Big Brother Canada is over, but many of last years house guests recently join this years crew for a multi-day celebration of the end of this years season. This image featuring Andrew and Kyle with Alec and Tom from last years cast. Ahhh, forgotten how I lusted after Alex's stomach...
Brilliant on the big screen, actress Charlize Theron demonstrated that although she may be a good actress, without dozens of takes, a firm script and great direction, she is really not that hot of an performer. Maybe it was the SNL format or the fact it was comedy, but Theron was painfully bad, even in well written sketches. After a so so start with her not singing monologue, things quickly went downhill. Thankfully, Taran Killam was briefly shirtless. It didn't entirely make up for Theron, but it helped a little.
Pushing down and pushing out, at boundaries and barriers, is trait many artists have in common. The restraints put upon us, often from within, cloak and restrict the limits of imagination. The ability to visualize beyond what can be seen, creates not just great art, but new experiences and original concepts. This is true for all art forms, great images, paintings and sculptures as well as the written word. Tim Parise has not just the desire, but a need to move beyond. Beyond not just boundaries, but the limits of space and time creating stories which take us places we never could have imagined we wanted to visit.
The Kihei, Hawaii author began modeling in 2009 after being approached by a photographer about a shoot for Freshman Magazine. The magazine soon after went out of print, so the project never saw the light of day. That setback didn't stop Tim from continuing to model. He worked steadily however, with many different photographers over the next three years. During his time in front of the camera, Tim usually wore either just a tiny swimsuit, often on one of Hawaii's many incredible beaches, or more often not, he wore nothing at all. Modeling naked was initially an exciting new experience and a way to reshape boundaries. When the novelty of the experience, of being naked, daring and edgy, began to wear off, the clothes went back on.
With his pants pulled up, the number of offers went down. Tim reports that the number of offers to collaborate, dropped to almost nothing. The plus side of modeling less was the time Time found to now focus seriously on his writing. Tim has already published four novels and is currently working on his fifth. His goal, to work on his his written work rather than his body thus far, hasn't worked very well. When people, like pesky blog owners like myelf, stumble upon him on line, it is usually his nude images, that they contact him about.
It was indeed an image, one from one of my favorite photographers Mark Gratham, that introduced me to Tim and his work as a model. It was his passion for writing however, that had me stubbornly pursuing a piece for the blog. Although FH is full of images of men in various forms of undress, it is also full of stories. I would rather post 1 great image and an interesting story, than dozens of hot images of a naked man, if the model or photographer, had nothing of interest to say. Thankfully Tim had plenty to say. So.... after a bit of negotiation, mostly about which images we should use, here is a small slice of Tim's story... his modeling, and beyond.
Favorite modeling experience? 'Probably a shoot I did with Lucas Ferrier back in 2011. It was quick, it was fun, and the resulting photos had a look I never expected. He captured something in me that no other photographer ever has. Those shots are still my favorites out of all the thousands I’ve posed for.'
Interesting stories from your shoots? 'There was one I did with several other models in the ruins of an abandoned schoolhouse which had been a very grand building once. We posed in the empty window arches high above the ground, somewhat like the Caryatids on the porch of the Acropolis. I also did a shoot with a photographer on Oahu who specializes in nudes in a jungle setting. Most of his usual models are dancers or yogis, so it was quite strenuous for me, trying to keep up with the dynamic poses he had in mind'
'Probably the oddest request I’ve gotten was an offer to play Dr. Watson in a gay-themed Sherlock Holmes film. I may be a devotee of the Holmes stories, but I can’t act to save my life!'
What factors did you weigh before deciding to take it all off? 'First and foremost, whether I would enjoy the experience or not. That was my main consideration: would it be fun? I also thought about whether it would be an effective way of expressing my sense of distance from a society that illogically fears the human form. When I was satisfied that it would accomplish both of those objectives, I went ahead.'
I came upon your work via two of my favorite photographers, Mark Grantham and Mike Tossey, what was that experience like? 'I have a weakness for concepts that allude to Greek sculpture and architecture, and they shot me in the ruins of an abandoned nineteenth-century factory as well, which appealed to my sense that the organic should triumph over the industrial.'
