Intersections: Artists working with Artists - Collaborations

Phillip Wong Productions

Non-Profit/Political/Portrait

INTERSECTIONS:

Artists Working with Artists – Collaborations

          In our world, we interpret “political,” or “non-profit,” or “for-profit” in very specific ways.  The fact is, our world is fluid, evolving, and our own work, has the ability to influence the world, to be closer to something that is fair, logical, equal, just, and gives us a viable future.

          Many people believe that the world is too big, too vast, for US to have an impact on it, but we always believe that the world, has an impact on US.  These ideas have elements of truth.

          In a capitalist and commercial world, there are many artists who are extremely talented and accomplished, but might not be known.  In a capitalist and commercial world, getting “known” is expensive and often difficult. I have always known this.

          This is not a criticism of commercialism, but an understanding that there is more than what is marketed, and what is “hot” or “big” at this time.  As any artist learns, greatness, is not always achieved in a lifetime. And as the world learns, what is “hot” today, may not always be great. 

          But using photography to draw attention to those who deserve a little more scrutiny, and trying to show “WHY” they deserve more, has been a passion of mine.

          Working with artists, is understanding their art, their personalities, and collaborating with them to create visual images that complement and reflect the emotions and passions within them.

          I realized that I was successful in fashion, not solely because of MY talent, but because I understood what designing was, and what mattered to fashion designers. I understood what mattered to editors and models.

          But I came back from Europe, because in the fashion centers, they didn’t have a vast array of OTHER creative fields. I wanted to feel the energy of collaborating with passionate and driven people.

          My production work is wide-ranging, because the artists and characters and people are wide-ranging. Who people ARE, are often, what people DO. And what they Think, and what they Feel.

The collaboration works because the GOAL, is what we work for – and to be part of that success – is what we can take pride in.

Tuu Ra – Extraordinary

https://song.link/Extraordinary

 

Steve Coleman – Drop Kick

https://youtu.be/ZnH7z1Ek-P4

 

 

Steve Coleman – The Tao of Mad Phat

 

Steve Coleman – Def Trance Beat

(The Modalities of Rhythm)

M-Base Collective- An Anatomy of A Groove

https://youtu.be/ol8acY0QpVY

 

Tuu-Ra    – Cycles

 

Tamara Nekola

 

Steve Coleman And the Metrics – Tale of 3 Cities


Caushun

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Publishing

Caushun

         Caushun is a gay rapper who wanted to come out, when the Hip Hop community wasn’t receptive to gay rappers.

          He was as bold and brash and “in-your-face” and talented, and this was his voice was black, street and gay.


Red Shoes Diary - Brigitte Bako

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Publishing

Red Shoes Diary

Brigitte Bako

          Brigitte Bako was in Red Shoes Diary which was being directed by Zalman King. I was being asked to shoot with some of the female stars by their publicity unit and get them into multiple publications. I met her at one of New York’s boutique hotels as she was doing a promotional tour.

          Our team of stylist, makeup artist and hair stylist prepped her so that we would be able to release multiple sets for multiple publications – but the look had to be cool, sexy, elegant, and reflect the character she had been playing in this new series.


Javier Bardem

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Publishing

Javier Bardem

          I worked for a number of small independent publications that were writing about films and music that were new, ambitious, under-explored.Their focus converged with my own interest in newly discovered or emerging artists.

          Javier Bardem was in Before Night Falls when I was asked to photograph him to support the interview which was being written.


Charlize Theron

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Publishing

Charlize Theron

           When I originally photographed Charlize Theron in Milan, I was introduced to her by the make-up artist I was working and traveling with at that time Christan Burran, who wanted me to meet and shoot with Charlize.

          We spent the next day shooting, and when I got back to New York, Gear Magazine recognized her as an emerging artist.

          I later was asked to produce a short book based on that shoot which I designed, laid out, and produced.


Blues Musicians

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Media

Blues Musicians

          When I was in Italy, I proposed a overview story of Blues Musicians to editors at Italian Vogue. I didn’t necessarily think that it would have an angle at Italian Vogue, but L’Uomo Vogue, Vanity or one of their smaller publications might have an interest.They turned it down, because they didn’t see how it could be produced.

