“If you were Michelangelo and you are given $50k a week to paint bathroom walls, would you do it?”
My direct answer to this question would be – an obvious no. If I had chosen commercial work over my art, I would not have written three books nor have three million views on YouTube to date. In fact, there will not be anything distinctive about me, I would be like another Asian Female casted in stereotypical roles and easily forgotten as another actress no matter how famous I could be. I would be used by the media to gain profits for the studios, and then discarded when I no longer have any commercial value. Such was the tragic fate of Marilyn Monroe.
I have done numerous of photo shoots to date, almost every photographer I had worked with said they have never worked with a model like myself. I am their best work on their portf0lio, and not the commercial work they had done (weddings, maternity etc).
For one, I treat the photographer as the artist, and I am the muse. I am the object of desire, and they are the voyeur. I do trade for CD (TFCD) on purely artistic collaboration purposes if I like the photographer’s work. I would study their previous work, and give them ideas on what we could shoot and then we choose the props and location together. It’s an artistic collaboration to further our personal development.
By doing collaborative shoots, it helps me understand myself as an artist and pushes me to work with different people with different strengths (some photographers are good with indoor and some are good with outdoor shoots).
Photography is an evolved art form from painting canvases. The model, or the muse, has no different function except to inspire the artist to create. The viewers to imagine. The canvas to unfold a new reality never envisioned before. Such is the painting of modern art. Such is what I try to create in my work. In my vision, my dreams… my desires.
My art has by far not bought me much profits and it is self funded. In fact, I had chosen my art above all things in my life because it brings me the most fulfillment. I don’t mind the conditions I have to go through to accomplish a masterpiece. I will put in the hours and work like an artisan.
I could have, and easily chosen to commercialise and popularise my art if I wanted to, but there is something pure and beautiful about being indie, undiscovered, untouched. There is a rarity to be private, yet public. Sometimes I have an inner conflict if I should try to be more popular and likable and get more publicity. Get more mainstream roles or to become famous.
I believe I stayed true to my art for so long because I wanted to do it, and not because I wanted the world to validate it nor the public to like it. It is for myself mostly. It’s subjective reality, and the reality I wish to see, and create for the world.
The trade off of my indie art creation is that I don’t get much privacy, as much as I wished for, my work is mostly public, and it’s public property. But I had figured out it’s better to put my work out there than to keep it to myself.
But I don’t need anyone to validate it except that I do it out of my own accord and will.
Eventually I will have to gravitate towards mainstream, towards recognition, towards publicity, but before that day comes, I will continue to work on my craft and keep my art pure to my soul.