Doug, We’ve known each other for some years. I remember when you moved to Chicago! I have watched you mature as an artist-developing a strong visual language and personally meaningful content. So- Let’s Start talking!
J: Your current project: Hands on Chicago is enjoying great success in several areas. It’s great conceptually, as pure art. It’s also way fun as merchandising! Where did the idea come from?
D: The idea originally came from my framer and artist Todd Mack who at one of my shows in the Spring of 2007 noticed a photograph of hands. It sparked him to quickly sketch out hands as letters spelling Chicago and gave it to me. He said: “Do something with this.”
J; How did you begin to show/sell the artwork?
D; The first inception was ChiCAGO. I photographed 8 different people in the same light to make it. Each letter was formatted into a square or half square making that the palette for future letters. “The square is a perfect shape and I use it often in photographic compositions.”
One day I thought to contact Chicago Architecture Foundation Store on Michigan Ave. in the Loop area to show them the art; at this time the piece was called: Chicago Says hi. The buyer of the store loved it and wanted to carry the giclée art print that was being offered. After about a year there was discussion that this should also be on a T-Shirt, so I worked with them on creating the very first Hands On…ChiCAGO White T-Shirt. Notice at this point the name was changed to Hands On…ChiCAGO as I now had the entire alphabet photographed and wanted a name that could represent that.
J: When did the idea to market the art as merchandise occur to you?
D: Right away actually. At the beginning of this year 2012, Hands On…ChiCAGO for the first time was printed as a Poster in 2 different backgrounds. Making the printed version of it more accessible and affordable. It’s now being sold at 4 different stores in the Chicago area.
More info can be found by visiting: www.handsonchicago.net
Next Open Studio is Friday Oct. 5th, 2012. There will be Hands On… stuff as well as my Art.
J: Tell us the story of how you got your print on a major network TV show- “The Good Wife”.
D: Prop finders for the CBS show were scouting around and went into Chicago Architecture Store and really loved the unique quality Hands On…ChiCAGO offered. They bought one and had me sign a release of course and many months later it showed up most often on an episode I believe was called “Tuna Sandwich” in 2011. It was in the son’s’ bedroom and was shown very well in that scenes frames. It was super exciting!
J: Your alphabet can be translated into other projects. What are you working on now with this?
I’ve had a number of different neighborhoods; people’s names, corporate names, and other cities use the Hands On…ChiCAGO alphabet as print commissions.
Now I’m thinking of creating a stock of these Square Letters individually so folks can obtain their name or whatever!
J: You have an amazing ability working with nudes. What drew you to that imagery? Did you study with anyone who helped on your path?
D: I studied all aspects of photography and working with people, clothed or nude was where I shined.
J: How are you different aesthetically?
D: That’s a great question. I tend to see my subjects as architecture. Creating a form into something extraordinary as a 2 dimensional image.
J: How are you different technically?
D: Not very. Never really been a very technical person. I only care about cameras as they allow me to capture what I see.
J: What do you want your viewers to take away with them from your work?
D: To take with them whatever they have interpreted…
J:Do you find your subject matter limits or expands your opportunities in the art gallery world? Does this matter to you?
D: It limits it a bit but don’t care much. I shoot what I want to shoot.
J:What photographers inspire you?
D:Arno Minkkinen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts, Albert Watson
J: What other types of art/theater/film/music/books/pop culture engage you?
D:That can take a while to write…
J: What other interests do you pursue? I know you spent time seriously studying alternative/Chinese medicine, for example. Did that practice have an influence on your art?
D:Very much it has an influence. However the logic of Yin & Yang have always been there in my work.
J: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
D: Having an air conditioned larger studio with a small staff.
D: Ha! Working on some more Art Images!