Monday, June 19, 2006

Blogosphere Multiplex: Gallery of the Absurd

Once a week I'm grilling bloggers I admire with questions about their own film experiences. This week's interviewee is 14 from "Gallery of the Absurd". Her insightful, funny and terrific illustrations on modern celebrity and gossip culture have been written up in the New York Post, Newsday, and are justifiably hot topics in the gossip blogosphere.

I won't even try to pick a favorite but if you're unfamiliar with her work look at: "Paris Hilton as a Proboscis Monkey", "Celebrity Endorsement Idea No. 645", and "The Sexiest Man in Hollywood" to get an overall feel.

10 Questions with 14
Don't be confused. The number of questions is ten. The name of the interviewee is "fourteen." Pay attention.

Nathaniel: How often do you go the movies?

14: I go see a movie about once or twice a month. I'd go more often, but there hasn't been much I've wanted to see. The thought of sitting in a crowded theater while watching Tom Cruise gnash his teeth while shooting ridiculously large guns and running from fiery explosions is just NOT the ideal movie going experience for me. MEOW!

Nathaniel: What --you don't think those large guns make him look enticingly manly? OK. Who is man enough to lure you into the theater with their action hijinx?

14: Manly. Tom Cruise. Those words just don't seem to fit together.

Gary Oldman will lure me into a theater no matter what role he's playing. I absolutely love to watch that man act. Johnny Depp lures me with his skills of quirky character performance and OKAY, I won't lie, his smoldering good looks. I am a big fan of Jeff Bridges, Gene Hackman, Meryl Streep, Samuel Jackson, Shirley Maclaine, Uma Thurman, and I better stop listing all of them now. To answer your question, I'd LOVE to see Mickey Rourke star in a summer blockbuster action film.

Nathaniel: What about Sin City? He was sooo good in that [FB Bronze Medal -ed]. Did that satisfy you or merely whet the appetite for more M-I-C-K-E-Y?

14: More mickey MORE!!!!

Nathaniel: So in your awesome illustration work, you're often taking already absurd celebs and zeroing in on why they're so nutso. Because of that special talent of yours you end up painting a lot of celebrities that many people love-to-hate like Tom Cruise, Nicole Ritchie [click on 14's illustration to the left readers -the details are wildly entertaining] and Kirsten Dunst, etc...) rather than those that everyone loves to love like, say, Meryl Streep. Is there any actor or actress out there that you'd love to have more of an excuse to draw? Which movie faces do you find most fascinating as an artist?

14: First, thank you for your kind works about my art. For now, I'm enjoying exploring what happens to a person when they get trapped (either willing or not) in the world of tabloid gossip. Their identity becomes less of an actor or entertainer and more of a character starring in a very public circus freak sideshow. Tom Cruise is no longer an actor, the tabloids have turned his character into a couch jumping crazy who believes an evil galactic ruler named Xenu brought humans to Earth and stacked them around volcanoes. Truth is stranger than fiction. I seek to observe and record celebrity gossip because I feel it's an interesting form of mythology. I want to understand why our culture is so obsessed with celebrity. For now, my focus will stay on gossip, but that is sure to change one day.

As for what movie faces I find the most interesting...I love older un-botoxed actors and actresses with character, confidence and charisma. I find them far more beautiful and interesting than fresh faced starlets.

Nathaniel: I once painted Julianne Moore and I must have thrown out a ton of rough sketches. I found her incredibly hard to capture even though I wasn't going for realism. Which celebrated face has plagued you the most as an artist --or does it always come easily?

14: I like your painting - she DOES have a very difficult face to capture!

There are some faces I just can't seem to "see". I can't paint Sienna Miller or Hillary Duff because I can't get my head around what they look like. Brad Pitt is difficult because his face changes from handsome to haggard within seconds. Right now I'm struggling with Janice Dickinson's face - she is extremely hard to draw because her features are so...stretchy and puffy. I usually do multiple sketches, some with my eyes half closed, in order to find the "essence" of the person I'm trying to paint.

It usually doesn't come easy except in the case of Britney Spears. I can paint her in my sleep.

Nathaniel: Re: Sienna and Hillary. I totally hear you. To me the fame that confuses me most is the generically pretty fame. In most cases you have to be slightly weird-looking to capture/keep the nation's attention. Like, say, Uma Thurman.

Anyway... What's your favorite movie? ever.

14: If I had to pick one, Seven Samurai.

Nathaniel: I noticed in your "about" page that you love Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle (as do I. Oh how I love it so). Which is your favorite?

14: I really haven't watched The Cremaster Cycle for the story, but I've viewed it several times for the breathtaking visuals, installations, costumes, sets, etc. The series gave me great inspiration for my work. If I must choose which episode is my favorite, I would say Cremaster 3.

Nathaniel: Edward Scissorhands or Captain Jack Sparrow?

14: Captain Jack! As much as I understand and appreciate sensitive misfits with dangerous hands, I'd much rather spend time with a swaggering adventurous pirate in search of lost treasure.

Nathaniel: Re: Art movies like Girl with a Pearl Earring or artist biopics like the Francis Bacon pic Love is the Devil or Ed Harris's Pollock. Any general or specific feelings on these? Hate? Love?

14: They were all good movies, especially Love is the Devil...but what I'm waiting for is a Salvador Dali biopic. Perhaps I'll write one.

Nathaniel: They make a movie of your life. Who would play you? What's the title? What's the rating?

14: Movie title: "A Fruit So Swollen With Juice, It Longs for the Prick of the Knife" Actress to play 14: A wild chimpanzee. The movie is rated: 1.6180339.....


Nathaniel: No, thank you 14. This was very fun.

Once again readers, check out 14's addictive and clever work at "Gallery of the Absurd."

New Reader?
If this is your first time here please check the rest of the blog or, in keeping with this posts theme, see a random assortment of the film experience's more gossipy/absurd moments: Paris is Only a City in France * Poptart Sandwich * A History of... Sharon Stone *

Other Interviews:
The Gilded Moose * Jay Lassiter * Dylan Meconis * Martha @ Cinematical * ultranow * fourfour * six things * How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons * Ron L'Infirmier * Thomas & Co.

To All Readers:
Any suggestions of bloggers you'd love to see featured? I'll try to rope them in.

Tags: movies, cinema, illustration, design, film, Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Matthew Barney, art


Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, once more I grovel at your feet for broadening my horizens. "Gallery of the Absurd" is truly special and completely hysterical, even to a non-gossip following celebrity zombie like me. Another bookmark on my list. My thanks for making my day. Or possibly week, month or year.



provided you draw me a picture of that nice ass.