Phones, 2005, c-print

Phones, 2005, c-print

1814: Your experiences from childhood, from your grandparents publishing

backgrounds, your mother's career as painter, the parade of celebrated creatives such

as Andy vVarhol, Allen Ginsburg, and Shel Silverstein, all seem to have prepared you

to be an artist. What advice would you give to a more timid personality that wants to


MP: I think if you are timid you can create your own reality or an alter ego. It's always

seemed to me that mankind is a bunch of people playing make believe anyhow. So one

can always just admit to the masquerade and kind of own it and create whatever one

wants. I personally like being kind oflow key but I think I have a personality that I'm

now just very aware of. I sometimes catch it if I hear in a recording or on TV and I'm

like , "I sound like that"? It's all kind of backwards. But really I sort of live in a comedy

in my head ... a dark comedy of course.

I remember when I was about fourteen years old I would get really uncomfortable with

awkward silences. So I decided intentionally to create awkward phone silences and

explore this and became friends with a guy who had nothing to say on the phone so I

could "out silence" him. \Ve would sit on the phone in silence ... it was something that

used to make me uncomfortable but after months of not speaking with friend on the

phone I became used to it. So I think it's about finding your weaknesses and playing

with them, getting comfortable and exploring them in your art, in your life or just

finding a place where it makes you smirk.

1814: Can you tell me about the days in Los Angeles after your first exhibition of High

Fashion Crime Scenes and about the notoriety that came with the success of your show?

How did the response to your work impact you as an artist?

MP: I was kind of in a daze because I didn't take a break for ten years. I would work

these eighteen hour days and enjoy every second but it leaves you in a daze and time

disappears. So I would finish a show and jump on a plane to Korea to do another

show, and then to Italy and then Japan, China etc ... I love the adrenaline. The weird

thing about High Fashion Crime Scenes was how well it was received when I was doing

shows on my own and in a basement and then I got signed by a big gallery and

suddenly critics were a little more intense. There's an adjustment period but it's just

time and it all settles in. The great thing about art is that you always seem to get better

in someway or are always learning something new.

1814: Can you tell us about the process for selecting the crimes scenes you chose to

recreate in High Fashion Crime Scenes?

MP: I worked for several years with the NYPD, LAPD, and the LA County Coroner's

office to find crime scene photos between 1912 and 1950. I went through thousands of

these crime scene photos, generally anonymous scenes and narrowed it down to about

100 photos to recreate and reenact. From there I went to fashion houses and pulled

clothes that I thought gave a sort of identity to the victims and would tell a story. At

that time I kind of treated each shot like a movie enlisting the help of up to 100 people

per shoot. vV e would light each scene like a movie set and I used traditional hot lights

used in film. I worked with the stunt team from CSI to help me with hanging the

models, and with shark divers for the underwater scenes. Also to accurately color the

skin and create proper death wounds I worked with a makeup team that was

wonderful. In the end I had to work with commercial factories to print my images on

photo paper at such a large size ... the largest of the images are some of the largest

photos in the world on Kodak paper. The idea is you look at the images and they feel

very cinematic.