Surrealist guru Dean West creates staged photographs that will blow your mind. His work ranges from serene beach scenes to creative digital manipulations, both of which are breathtakingly clear and uniquely inspiring. This week we chatted with him about his unique style and some of his craziest adventures.
LIVES & WORKS IN: BROOKLYN
OCCUPATION: Photographer & Visual Artist
ON THE CLOCK: Somewhere between 4 & 14 hours.
YOUR ART WEEKEND: Chelsea Galleries, particularly David Zwirner, Pace/MacGill, Aperture, Danziger and Bryce Wolkowitz.
St. Pete Beach, 2016
ALBUM: BØRNS (the most underrated band of this decade).
FILM: Really anything by Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Spike Jonze, Christopher Nolan, Michel Gondry. These guys just get it.
ARTIST: Andreas Gurksy’s monumental photographs have constantly reminded me of what it means to be a photographer.
BOOK: Everyone has a path, a dream- and that story is told perfectly in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.
EATS: Too much Sushi
LATEST PURCHASE: Flights to Greece
GUILTY PLEASURE: Watching Golf
GRADE IN ART CLASS: I think it was good
36 HOURS: Having spent time in Marrakech before, I can’t think of a better place to be for 36hrs. The food, the culture and the overall experience is something that I’ll never forget.
Starburst Featuring MC Hammer
You have a very distinct feel to all of your photographs, did you develop your style over time or did it just come to you one day?
I think most artists develop their style over time and as each year goes by, their language becomes clearer and more identifiable. I’m interested and dedicated to the vast possibilities of digital photography as a medium.
Is there a specific photograph that was particularly fun / awkward / or exciting to shoot? Why? (And which one?)
As a photographer who works across both fine art and advertising disciplines, there are an array of fun/awkward stories to tell. It amazes me what lengths we photographers will go to ‘to get the shot’. While scouting locations in Amboy California for my In Pieces project (a collaboration with sculptor Nathan Sawaya) I decided to climb a 100ft antenna to get an aerial view of a location- about 2/3rds of the way up, with camera in hand, a large gun toting man and an aggressive dog came out of a nearby trailer screaming for me to get down. It was a difficult moment, especially considering the casual vertigo that was creeping in and the entanglement of my camera straps; however, we got the shot (see it below!).
“Hotel” From: In Pieces, 2012