Interview mit Mark Miremont

Few artists have worked in as many different genres as Mark Miremont. The American born in Spain has applied his unique vision to film, music video, theater, fine art and philosophy. His latest endeavors are in the world of photography and his resurrections of the classic pinup have legendary models Bettie Page and Mamie Van Doren chiming in as fans. On her web site, Mamie beams that, "Mark is blazing a trail into the future of photography". I talked with Mark Miremont over the Internet about this future and the past that led up to it.

When was the first time Art impressed you and what was it? A photo, book, something on TV or a movie?

THE WIZARD OF OZ and WILLY WONKA had a huge influence on me as a child and they probably still do. But comic books were the first things to actually get me to create something. When I was five or six I began drawing everyday because of my love of comics.

How did you move from drawing to the kinds of work you do now? The abstract art and the films and photography?

Eventually I became aware Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning and other dark, abstract figurative painters. I began finding Art with personal style and emotional content to be more interesting than realism. I began deconstructing the photo-realistic work I was doing and later, when I focused on Philosophy, I gave up painting on canvas altogether and started spray painting the city walls of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tijuana with aphorisms. The idea of Art as Crime intrigued me.

These are the images with the star in them?

Yes. Duchamp had this weird haircut at one point in his life back in the 1920's or 30's. It was a star shaved out of the back of his head and I called it the first punk rock haircut. So I used a star as the signature for that series of 300 pieces as a reference to that and some of the work I was doing in Philosophy. The biggest one was a 60 foot piece on the side of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for the big Post Modern exhibit. Some of that work still resonates with me for its magical qualities, but I'm much happier with what I do now because it doesn't get me arrested.

You were arrested for this art?

How did you start directing films?

In my last year studying Philosophy I took a film class and I made a film called, ANTINOMIES. It caused some controversy at screenings because I incorporated disturbing medical footage from the 1950's. At the time, I was doing illustrations and model building for the UCLA Medical School, so I had access to all sorts of gruesome things that I put to good use. Because of the attention the film got, I was invited to join the Graduate School of Film and Television at UCLA.

Is that when you started to direct music videos?

Yes. I actually started directing music videos right away- even before I went to Film School.

Who have you worked with? Do you like doing music videos?

Soundgarden was cool to work with. But the kinds of music I like rarely gets made into music videos. I'd love to do more music videos, but it would have to be for artists I really like that have the same creative perspective. I'd like to see Nick Cave get a decent video made. I'd also like to do a rockabilly/hotrod video or something for Henrik Gorecki.

When did you go to Robert Redford's Sundance Institute? What was that like?

It was in the summer between my first and second year of grad school in what they call "The June Filmmaker's Lab". They pick around six filmmakers a year to help with their first features and I got to work with a lot of great people: Volker Schlöendorff, Terry Gilliam, Stanley Donnen, Alan Pakula and Jim McBride among others. It was great fun.

When did you start doing your Photography?

A few years ago a band called Switchblade Symphony asked me to shoot some photos for them. I drove up to San Francisco from Los Angeles and had such a great time shooting them that it became a medium I wanted to work in. I really have to thank Tina Root and Susan Wallace for that experience because if they weren't such a joy, I might not be so involved in creating photographs now. In some ways, my embracing photography is also a reaction to the enormous expense of making the kinds of films I'm interested in.

When and what was the first shot you ever did with a Pinup-Girl and who was it?

Julie Strain was the first model I ever shot doing my take on the pinup form. Again, she was such a joy to work with and such a nice person that it inspired me to head in that direction.

Where do you find your models?

Most of my models are friends or friends of friends. Occasionally a model will approach me through my website or out on the town they introduce themselves. Sometimes I find them. There has been no one way. For the last year I've been very happy with everyone I've worked with and I plan on working with them all again.

Who is your favorite Pin-Up-Girl ever?

There's no way I could pick just one. I'm not just being nice. I value all kinds of beauty. And that is what I try to conjure in my photographs. I have found girls that weigh three hundred pounds that are more beautiful to me than others that spend 10 hours a week in the gym. As odd as it seems, physical beauty is not what interests me. My job is to make the most beautiful photograph I can and to make my models look as good as they possibly can. I am always pursuing the inner beauty of my collaborators and trying to capture that in a cage of light and style.

What do you like doing the most: Photography, Music Videos, Films or Art?

Right now I am in love with photography. But I suffer from a variety of Stendhal's Syndrome that makes it difficult. It is a rare affliction in which a person becomes overwhelmed by works of Art or beauty. In my particular case, I become overwhelmed when taking photographs. I become overwhelmed to the point where I become ecstatic and feel like I am going to fall unconscious. But it's something I don't mind. In fact, it's my goal in life to die from this illness.

I know you are into Rockabilly and Kustom Kulture, do you think it has influenced your Art?

I'd like to say yes, because I have been into these things for as long as I can remember. And I think the very fact that I've taken to the pinup form shows my love for them. But I think that most people who look at my photographs wouldn't get the lineage.

Smokin`Shutdown is a Hot-Rod-Magazine/Book, for sure we are interesting in what kind of car Mark Miremont is driving and tell us 3 of your special cars you would like to drive?

The best car I ever owned was my '61 Studebaker Hawk. I just love Raymond Lowey's design work. Everything he worked on was sexy and elegant. He also designed the Avanti which I have spent time driving. Those cars were way ahead of their time. The third pick would be a total custom - something that doesn't look like anything ever made. I'd want to design and build it myself. It is just a matter of having time. Ideally, people should customize every aspect of their lives - build their own homes, cars,
furniture, everything.

Mark we talked about Europe and you were over here at some really cool places but you have never been to Germany. Where would be the first place you would go if you got to visit?

I'd like to spend a lot of time there and see the whole country. Berlin has always fascinated me. So I imagine that is where I'd like to begin. But I think like anything, you don't get to really know a country from just the metropolitan areas. I'd like to tour the whole country.

How is the Art-Scene in California by the way?

There's a lot of great art here in California. Especially for anyone interested in Kustom Kulture. I live close the La Luz de Jesus Gallery, which is a Mecca for artists into that. It has shown work by Robert Williams, Coop!, Pizz, Mark Ryden and tons of others.

If you would have to pick three artists, it doesn't matter what they are or were doing, which ones would be your favorite ever?

Salvidor Dali, Richard Wagner and Jean Cocteau. Not for their art itself, because there are artists whose work I actually find more pleasing to my taste, but because their spirit refused to be limited to just one medium. That's a really hard question because we live in a world in which there is so much beauty and so many talented people - especially in music. I could never pick just three artists in general. I admire any artist that creates their own world - especially if it touches on the truth and speaks from and to the soul.

Please Mark give us some information about your latest work and what does the future hold for you?

I'm doing a new series of photographs that deal with myth, religion and fables things like Medusa, Vampyres, Mermaids, Eve in the Garden of Eden, Kali characters like that.

Last Question: I really want to know from Mark Miremont: What was your favorite moment in your life?


Mark thanks so much taking time for Smokin`Shutdown, I'm already a big fan of your Art, I really appreciate that you spend some of your precious time for us, I hope to get the chance to meet you someday in person and to find out more about your Art. Keep up the good work.



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