'Ross Watson's paintings are obviously the work of a master of technique. The conjunction of modern naturalism and classic works makes it hard to believe one's eyes.'
Sir Ian McKellen
It was back in 2007 when I first discovered the work of Australian artist Ross Watson. I was searching for shots of Australian Football League player Paul Licuria and came across a series of paintings by Ross which featured the AFL player and his incredible physique.
The Gaze of Adonis
I immediately fell in love with Watson's vibrant and color images of incredibly hot men. I loved Watson's fantasy, dream like approach and the various other themes he incorporates within his work. In addition to elements of fantasy, Watson's images feature men in uniform, men out of uniform, cmnm scenario's, strong, confident and sexual men, and also magnificent moments of erotic vulnerability.
If you're in New York next month, Watson's work is being exhibited in a show entitled. Homines Uniformis. Check out the details below, or find out more information HERE:. Watson will also be autographing his new book, Untitled II, a luxurious hard cover book focusing on Watson's artwork produced over the past decade
Alexis and the King's Trooper
Homines Uniformis June 17 - 30, 2019
Official Opening and Book Launch: Tuesday 18 June from 6pm - 8pm
27 year old artist and model Christopher La Fleur believes that when you put in the hard work, it will be reflected in the images you create. This applies to both his work as a model in front of the camera, as well as his work as an artist behind it. I am always fascinated when I interview a model, to find out how much of what I see within their images, is a reflection of who they are a person.
Art isn't of course, always about the subject, more than not, the model is part of the vision or story, the artist wants to tell. Some models however, shine through no matter what story's being told. The first images I saw of Christopher's, were dynamic and colorful, had an erotic edge and creative boldness that both drew me in, and motivated me to get in touch.
The stories being told were compelling, but there was also something in Christopher's eyes that conveyed a strength and determination I wanted to learn more about. It might be in part, that Christopher the artist, and that wild soul he described, can't help but come through. Either way, the dynamic and creative boldness I felt when first seeing his images, was more than reflected, in the subject of the story.
What or who inspired you to start modeling?
'Although I'm from Newport Beach, CA, I grew up in a very small conservative town in Northern Colorado. It was a pretty meat and potatoes type of place. I didn't fit in, I was one of the "art kids", and I was picked on a lot for my flamboyant personality. I was also an exceedingly awkward looking person. I went from being somewhat chubby in the 8th grade to gangly, acne-prone, and tall by my sophomore year. I distinctly remember graduating from high school and my knees were bigger than my thighs. I had these enormous hands and feet, this giant nose that just didn't fit my face, my ears stuck out....growing up I felt like all the spare parts in the workshop had been tossed onto one body and that's how I was made. While the rest of the kids were dropping out of school to start families and go work the oil fields, I spent my days in the classroom dreaming of being an artist and a model. It started off as a sort of "fuck you" ambition to all the kids who had ever made fun of me, but when I moved to the city, I realized it could be a reality if I put in the effort.'
Displaying Make Me Suffer
What has been your favorite experience modeling thus far?
'I meet the most wonderful, incredible people. It's a very collaborative, artistic sort of environment to work in, and it keeps me motivated to stay (fairly) healthy. I think my most memorable experiences have been on strange sets. I once shot in a swamp in Texas. I'm quite an adventurous, outdoorsy person but I would also say I'm a little phobic of snakes and insects. The bayou was definitely an interesting and slightly unnerving location.'
Any odd or strange stories from any shoots?
'I'm fortunate that most of my experiences have been good ones. I do recall doing a Seven Deadly Sin themed shoot for Out Front Magazine in Denver. It was a great experience however, the location we were in was quite old. We were shooting in the basement of a very old historic building and I swear to this day the place was haunted. I went to the restroom and the lights flickered on and off. The air also kept changing from hot to cold then back to room temperature again. It was so creepy.'
1 of 31 Dead Birds
Have you had any what you might qualify as odd or strange offers or requests? I know many models get a few on Model Mayhem.
'I think most of the requests or offers I've received have been pretty universal to what others have experienced. Requests to film pornography or to touch and interact with myself in a certain way on camera. I don't think they're very far out of the ordinary. There's always an incentive attached to those sorts of things, right? A ton of money or tons of exposure....whatever it is. Now that I have a significant amount of experience, I feel very confident saying no, or checking the validity and background of these people and organizations. If it doesn't align with my values, it's just a no.'
What factors did you weigh before deciding to shoot nudes?
'There was never really a moment of doubt. I'm a fairly wild, uninhibited person. I've always felt I only get one trip on this roller coaster, so I might as well try as much as I can and live as rich a life as I possibly can. A body is a body, and bodies are beautiful whichever way they are. I never had a hang-up about taking off my clothes. People make a huge deal of it, and it's not a thing for me. Indeed, as much as I love clothing and fashion (AND SHOES!), I wish we lived in a world without clothes. I wish we had this entirely nudist sort of existence. People would never feel judged or pressured to cover up their "flaws". This whole idea of a "flawed" body is just insane. What, you have stretch marks? Great, so do all of us, because we grew into fully formed adults from infancy. I once showed up to a call and was fired before we ever started. The photographer was a real prick and had a problem with my (incredible) nose. He thought it was too big and fired me. On another occasion, I was cut from a casting because I was "too thin", and another time because I was "too bulky". I used to take it very personally, very hard. Now I can't be bothered. I am so in love with this magnificent body I have, and everyone should recognize how extraordinary and beautiful it is to be alive and able-bodied. You're not flawed. You're alive.'
