Sean, February 2014.
Something new with Naomi Smalls.
Tyler, December 2013.
Anonymous asked: are you still selling your reconcile book?
No. I’m not continuing that project either. That’s done. Sorry.
Tyler, December 2013.
Of course, whenever I truly find my muse they leave me. I’ve known Tyler for quite some time but only over the internet; through tumblr and other social medias. We didn’t officially meet until 3 months ago, which was when I photographed him for the very first time. I had been reading the way he wrote on his blog and noticed his stories, his life, was mirroring mine. Things that were going on in his life were happening to me at the same time. I didn’t know what to think about that. I knew it wasn’t by coincidence. It was some sort of sign.
Fast forward a few months later and I’m at a popular gay club in my hometown not knowing that Tyler would be performing as Anita Mortuary this night. I knew he did drag but the only time I had seen him perform was through pixels on my computer of his very first performance. Raven announced “give it up for Anita Mortuary” and BTSTU by Jai Paul played loudly throughout the club. A baby powdered, white eyed, lanky drag queen emerged from out of the darkness and walked down the stairs perfectly to the beat. BTSTU is one of my all time favorite songs, I was fixated. This was back in May.
Tyler is a good looking boy with a strong jawline. I had wanted to photograph him for the longest time but for some reason I just didn’t have the guts to ask. I wasn’t in a good place at the time either. I was depressed and confused about myself. Photography wasn’t making me as happy as it usually did. I wasn’t sleeping. I was just in a bad state of mind. Turns out, Tyler was going through a similar thing. He was also in a bad state of mind. This was when I kept my eye on him a little closer, and looked out for his blog posts.
When I finished my summer term this year, I focused on me and only me. I quickly became happier. I had 2 paid internships. I was enjoying being a 21 year old. I was just happy to be away from Art Center. And happy to be away from anyone who had to do with Art Center. It was the perfect time for me to finally ask him to be photographed. During this time was when I was getting into drag myself. I found my other creative outlet that was finally making me happy. Tyler and another friend Davis made me feel comfortable enough to start. And it’s always been something I really wanted to do. I thought if they can do it, I can do it.
Meeting Tyler and being able to photograph him 3 times in 3 months has been almost life-altering. I feel like I’ve known him all my life. We’re similar. We’re actually almost the same. We understand each other. We know what we both want out of our lives. We are both artists who just so happen to think the same way. I knew he was my muse the second time I photographed him. Something was happening that a person has never done for me before. He was inspiring me. I had this sudden urge to just follow him around all day and photograph him doing whatever the hell he wanted. I thought to myself “I found my Peter Johnson. I found the boy I want to make a book about.”
I never got to do that because he left for New York today to live for the rest of his life. He has a goal, he has a drive, and the only way he is going to get it is if he moves to the city where dreams come true. It’s something I would do so I understood when he told me. I got to know him so well within the short amount of time we knew each other. My mom always told me that one day I would find the person who completes my circle. My “other-half” but in a spiritual way. I think when my mom met him she knew. Moms are good at that kind of thing.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a very caring person but never in my life have I cared about someone so quickly. My grad show is somewhat of a secret but Tyler plays a very important part in it. He’s the first block of my withering term at Art Center. From the life stories, to doing drag, to the BTSTU song (which just so happens to be one of his all time favorite songs as well), to the way we carry ourselves…we were meant to meet. But we were meant to meet at THIS time. When both of us were in happy places. I couldn’t imagine meeting him when I was a depressed mess of emotions. This is why I believe everything happens for a reason. I’ve waited my whole life to meet someone who would inspire me to be not only be a better artist, but a better person in general. Our friendship has just begun and it will only get stronger as our lives move on. This term off has been everything and more. It’s been so long since I’ve been this happy and excited with life. I feel like I’ve been reborn in a way. It’s such a strange feeling but it’s a good feeling.
As I sit here typing these last few words out and going through 2013 in my head, I’m overcome with emotions. I’m finally beginning to understand myself. I’m finally beginning to understand my art. I’m finally becoming at peace with so many things. Maybe it was Tyler, maybe it was the term off, or maybe I had it in me all along. Whatever it may be, I’m just happy the year is ending with me proud of myself.
Good luck in New York Tyler. Thank you for everything. I will see you in June.