So Why did you stop? 'The work with Mark and Mike was special with a good, strong concept behind it. Most photographers who were contacting me about shooting nude at that point didn’t have anything in mind for a setting beyond a beach, or a forest, or a studio or ordinary room. I’d done those all before. There was nothing new in it. I first became interested in nude modeling as a means of expression. By this time, it had become repetitious, which isn’t to me an accurate representation of my personality. So I stopped doing it and focused on my writing as a more effective outlet instead.'
'I visualize my stories quite easily, but I’ve never been able to visualize how I look in front of a camera as a model. I rely on the directions from the photographer. On those few occasions when I do have an idea of my own as to how I should pose, I have trouble getting my body and face to respond accordingly. It’s probably lack of experience. When it comes to writing, though, I don’t have those drawbacks.'
Have you used your looks, your work as a model, as part of promoting your work as a writer? 'Only to the extent that I use one of my modeling photos on my books and business cards. It’s not as effective a tool as you might think. I’ve had too many people act impressed by my combination of looks and intelligence and swear that they’re going to go right out and buy one of my books - and then they never do. The world’s attitude towards books has changed a lot since Truman Capote draped himself over the arm of a sofa for Harold Halma.'
It is hard to think of Stephen King without thinking of Maine, Anne Rice without connecting her work to New Orleans. Has Maui played a role in any of your stories? 'Yes, it certainly has. Maui was the main inspiration for my third novel, Totum Hominem, where I drew on the island’s history of exploitation by missionaries and agribusiness to create a fantasy about what might have happened to a similar land in a remote past, a fantasy that also serves as a cautionary tale about the future. It discusses or hints at a variety of changes I would like to see made here on Maui, both culturally and economically. And it’s the most vigorous protest I could make against the ongoing pollution of the island by the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, which is doing its best to poison us while still operating at a loss. For us, here, pollution isn’t an abstract issue. You can stick your head out the door and smell the stench from the factory fifteen miles away. That can have a pretty strong impact on your writing.'
You have 4 novels published, how difficult was the process of getting your work published and promoted? 'The publishing part was easy. It’s always possible to find a small press that will take your work these days, or if you want to do it yourself, you can self-publish. The promotion part has been difficult so far. I’ve done some advertising, and I’ve gotten my books into the local library, bookstore, and gay resort, but they’ve yet to catch on on a larger scale. That is the sole advantage that the large traditional publishing firms still retain for the moment. They can afford to print copies in bulk and just throw them into bookstores in the hope that readers will buy them. Those of us who operate locally aren’t able to be so bold and have to build an audience first, a little bit at a time, before seeing the avenues for promotion open up.'
Is there any particular theme or focus that you feel represents you or your work? 'The biggest theme in my work is individualism. Every one of my novels features a single character, or a small group of characters, who work against organized society and overcome it. They don’t lose, they win. They’re not Byronic anti-heroes, they’re victorious! Another focus of mine, a subtler one, is time. I think chronologically, not spatially. I’m far less concerned with how an action looks now than I am with its effects ten, a hundred, five hundred years in the future. My characters reflect that in different ways. As a rule, they live mentally in the future, not the present, and possess the unstated conviction that a single action by a single person, multiplied over enough time, can alter humanity as a whole. Humanity itself is perhaps my third major theme. I try to convey that there is no point in common between individuals except their shared humanity, and that the division of the human race into cultures, nations, societies and other groups is more or less idle imagination.'
If someone is reading this interview and finds themselves wanting to read one of your books, which one would you suggest they begin with and why? 'That’s going to depend on individual taste, of course, but personally I think my second book, L’Affaire Famille, is my best and most accessible work so far. It’s short, it has a lot of variety in it, and it’s based in part on the real-life development of an antiviral capable of curing HIV. It’s more immediately relevant than the rest of my writing. Alternate history fans, and anyone interested in World War II and the Cold War, would probably appreciate my latest book, The Bettor, about a history professor who makes a fortune during the war and then puts it to use changing the world’s political landscape. My first novel, Hyperdrive, is hard science fiction dealing with the terraforming of Mars. It’s also my only book so far with gay protagonists. And my third book, as previously mentioned, uses the history of Maui as a basis for a tale of self-discovery. It features themes that would appeal to readers concerned about the environment, industrialism, religious extremism, and overpopulation.'