David Meanix will
tear you to pieces. The out artist gained widespread
recognition and acclaim three years ago when his
photosculptures served as Claire's artwork on
the HBO series Six Feet Under. To make them,
Meanix first photographs every plane of his subject.
Then he laboriously reassembles the actual-size prints onto
his subject--a face can take four
hours--often tearing the edges to reveal the
person beneath the image. Finally, he photographs the
trippy 3-D photography that explores human growth and the
cycle of creation and destruction. And it's on
view until September 1 as part of the solo show
"David Meanix: Wonder" at the Los Angeles Gay
and Lesbian Center.
In addition to
photosculptures Meanix made of the cast of Six Feet
Under, "Wonder" includes a photo
installation titled Diary of an Exhibitionist
that explores his relationship with sexuality and denial.
How did you begin making photosculptures? I was taking some dance classes at San Francisco
State and I was doing photography. It captured the
dance in such a flattened way, and loving the human
form in its three-dimensionality, I wanted so bad to bring
photography into that realm, out of 2-D.
So you're a dancer too? I consider myself a dancer, although I was
trained by MTV. I used to watch Madonna videos.
Flashdance videos like "Maniac"
were big. I won my school talent show in ninth grade dancing
to "Maniac." I
"flashdanced." [Laughs] The next
year I won dancing to Madonna.
You're known for creating these photosculptures
of other people. But Diary of an
Exhibitionist is all self-portraits. What's
the benefit of being the art? It's a way of expressing myself, seeing
where I'm at, and being unafraid to document
what's beautiful or not beautiful about me and sort
of accepting it.
So it's therapy? I heard this term the other day and I was like,
Wow, that so perfectly fits: confessional. Part of
Diary of an Exhibitionist was getting over
the fear of exposing all of the different parts of me
that I want to express. It has to do mostly with
examining my sexuality, but I don't want to all of a
sudden be known as the artist showing his boner. I
believe every part of me is reflected in all of the
art that I do.
You've said that for years porn was your form of
sexual liberation and a source of denial. How important
is it that you are a gay artist revealing this
secret side of yourself? It brings up a lot of challenging issues.
That's why I did it in the first place and
that's why I need to show it. Those are still burning
issues for anyone coming out of the closet--to get
over ignoring your sexuality and get over the shame of
it and at the same time not abuse it. I'm still
dealing with it. We all deal with it.