'Let's Get Lost,' with Andrew Kuykendall and Langley Fox Hemingway
How and when did the project came about?
Langley and I have been friends for many years and have shot together many times. It’s always been for fashion. I’ve always respected her talent as an illustrator, and wanted to find a way to collaborate on this. A few times we discussed working with a brand to release t-shirt graphics, or something like this. I got the idea that it would be much more fulfilling to do it in a gallery setting, without having to compromise for commerce. I began by shooting images of her, then I would print them out and she would illustrate on the prints. After a few of these I found a gallery, and the rest is history.
Have your artistic styles changed since you both met?
I’ve certainly been trying to focus more on personal art, as opposed to the more commercial side of the industry. People will always insist that you need to do the boring commercial jobs to pay for the good stuff, but I think there is a shortage of the real emotion and vulnerability, and I think it’s important to put it out there. So I’m working on more of a balance I suppose. It’s boring to just hit one note all the time.
What is your favorite piece from the collaboration, and why?
It’s difficult to choose one particular. They were all shot on Polaroid in a very stripped down setting. They’re B&W [with a] blank backdrop, little styling, all about the shape and the structure of her body to then illustrate on. [Langley] did an incredible job of embellishing these images.
Do you want to take this project further, or is this gallery it?
After the success of the project, I was approached by a few NYC galleries to bring the show east. I was thrilled to bring the work to a new audience and explore options there. We’ll be showing at the One Art Space Gallery in Tribeca for the month of June.
How long did it take to execute this dual-gallery project? Any challenges?
The majority of the show is our individual work. However, the five pieces in the show that Langley and I collaborated on took about a year. The biggest challenge was working around our usual work to produce the content. It was rare that we were both in the same city or had time in LA to create this together. It was not without challenges that it came together.
Is collaborating something you want to continue doing (with other artists), or is this just a one-time venture?
It’s something I’d like to continue as long as I’m producing work. Many artists hide in their egos and don’t take risks and explore and play. I believe it’s necessary to present yourself with challenges. Collaboration doesn’t take away from one’s attention, it should done to build something unexpected and challenging. For the exhibition in NYC, I’ll also be collaborating on a video installation piece to go along with the narrative of the show.
How did you get the idea to mix illustration with photography?
I’ve always been inspired by mixed-media, particularly photographs that have been collaged, painted on, written on or manipulated to tell a story. An image can tell a story, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Insinuations and secrets can be played with manipulations. One can contradict the image to say something new. That’s why I named the show Let’s Get Lost. I like the idea of losing the structure that we become too comfortable with.
What do you like the most about intertwining the two?
People are suspicious of photography. It’s easily manipulated, and imagery is everywhere we look. I like the idea of taking an image and turning it into something original that cannot be reproduced. It’s great to start with a simple image that evolves, to see the layers of a process build and become something new.