Napper: Los Angeles

I was recently able to get a few minutes with friend and fellow artist/photographer Michael Napper who happens to call Los Angeles home. We are working on “something” together, so stay tuned to your trusty Smogranch for emerging details. It involves photography, art and the all powerful book.

We always end up photographing each other, so this was my favorite image from this particular day.

Napper is one of those guys I find wildly inspiring. Given time and resources he is a dangerous character, the type who in the olden days would have been condemned, hunted and ultimately captured by the crown. We NEED these people because when I look at American culture I see a sleeping giant waiting for a chance to reemerge from the slumber of the strip mall and fast-food chain. We all talk about change, especially these days during the Hell that is campaign season. “We really need change” the pundits say, with ZERO meaning or accountability, so our collective soul, and future, rests in the hands of the creative type.

Michael writes painfully well, paints, sketches and has the photography affliction. And he makes a lot of work, which I find the ultimate jab in the neck.

On a serious note. If you haven’t seen his site, or work, take a look. Well worth it.

Art in the mail…..

I’m a lucky guy. I have very talented and creative friends, some of whom are wedded to the physical or analog world. Nothing against the electronic world…I live there too, but there really is something special about acquiring, being given or even stealing something tactile and physical.
So a week or so ago I picked up my mail and discovered that my old buddy Michael Napper, LA artist/photographer/writer/camera collector/ and generally decent human being had sent me something. I opened this thing and just sat there staring at it. Part letter, part correspondence, part artwork, part caffeine stained masterpiece. I realized immediately I could not cement this in one of my books. It was simply too good. This one I needed to share. So, I took it over to the framer and had this baby floated and framed. My wife and I have already had one argument as to where this thing will live, which I feel is the sign of something being truly significant.
People, the computer is great. The digital world is great. But making something physical is just different and still holds a certain relevance that I feel goes far beyond the pixel. Again, not pointing fingers here, drawing a line in the sand, choosing sides or stirring the pot. Just look at this thing. When I see or receive something like this is makes me actually FEEL something. I physically FEEL it happening to me. To be fair, I saw something online this morning that had a similar impact, so it can happen in any form of delivery. Good work, at least in my opinion, is about this physical feeling. I have the feeling when I make the work and I hope my audience has their feeling when they view the work.

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So I shot a roll, backed it out, left the leader out.
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Gave the roll to Michael Napper. He loaded it, shot it, processed it.
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I shot on the North Shore of Oahu. He shot in urban Los Angeles.

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A strange brew of landscape, oceanscapes and the rigidity of the urban world. I might have posted a few of these a long while back, but was just uploading them to Flickr and thought I would share them here.

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This is one of the great things about going through my archive and finding things to upload to Flickr. I don’t put most of my “major” work on Flickr, for many different reasons, but a lot of work I have, that I have never shown, is fun to get out there. It’s time consuming to go through it, and I don’t consider Flickr and archive by any means, but it is nice to begin the sorting process for the day when I finally come up with an idea of how I AM going to do my archive.

Go See This Show

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So I’m highly recommending this show. Trust me. Go.

Michael Napper photographs. Just look at these things and tell me you don’t want to see the rest.

I’ve known Michael now for a few years, and find him to be one of those guys that makes me shake my head, but in the best possible way. An accomplished, contemporary, fine-art painter, but someone who has also worked with photography for years and who recently, luckily for the rest of us, ramped up the photo-part of his life.

Already published in Black and White, something that can normally take YEARS, I think his work speaks for itself. If you know his paintings then you will see a vein of consistency that is no easy task to pull off. A definitive style that is immediately recognizable, what every artist strives for.

Michael is also a very hands on guy, experimenting with materials extensively, and creating these pieces from start to finish, by hand. There is nothing automated about what he does, and the idea of building a piece of photography becomes a reality in this work.

I find this work refreshing, distinctive, personal, and making me want more. If I knew any real art speak I would use it here. I don’t know any, and it would probably sound ridiculous coming from me, so just imagine I’m laying it on thick.

So, go to the show and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.