OK so I came up with a few questions:
1. I felt kinda like a stalker looking for background info on the web, from what I could gauge you went to school in Wisconsin and live in Kansas. Pretty mid-western existence, can you fill in some blanks about where you grew up and did out in the plains?
Well I grew up in Waukesha, WI and left to go to the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri when I was 18 and have been there ever since. I have gotten jobs, internships and grants to go and live briefly in New York City and throughout Western Europe and Tokyo, but really I’ve just been living in Kansas City for the past 8 years. Very exciting, I know. Ha ha.
2. If I got it right you're not from either coasts which are generally seen as starting points for American culture and art, like ya know it starts on the coasts and trickles inward would you say that the internet has helped change that idea or even the notion you have to live in NYC or LA or a major city to become and stay a successful artist?
Well, I do think it’s important to live on the coasts in a lot of ways in order to speed things up. Like meeting people who do big things and having a face to a name, I think that is really important. Plus people don’t really buy art in the Midwest. I’m well aware that in a lot of ways I’m stunted here, but I also think that my comfort level and the community I have here is a huge reason as to why I think my photos would be considered successful, which is also really important to me. The internet, however, is an insanely amazing tool for a photographer. I have been in exhibitions on an international scale and never even printed a photograph! I just email, they print, frame, and show and I will have never even seen the space! It’s allemail and it’s really crazy. I’ve exhibited in books and shows and conversed with curators and art directors and never met them or seen the space. It’s definitely kind of gross in a way, yet extremely efficient, economical, and easy. Having a good website is key and helps immensely. Plus it’s so easy to get your images out to magazines, its quick and free. Plus I think at this point they prefer it as opposed to being swamped with people’s portfolios at their offices.
3. I really don't know anything about the Kansas art scene what's the deal? Is it vibrant?
Well, although no one would believe me, its insanely vibrant. It’s a small-ish community in terms of the arts scene, but in my mind a really good one. The people here work really, really hard, which is what you get when you’re in an art community struggling to get a name for itself. In just a few years here I have run an alternative space with four friends where we brought in artists and bands from other cities on virtually no budget, we have started a public access television show called “Whoop Dee Doo” highlighting the totally weird talents of Kansas Citians (not to mention game shows and dance contests and lots of other cool stuff). I’ve curated KC shows in Miami, Chicago, New York and Osaka, Japan, and we also are really great party-throwers. It’s like a really weird scene here because since it’s a smaller town, you have the craziest parties that are totally nonsensical. Like you walk in and straight ahead is a biker gang, to your left is a group of drag queens, you’ve got a group of people in all prom dresses on your right and someone dressed like a banana on the floor in front of you, not to mention the standard art/punk kid stereotypes blending everything together. It’s sort of surreal and every time I have a friend come in from out of town they’re pretty surprised, for sure. There’s bad things about it, of course, but I think the weirdness is where my aesthetic comes from. Oh, and we all love barbeque and beer which ruleth.
4. Your pictures seem really spontaneous (at the right place at the right time type of thing) not to blow up your spot or ruin the magic of it, but how much planning and editing goes into yr work?
Well it’s really spontaneous, for sure. Except for cases where my friend Sean Ward squishes weird things together to make something gross and holds it in front of my camera, or if I tell someone to smile, everything’s spontaneous. I don’t like setting up photos. It’s cool when other people do it, but I don’t feel good about it in terms of my work. It’s like I’m cheating or something and it never turns out good anyway. I think it’s why I’m so bad at fashion photography.
5. I have a photographer buddy who can't stand party pictures, something about cheapening the art of photography or blah blah blah. In many of yr pictures there is a festive sense and it is really playful, but would you say you take party pictures? What do you think of the cobrasnakes and last night's parties out there?
Well, I think a good amount of my images are in a party setting, and even if they aren’t they still have that high energy party-esque feeling to them, so I can see why I might get stuck in that category. But I try to present my work in series, where you will see a party pic next to a tree or a plate of food, as I am trying to show my appreciation for all of these varied subjects. I think if I present an image, it’s because I see something weird or funny or pretty about it. In my mind I’ve never had a photo up just because a girl looks really hot or someone is peeing on his friend or snorting coke off their own wiener or something. I think that controversial stuff is really overdone and boring. But yeah, in general party pics are just party pics unless something about the photo is odd or off or unique in some way. Hopefully the ones I show stand out for those reasons.
6. I have another friend who is a painter and she used always talk about the gender inequalities in the art world, you seem pretty successful, so do you see that or is she just barking up the wrong oil stick so to speak?
No offense to your friend, and I know I probably have no idea as to what I’m talking about, but I think at this point the gender equality thing is a load of poopy. I’ve never experienced it, and at that, if I’ve experienced anything it’s been getting benefits because I’m a girl. Then again, I generally deal in email and I have a name that could be both genders so maybe I’m talking out of my butt. But I think people who say that are big crying baby girls. It’s simply way too vague of a generalization.
7. Any exciting projects or plans we should look out for from you. Is yr website back up or where can folks at least see yr work?
Oopsies! Caught me not paying the bills. Yes it’s back up and I’m poor and the world knows it! It’s at www.dontyoufeelbetter.com Oh! And see my self portraits on Tiny Vices at www.tinyvices.com/Jaimie_Warren, and my newest video I’m in by my great buddy Cody – http://youtube.com/watch?v=U5j-i0VujVI, and this older one http://youtube.com/watch?v=7hddyUFDBcA Oh and Check Cody’s amazing other stuff www.ssion.com And check that Kansas City public access show I was talking about www.myspace.com/whoopdeedookan
(all images copyright Jaimie Warren)