“You can be the ripest, juciest peach, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” -Dita Von Teese
Animals crave sex. It is our biological calling to engage with one another in order to carry on the species into the future. Over time, humans have approached their own sexuality from some startling angles. At once revered and admonished, sex is the thing of which we mustn’t speak and yet it is all around us. We live and breathe sex whether we know it or not. It is used to sell us things, to make us watch television and movies, it can make and break careers – and lives. We live in an era when sex has taken on new dimensions both in terms of freedom and consent. Artists are perhaps the few among us who can truly push the boundaries.
Chas Ray Krider is currently starting to dive into a series of self-published books of work that has yet to be seen. Meanwhile, he is making the prints in the book available online. Krider has shopped around for internet platforms for his work. A favorite of his is Zno, a service he says produces prints that are the truest to the character of his work as he intends.
In the past, Krider’s work has been produced by major publishing houses. The drive to do self-publishing is an attempt to codify his work, so to speak, for his own satisfaction. Additionally, self publication gives him freedom from being pigeon-holed within a certain publishing division.
Kriden’s work explores the world of erotic art. One printed volume ended up with the name Motel Fetish and the moniker began to define how he was seen as an artist. Eventually, Kriden chose to move away from this label. His self-published work is one way to diversify the way his art is seen.
In the beginning of his career, Kriden worked as a photographer in many areas. He moved toward the studio and, as he did so, his work became more conceptual and increasingly sexual. Kriden devised a concept in which he photographed in motel rooms as a way for audiences to suspend disbelief in such a familiar setting. The work was heavily narrative involving clear story lines between the models in the photographs. A friend working in magazines published some of this work and it became a style synonymous with Kriden as an artist.
Eventually he realized that he didn’t want to do the same style of art forever. His work started becoming more stripped down, less involved backgrounds. The work still features nude and semi-nude models but photographed in minimalist spaces. Krider painted the floor and walls of his studio white. Here he photographs his models without the interference of many props. Krider doesn’t direct his models per se, though he does fine tune their movements.
For example, Krider might ask a model to shake her head, letting long hair fly. This movement with a slow shutter speed allows for a clear image of the body but a frantic, out-of-focus head. The juxtaposition might infer the concept of insanity.
Krider is a full-time artist despite his modest claim that everyone needs a hobby. He lives a “low overhead” lifestyle, supporting himself with his art.
Kriden works essentially for himself with little thought for how his work will be perceived by an audience. At this point in his career he doesn’t need to solicit models as they find him. His track record and body of work speak for themselves and every interaction with models is consensual. He begins by exploring what his models’ boundaries are before work begins.
Kriden prefers to let the audience decide things. This is one reason he likes art books as a vehicle. In this way, his art falls into the hands of those who wish to view it as opposed to mounting an exhibit where his work could be encountered by anyone coming in off the street. With books comes intention from both creator and audience. He also prefers to separate himself from the work as much as he can, choosing instead to let the work seep out into the world detached from its creator.
In the late nineties, Kriden work with burlesque maven Dita Von Teese. At the time she was still in her twenties and taking off as a model. She already had a cult following and Kriden could tell at the time that she was someone who would go far. Over a two year period, the two worked together several times in different cities.
To hear more about Chas Ray Krider’s work and life as a photographer, listen to the complete interview.
A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:
The human form finds itself at once familiar and taboo.
Books to Read
What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Chas Ray Krider’s nightstand supports The Western Lands by William S. Burroughs, which he is reading for about the fifth time, as well as a biographical volume about the surrealists.
Opportunities / Open Calls
Do you have an adventurous spirit and an interest in creating wearable art? Right now the World of Wearable Art Competition (WOW) is accepting submissions for the 2019 cycle. Winners will have their art worn on stage at the World of Wearable Art awards show and receive a cash prize. For more details about this unusual opportunity, check out the WOW website. Deadline is March 29.
Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.