Box cover for my new book.
Are you gay?
I identify as Heterosexual, if that answers your question.
So, you’ve never dated a man?
Forget it. I’ll be whatever works for you.
You talk a lot about masks. Could you elaborate?
Examples of masks appear on the news everyday.
“Oh, he was such a wonderful person. What could possibly have possessed him to blow up that church with all those people in it? Or copulate with a goat? Or commit aggravated assault over an ice cream cone?”
The fact is who we really are seems to be a central theme these days. We’re obsessed with what lies beneath an otherwise respectable veneer.
What do you mean by repression?
Repression as it relates to dysfunction — as in, it’s dysfunctional.
What prompted you to do this exhibition and book?
I could tell you about a broken romance, but in truth it started when I was an adolescent suffering with depression. Clinical depression, actually. But back in those days you didn’t talk about it, much less understand what was happening. And it wasn’t like everyone’s bookshelf included a copy of the DSM IV.
So I learned to cope through sports, which I soon learned had everything to do with endorphins — something I never seemed to get enough of.
I swam a mile a day – everyday – for four straight years.
The illness haunted every facet of my life, including my relationships. I was unable to connect with anyone because I always felt like an outsider, even to myself.
I finally reached a point where I was able to overcome it, partly through acceptance and understanding, and the rest through therapy.
So now I’m a kind of messenger, a voice for people who can’t be heard because they’re afraid to express themselves. These voices show up in my photographs and my writing. Some of them take on sexual tones, while others are more obscure.
But sex is a persistent metaphor if only because it’s a cheap, but indispensible, high for anyone who struggles. And then there’s Heroine, but it tends to be more expensive and less reliable in the context of mortality.
Anyway, as time passed my work became the escape through which everything was siphoned – both photographic and literary. It took on colorful manifestations of this internal life. Audacious metaphors, if you will. Cross dressers, role-play of every description. I turned it all into a celebration rather than a crucible.
So here I am, celebrating an internal world that threatened to end mine forever.
At the end of the day, what this is all about is affirmation. Life is complicated enough without having to wait for Halloween to act out.