          Believing that this niche story had value, I flew back to Chicago, where my family was still living, and for three weeks, photographed and interviewed Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor, Lefty Dizz, Junior Wells, Sugar Blue, Lonnie Brooks, Son Seals, Sunnyland Slim, and then back in Italy, as I was finishing the writing, Albert Collins and B.B. King in Pistoia.  My interviews were wide-ranging and free-flowing touching on how their music and the musicians they met, guided their lives, framed their views on race, and war, and society and relationships.

          Producing the finished interviews and photographic story, Conde Nast picked it up as they tried to decide which one of their publications would run with it.


Gear Magazine

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Media

Gear Magazine

          Gear Magazine was a publication that emerged when Maxim and FHM made their way over from Britain and their explosive success revealed latent markets in America.

    Gear was different, but couldn’t brand itself differently. Gear was started by Bob Guccione, Jr. who had launched Spin Magazine earlier, and who’s father had brought Penthouse to America from Britain.

     Edgy, offbeat, but serious about a new crop of artists, actors, musicians, emerging and defining a new culture, Gear recognized my informal, direct and honest approach matched their perspective with my photographs of Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron, and brought me onboard. They asked me to pitch personalities and story proposals.

        As I saw how they developed layouts, graphics and content, I quickly saw the potential in his vision.
But they couldn’t keep up the financing, marketing, or production necessary to continue competing with Maxim, FHM, GQ or Esquire at the same time, technology was changing digital publishing.


German Playboy - Jeff Koons - Martina Moculescu

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Media

German Playboy – Jeff Koons – Martina Moculescu

           The first time I returned from Europe, I was contacted in New York by German Playboy to shoot a scene with the Playmate of the Year and work with Jeff Koons. 

           I had been in Europe when Koons was becoming notorious for his work with his wife, Ilona Stadler. 

        He had a studio in a building on Broadway and Houston, and I agreed to work with him and a crew of people German Playboy had assembled. Koons had pitched an idea to the editors who wanted his name involved based on postcards of two paintings: Jean Honore Fragonard’s Girl Playing With A Dog, and Francois Boucher’s Resting Girl. He loved the lushness of the 1700s ambiance, and I was looking at focusing on Martina Moculescu, whom I had just met, but as a Playmate of the Year, I thought the qualities that made her special,  should be brought out. 

        I loosely followed Koon’s desire for lushness, and the framework of the artwork on these postcards, and produced the three images here. (She was also shot by two other photographers in other countries.) 

          A number of years later, Jeff Koons came out with his “Gazing Ball” collection which used the Boucher painting, and then a collection which featured “Pot Rack” in which my photograph of Martina, based on Fragonard’s painting, was the foundation behind the Koons painting.

          I thought the dog was lost behind a flurry of pans.


Männer Vogue - Nina Siemaszko

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Media

Männer Vogue – Nina Siemaszko

          The production company of Zalman King contacted me as they began the promotion of a new project they were working on. They wanted to use my contacts across international media to promote the production, the players, and whichever angle might raise interest with the public.

           I contacted editors at publications globally.  Männer Vogue in Munich, Germany expressed interest in the project and the star, Nina Siemaszko.

           On our usual tight timeline, we had arranged to shoot in Montauk, New York, but the day before our location shoot, a hurricane swept up the coast and downed trees on the road out to Long Island. We made it out to Montauk with only a few hours of daylight left. Nina had her Dalmatian with her, and when she let it out of the car, I found a building that had collapsed at the end of a pier, set up a chair we did our shoot there.

          I didn’t actually know anything about the production that she was in, so Männer Vogue’s angle was a profile of Nina Siemaszko.


Pellice Moda - Young Love

Phillip Wong Productions
Photography/Media

Pellice Moda – Young Love

          The focus of this editorial story for Pellice Moda was a new generation of young fashionistas. I always had issues with the fur industry, and there was always a conflict between my moral values and what I was good at.

           Often, the values and content of what we believed in, did not converge with what we were commissioned for.

           Producing on location and raw empty space, focusing on subject matter, and directing attention of an audience was what I was good at.

          Young Love was used both in the Italian and Chinese media (as Simply Elegant). But it shows the value of visual imagery in crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries.

           The stylist was Persian, the models were British but of Asian descent and Italian, the make-up artist was Italian, the hair stylist was American, the photographer was American of Asian descent, and the media platforms were Italian and Chinese.