Liam Alexander –Actor/Photographer
Liam Alexander splits his time in New York City between creating inspiring theater and film work as an Actor and cutting edge fine arts and Fashion photography. In 2009, in addition to starring in 2 short films, a national AD campaign, and 2 shows off Broadway, Liam’s art work and photography was featured in four shows in NY and Miami, four magazine editorials, and his first solo show “Behind the Curtain” during September’s New York Fashion Week.
Liam is currently at work on developing film projects and series of paintings and fashion editorials.
MLM asks: What led you to start this career path?
Liam Alexander: My college roommate Jesse was a photographer, it seemed like it would be easier than painting, more immediate. Its not, its just different.
How long have you been doing this?
LA:I suppose I picked up a camera in 2OO3 maybe? So, just 7 years, but I’ve been making art since I was a baby.
How far has it taken you?
LA: It’s taken me to where I am now. I’m basically around the corner from you.
How did you start?
LA: Me and a my friend Galo Delgado got into it at the same time, started sharing equipment and answering gigs on craigslist for photo stuff, assisting each other, it was fun and a little scary because we had no idea what we were doing at all, I used to break more things than I do now too.
What are your goals?
LA: To be afforded the opportunity to spend my life making work that inspires ME, and hopefully some day to have an audience of the world large enough to effect change with my ideas.
What do you like most about photography?
LA: Its the one medium in which I make work, and it most closely resembles the vision I have in my head, and the one in which I am most consistently rewarded. So I suppose I am more inclined to do it on a regular basis for those reasons, I find that people always end up doing the thing that the world wants them to do the most, simply because they are afforded the opportunity to do it more, asked to, and paid to. I’m trying now to move more away from photography and back to painting/fine art, and acting – what I consider more “involved” arts. Photography is very removed and voyeuristic, I love it, but it is lonely on the other side of the lens, I like to be involved and get my hands dirty, in photography you are very removed, always a plane of existence away from what is going on. I like to be in it experience it first hand, but its difficult because it has become easy to express myself in this medium, people trust me in this medium, and expect and ask me to do it.
What is it like for you being on set?
LA: Being at home. I’m much more comfortable working than I am at home. If I could be on a film set or photo set 365 days a year I would.
What do you feel this has given to you/taken from you?
LA: It has given me everything and taken nothing, I get paid to make art, and that’s great. The more I grow, the more ability I gain to understand human beings, and the decisions they make and what they do and why, which I am really interested in.
What are you doing that is different or that you want to be recognized for?
LA: I strive to create something different and unique every time I make work, otherwise why am I doing it? If someone else could do it, they should do it. If its been done before, just use the one that already exists, when I was shooting fashion week, I was working on taking photos from a different perspective than everyone else, there are photos of fashion week on style.com, and if someone wants those they should just buy them off style.com or getty. you know what I mean?
I have no idea what I’m going to do, ever. I focus on looking at what I’ve got, if its fashion I try to create a world that supports the clothing and what it is about. Photography is an interesting art form, whereas painting and drawing or sculpture, music ext… can be done from thin air, photography always needs a subject, because of this I feel the most important aspect of photography is that what you are doing enhances the subject, takes what that subject means to the world, and to me, capturing that, and showing it to the world. I suppose in a way that answers that question.
What kind of energy attracts you to certain models?
LA: I don’t know, if I like something I like it, if I don’t I don’t and I’m always working on streamlining that thought process. I suppose someone who is into being a part of a creative process.
Have you ever jumped into your shoots?
LA: hahahahahah… no shoot goes by that I don’t. The only place I like being better than behind the camera is in front of it.
So would you consider modeling?
LA: Just look for the new Hornitos tequila campaign.
What attracts you to fashion?
LA: I like things that are unattainable, and what I am interested is not in the common, the status quo, or the normal, I want to show people the unreal, the make believe, fantasy, because fantasy is what inspires people to become better.
Fashion is all about being “make believe” fantastical, but in a more elevated way than normal society, more exalted, I think that’s what draws me to it, I have no desire to function in a world that glorifies the status quo, I would rather be in a room with people that are better than me than people that are worse, I like to be challenged. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not glorifying the world of fashion or the people. What I’m talking about is the imaginary world that working in fashion allows me to create in my art. I relate to the fashion world in no other way but this.
What has been you biggest challenge so far?
LA: Focusing on my work, not being distracted by other BS.
What issues in your field do you have strong opinions about?
LA: The only issue I have is with the sinking bar of quality in work in all creative fields. There is a continuous idolization of the “normal” everyday man, this is dangerous for a society, when a society idolizes the superhuman, the something that’s better than normal, it gives people hope, something to look up to. Monet was Monet, no one else could do that, that’s why his work is in the MoMa and we go, and look, and get that feeling in your stomach, that feeling of “wow” Michel Jackson, Jackson Pollack, Marlon Brando. The list goes on, but you will never find that on reality TV. You will never find that in the “I shot that” world. You can’t shoot that. That’s why your looking at it. I hope the world stops cheating itself.
Why did you stop/what keeps you going?
LA: I keep making work because I keep making things that are new to me, when I no longer make things that are new and inspiring to me, I will stop.
Share a story with us. One about a fun day on set, favorite project you completed, or a time you were really happy to be doing what you do.
LA: Aw man, I don’t know, I’m always happy doing what I do more-so as I go on, its always fun to me. I can’t think of any stories. I’m always flattered when people like my work, and I’m always surprised when I run into people and they have been following what I’m doing, or a designer uses one of my photos for something cool.
I remember recently I went on the internet randomly and saw that the RUFFIAN guys had used one of my photos for the opening page of their website, and I know it sounds cheesy but it will always give me that warm fuzzy feeling when I know that I made something that I thought was cool, and someone else actually thought it was cool too. I’m continually surprised that I am able to do that. I think its soooo cool. OH! And when my dad came to my opening and looked at me and said “I think this is really cool, I’m this guys dad!” That made me so happy.
Advice to new comers?
LA: Don’t listen to anyone. My acting teacher Maggie Flanigan told me continuously that there is no judge of your work that matters except for yourself. The worst thing you can do is listen to other people. You know if what you are creating is what you want. And if it is, fight and die for it and if its not, make it.
Any role models?
Dennis Hopper. I always knew he was a painter and photographer, but I didn’t know till recently that he had solo exhibitions of his fine art work in NY before he was a famous movie star. He is someone that reminds me that no matter how many people tell me I can’t do anything I want, that I can.