Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Painter Billy Hassell

I love shooting portraits of artists. It doesn't matter what medium they work in, it's always exciting to get the chance to pick an artist's brain: to talk shop, to see how they do what they do, and where they find inspiration. Obviously, when I got the call to shoot painter Billy Hassell in his studio, I was thrilled.

Painters and sculptors keep the most fascinating work spaces - usually a little cluttered, dusty, and disorganized. Tools of their crafts, reference materials, castoffs, piles of paperwork everywhere... I don't know why I love these messy studios so much - In truth, I prefer to keep my own work space as spartan as possible - but I find other creatives' unkempt workshops oddly compelling.

Some detail shots of Billy's studio:

It turns out that Billy's studio is about eight blocks from my place. We knew a lot of the same people, had been going to the same neighborhood bars and restaurants for years, liked a lot of the same music... In fact, although neither of us knew it until after our shoot, his daughter is my next door neighbor (In my defense, I'm not home a lot).

A couple of out takes:

Billy was kind enough to let me hang out and shoot for a couple of hours. We discussed painting and photography, the future of art, our appreciation for our shared hometown, listened to music and generally enjoyed meeting a new friend. As I was loading out my gear, he was even kind enough to offer his guest a very tasty Guinness. Thanks, Billy. The next one's on me...