her claws out only when prey was within reach.
Performances from Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy also stood out. Coltillard because it was so predictable and Hardy’s because it was not. I generally worship at Coltillard in anything she appears in, but her story arc in this film was clear to me from her first scene. Her character, and the accompanying twist, could have been removed without the film missing a beat. Hardy on the other hand, even masked was incredible. I have known Hardy mostly because in the past, he has removed his pants in almost every film he appears in, but in Batman, he they remained tightly on his buffed up body. Bane has now become my favorite Bat foe and Hardy, an actor to follow, even with his clothes on. As the lights came up after the climatic ending, minds were once again dragged to the reality of what the movie will now always represent. For the 2 and half hours the movie played however, I was blissfully lost in the movies.
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
One of the things I most enjoying doing with a movie I like is uncovering some of the best moments from the cast. The Dark Knight Rises, provided some great opportunities.
Bale in American Psycho
Daniel Sunjata (Captain Jones)
Sunjata in Take Me Out
Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon)
Oldman in The Scarlet Letter
Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow)
Murphy in 28 Days Later
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Blake)
Gordon-Levitt in Mysterious Skin
Tom Hardy (Bane)
Hardy in Bronson
Hardy in Colditz