Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do you sell prints of your work?

Yes! 

Here’s a link to my Etsy store.

Note that the selection on my Etsy is store fairly limited, which keeps overhead limited while ensuring that shipping times are kept to an absolute minimum. However, I’m happy to make custom prints of almost any of the images on this website. So if you’re interested in a different image or if you’re looking for a different size please send me a message; I’ll be happy to discuss pricing and sizing option. (I give all the images on my website titles so it should be easy to specify which image you’re interested in.)

If you're in the GTA I also semi-regularly show up as a vendor at the Punk Rock Flea Market, the Bazaar of the Bizarre, or at the Hamilton Art Crawl. Keep an eye out on my event page, blog, or social media where I regularly announce upcoming shows.

Do you you commissions or license existing images?

Yes! 

Please contact me to discuss in more detail.  I have done some commissioned work in the past for Grindhouse Press, and I'm very much open to taking on more such work if the project seems like a good fit.  I'm also open also to licensing pre-existing images, especially for art projects that interest me including cover art for horror novels, death metal / dark ambient / industrial music albums, etc. 

Are you open to collaboration on art projects?

If you have a project that you think I might be interested in, feel free to drop me a line.  While I can't guarantee that I'll jump at every opportunity, I'm certainly always open to interesting new ideas.   

Prospective models: I'm always happy to work with new and interesting people of any body type, ethnicity, orientation, level of ability, and at all points along the gender spectrum.

Where do you get the dead animals that you photograph?

All of the dead animal organs featured in my galleries Still, Inside, and Accord were purchased from the butcher and were intended for human consumption.

Why use meat as an artistic medium?

I loved the truth. Even in just this one thing:

looking straight at the terrible,

one-side accord we make with the living of this world.

-Ellen Bass (full poem here)

Depictions of meat and slaughtered animals have a long and fascinating history in art, especially in still life paintings where these items were often a symbol of abundance, or else as a reminder of the transience of all things.  However, this imagery tends to take on a different meaning for more contemporary audiences, and frank depictions of dead animals may appear shocking to some. My usage of dead animal organs in my art derives from the long tradition of using food in still life as a reminder of human mortality, while also attempting to grapple with more contemporary questions surrounding the ethics of eatings animals.

Most of us are raised with a bucolic image of life on a farm: cows grazing green pastures while chickens scramble about the barn and pigs wallow lazily in mud pits.  This image, however pleasant, is a fantasy that exists only in children’s books, and on the graphics that adorn processed food packages. The reality is that contemporary factory farms rely on cruelty and torture on an industrial scale.   Most of the animals we consume will have lived lives of intense suffering: confined in windowless sheds, densely-packed into cages where the spread of disease and parasites is rampant, fed additive-laced foods that bear little resemblance to a natural diet, and subject to various surgical mutilations.

It is all too easy to forget about the cruelty and suffering that underlies the animal products we interact with daily, through our meals, clothes, and furniture.  My work on the commodification of animal suffering focuses on meat products that are intended for human consumption. My aim is to present these food products in an unfamiliar context, where the ugliness and cruelty of the industrialized farming system becomes manifest.

By purchasing meat aren’t you financially supporting the industry that you claim to be criticizing?

I do not eat meat, eggs, or dairy.  So in terms of mealtime, my household is entirely free from animal products.  Yes, it’s true that I do purchase meat products for my art. But from a quantitative perspective my financial support of the meat industry is completely negligible; organ meats are dirt cheap, and I freeze and re-use the same pieces over and over again.  Because my spending on meat products is so minimal I tend to think that I am doing more good with my messaging than harm with my money spent. One is certainly welcome to disagree with me on this point, but I personally think it’s clear that the ethics surrounding all this are rather more complex than the "you buy meat products and are therefore terrible" kind of gotcha argument that is sometimes directed at me by vegans and vegetarians.

Isn’t your art glorifying the torture of animals?

This sentiment is pretty much the opposite of how I understand my art, and I tend to think that this reaction is more of a knee-jerk response to being shocked than it is a good faith interpretation based on a thoughtful engagement with the work.  That being said, all art is open to interpretation and the audience is more than welcome to think about my imagery in very different terms from my own.

At the end of the day this question is frankly somewhat tangential to the aim of this project.  I am an artist, not a political activist. This is a visual art project, not a philosophical treatise on morality.  My primary commitment is to create compelling photographs, and I believe that using real animal organs is sometimes integral to that goal.  The sad fact is that it’s almost impossible for anyone to move through this world without participating, either directly or indirectly, in some horrible ethical violation.  Rather than hide from this harsh reality I embrace it in my work. Art is about the human condition and this kind of inconsistency and cognitive dissonance is, after all, a part of what is means to be human.

Where do you get the human skulls that you photograph?

The human skeletal remains featured in my gallery Empire of Death were shot entirely in the Catacombs of Paris.  Indeed, the title of that project derives from the warning that is carved in stone at the entrance of the famous ossuary: "Arrète! C'est ici l'empire de la morte."

The Catacombs began as a network of old caves, quarries, and tunnels that stretch for hundreds of miles far beneath the bustling streets of Paris.  In 1976 they were blessed and consecrated by the church, and used to house corpses from the overpopulated and overflowing Parisian cemetery Les Innocents, many of which had been improperly buried in open graves, leading to concerns over the strong odour of rotting flesh and the spread of disease.  In 1810 The Catacombs were renovated to their present form: monumental tablets and archways were added, and the skulls and femurs of the dead were stacked along the walls into the various decorative patterns that are depicted in my photographs.

Where do you get the human teeth that you photograph?

The human teeth featured in my gallery Dentata all come from dentists’ offices.  

Because I’ve gotten quite a few questions about this issue I want to be very clear: there is absolutely nothing illegal about owning, photographing, selling, or purchasing human teeth.  There is also certainly no ethical issue here: these teeth were all extracted as a part of a medical procedure, with patient consent, in a clinical environment, by a trained medical professional.

What gear do you use?

My still life and portraiture work is all shot with either a 50mm f/1.8 or a 35mm f/1.8 prime lens. The close-up work (like Inside or Dentata) uses either extension tubes with those same two lenses, or else a 60mm 2:1 macro lens.  My studio lighting rig consists entirely of two continuous lights with softboxes. The work in Empire of Death was shot in available light. In terms of camera body, I’m currently shooting on a mid-level (crop sensor) Nikon.

In my experience, questions about gear tend to come from beginner photographers who are trying to figure out what equipment they need to buy in order to create salable images.  My personal view is that this question is deeply misguided; almost any entry level DSLR and lens combination is good enough to produce technically sound images provided you know how to use your gear.  If you own a modern DSLR then odds are that you already have gear that's technically superior to what Ansel Adams was using.  There really is no reason that one can't make images that are high enough quality to make salable large format prints using a cheap DSLR body and the kit lens.  Again, this is just my personal view and some folks may disagree, but I think beginner photographers would do well to stress a lot less about their gear and instead invest the majority of their money / time /energy into putting something interesting in front of the lens.