Can you share what your first experience was like? My first experience was a little bizarre. The photographer I was working with was less than professional, but he was paying me and at that time in my life, I needed the money to catch a bus and go to work. That's how things were.'
On a scale from 1-10 how nervous were?
'I wasn't nervous, but I was uncomfortable. I was never concerned or worried in any way, I just wanted to do the work and get out of there ASAP. Honestly, I am something of a germophobe so I'm never genuinely worried about being nude on sets, I'm usually more concerned with germs and the cleanliness of the studio--it's almost laughable lol.'
Had you ever been naked in public before modeling? Nude beach, art class, streaking?
'All of the above, really. I sat for art classes for a long time. I'd hold poses for them. It was always fun to see how other people perceived my body and my presence. I loved that. I no longer drink, but when I did drink, I'd dare all my friends to go streaking in the snow. It was usually good fun.'
What stood out from you with your day shooting with Custom Creations by Chad?
'Chad is a real artisan. He's great, an excellent communicator, and can be super experimental. I love all those qualities. He gives excellent direction, and I never have to guess what he's looking for. He also understands what kind of commitment a good model needs in order to succeed, and that empathy can be hard to find. For such a symbiotic sort of relationship, models and photographers don't generally treat each other very well, and they don't always try to understand where the other is coming from. Chad is not that sort of person.'
What are your boundaries for a shoot? Have you ever said no to a concept or shot idea?
'I say no often and I set very clear boundaries and expectations when I'm working with someone for the first time. I don't do anything with glitter because it's the absolute worst thing in existence. I welcome direction and ideation on set, but I absolutely will not stand to be touched by a photographer. That's a hard boundary for me. I take projects case by case. There are some really beautiful projects which require touching and interacting with another model, and if I feel it can be done tastefully, I'm all about it. But if the only goal is only to be objectified or sexualized, it's a no for me.'
What part of your body are you most happy with? What part gets the most attention from others?
'I love my body; it's a magnificent vehicle for my wild soul. I don't really like one part more than the others. I'm sure others have their own preferences, but truly, what others think of me is none of my business.'
Is there a photographer you would really love to be shot by? 'I've always admired Michael Stokes and Pat Lee. I'd enjoy working with either of them.'
What's the best compliment you received about one of your modeling images? 'I love imagery that inspires other models or photographers to try doing their own take on it. That's always a major compliment.'
What is easier or more enjoyable to showcase, your body, or your personality.
'At this point in my life, I'm very comfortable in my skin and I've worked very hard on the physique that I have. I find it easiest to show up on set in peak shape and have some fun. I'm a rambunctious, multi-faceted person in "real" life, but sometimes you have to check your personality at the door for a project. A lot of clients want to shoot a catalogue, get it over with, and move on. That's completely fine with me. I can be a richly textured person in other environments.'
What would be your number one thing, routine or activity you do to maintain your fitness level? 'I'd say the best thing I do is never be too good. My diet isn't "perfect", my gym routine isn't "perfect", I'm not at home meal-prepping on a Sunday night for seven hours, patiently counting every macro and weighing my food. That's never been my ambition. I absolutely could be one of those 4% body fat sort of people who never eats a carb and works out three times a day, but that isn't what I want in my life. That isn't to say I don't work very hard for my look. I absolutely do. I just also enjoy eating pizza sometimes. Don't take yourself too seriously. Have some fun. Make your fitness fun. Stay fit to have fun--I go climbing, I do yoga, I bike basically everywhere, I lift several times a week, I hike and climb the mountains in my state, but at this point in my life, it's all in the spirit of fun and learning. Fitness has taught me so many incredible things about myself, and it's all rooted in fun and the joy of being alive.'
What piece of advice would you give a young model who was considering starting a MM page and giving modeling a try? 'Firstly, you get out of the experience what you put into it. If you're working hard, your images will reflect that, Check your ego and your entitlement at the door. You may be the most beautiful, talented person in the world, but if you're an asshole it's ugly. Period. Secondly, know your niche and recognize what you're really exceptional at. You literally cannot be everything to everyone, you have to work at defining and fleshing yourself out. And if you aren't custom made for a casting, don't be afraid to share it with someone who is a really good fit. There's enough to eat at the table, you don't need to hoard success. Be kind and share success. Third, let your values and your integrity be your guide. If you don't want to shoot nudes, don't be pressured into shooting nudes. If you don't want to take a project, don't take the project. People are going to promise you the world in order to manipulate your sensibilities. Don't fall for it. No one is going to advocate for you, so make sure you take an active role in doing that.'