What compelled you to make this piece? How does this work address issues that are important to you or close to your heart?
This piece was conceived of as I was walking on 110th street across Central Park. A bus drove by, with a large advertisement on its side, which featured
Linda Evangelista about to kiss herself. I was struck by the loneliness and
futility of this image. It seemed to suggest a sort of warped
self-fulfillment that I found to be quite funny. In the ad however, Evangelista's beauty, which was enhanced by the way they shot the ad, seemed
to mask the actual pathetic qualities of the gesture. I began to imagine how
humorous it would be to see that image with someone ordinary, shot in a more
ordinary way. So I made MAKING OUT WITH MYSELF.
| From MAKING OUT WITH MYSELF.
In including your work in REEL NEW YORK, do you think your piece in any way pushes the medium of television, or the viewing audiences' expectations of that medium?
I will admit that I was unsure whether my video would be selected for
REEL NEW YORK because of the lesbian implications of the kiss. This video
was recently screened at the Brooklyn Museum's Current Undercurrent show,
and the video curator Melissa Rachliff selected a still from my video to use
in an events calendar which publicized the show. She and I were both
surprised and upset to learn that the graphic designer putting together the
calendar had cropped one of the heads out of my still, so that no one would
be offended by this "lesbian" kiss. Television ostensibly would find this
more "risky" subject matter than an art museum, so I am really pleased that
REEL NEW YORK is going to show this piece. As long as they don't crop one of
the heads out . . .
What about access to the tools of production and post-production?
I edit all of my work on the computer and because prices just keep
dropping on machines, the type of computer I can work on now for one of my
pieces is radically better than say, two years ago. But the expense of
equipment is always a problem.
Why did you become a film/video artist/maker?
| From MAKING OUT WITH MYSELF.
I work in a variety of media, and in fact MAKING OUT WITH MYSELF is the
first video that I ever made. I have found since completing MAKING OUT WITH
MYSELF that there are some projects which work best as videos, and others
that work best as photographs. For me, it is really about finding the media
that is the best one for the particular project.
Do you feel the New York independent film/video community has changed in recent years? Do you find support living and working in such a large community of artists?
I am not sure that I have enough perspective to say whether or not
anything has changed, as I am quite young and have only been working in the
"community" for a short time, but I can say that the support I have gotten
from my friends who are video artists, Laura Parnes and Kristen Lucas, has
been really amazing. They usually field my bewildered questions like "Where
do color bars come from?" I think Laura's favorite question that I ever
asked her was "What does 3/4 mean?"
Do you have any interesting behind-the-scenes stories about the making of this particular work?
When I shot the actual kissing part, I was kissing a plaster cast of my
own head. I shot the kissing sequence eight times as I kept messing up the
blue screen. I really wanted the kiss to look passionate, and the very first
time I tried to kiss the plaster head I realized exactly how difficult that
was going to be. It was about as romantic as kissing a doorknob. I began
drinking a couple of glasses of wine before I did a take, and then I would
put on some soft music to get me "in the mood," and feeling like the
ultimate loser, would make out the head for a while. Well, the end result
of the wine was not me feeling more romantic towards the plaster cast of my
head, but was actually the plaster cast of the head getting bad breath. By
kiss number eight, that head could really have used some Listerine. Oh, and
I cut the mouth hole too small, so there is a really funny moment in the
video, where I am trying to french kiss the plaster head, but I can't quite
fit my tongue in the head's mouth.