The theme of this week’s 10 Questions is not beards. It just so happens that the two featured artists – J. Morrison and Christopher Schulz – have impressive whiskers. Schulz is the creator of the wildly popular zine Pinups whose fan base spreads across the US, Canada and Europe and includes members of both the queer community and the art world. With no headlines or articles, it consists simply of black-and-white photographs of hairy men – sometimes curvy, sometimes muscular – that can be disassembled to create a nearly life-size poster of the featured model. As such, it is typical to see on one page a full-body shot and on another the close-up of a torso or thigh.
The abstract puzzle pieces are akin to Edward Weston’s photographs from the 1920s and 30s that were “stimulated [by] the nude body, because of the infinite combinations of lines which are present with every move.” Weston heightened the sensuality of the female model by cropping it at close proximity. The suppleness of the flesh takes on the appearance of a distant landscape, offering an unending revelation of voluptuous and abstract forms. Similarly, Schulz moves beyond creating straight pornography by producing artfully constructed compositions that focus on the model’s intrinsic organic qualities.
Do you find your models for Pinups or do they find you?
A bit of both. I usually invite friends that I think would be a good fit for the mag. Some friends surprise me by expressing an interest, and if I think they’d be right for the mag then I’ll work with them. But mostly it’s me extending the invitation.
What are you looking for physically from them – any requirements in particular? I am sensing a pattern of burly men . . .
Not all of them are burly. Many of them are hairy though, and that’s because I am going for a natural look, and most men are naturally hairy. Ultimately I’m looking for confidence. That is the most important thing I look for—because it comes across physically.
Since most of your images are in the buff, have you had to deal with camera shy models? How do you warm them up?
Since confidence is important, I make sure to work with men who aren’t shy behind the camera. I do try to make sure they’re comfortable though. I’m strict about keeping the shoots private.
We have met a couple times socially, how would you pose me? What props would be used? Now remember, I am camera shy myself.
If you’re camera shy then I’d do whatever kind of shoot makes you comfortable. Are you shy with your clothes on? I try not to pose the models. I prefer to capture images that are a little bit more candid. Props and locations are informed by the concept of the shoot, but I rarely use props.
Not to give you a big head but Pinups has a cult following. It is sold across the globe and you have exhibited in galleries across Europe. Did you ever think it would become such a phenomenon?
Never. I still don’t see it as a huge phenomenon. It surprises me when I meet someone from across the world who is familiar with the project. I’m very thankful that it has come as far as it has. I can’t believe I’m on Issue 14.
It’s brought me some attention personally—both desired and undesired. But most people who are familiar with Pinups don’t know who I am. In fact, many people think Pinups is a company with an HR team. Haha. I wish.
I just came across your Seth book of drawings at Printer Matter. You are a jack of all trades, whats your studio training in?
Thanks. I’ve been drawing all my life. So it really started with drawing, and then I began to dabble in computer design applications: Kid Pix, Photoshop Deluxe, an every version of Photoshop since. I was fortunate to go to an arts high school where I explored painting, performance, and installation. I eventually went to school at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I became interested in print making and design.
Are there any other projects aside from Pinups up your sleeve?
There are always other projects. The Seth book was one of them. And I have a blog called Mopping which is a play on ownership rights (or lack there of) surrounding blog culture. Rather than “reblogging” I use found images from other Tumblr blogs to create unique collages. Hence the name Mopping, which is queer slang for stealing.
What is your ideal guy like? Where would you go on your first date?
My ideal guy has the same drive as me to make and do. I prefer to be surrounded by creative types. In fact, I seek that quality in all my friends. As for first dates, I prefer the kind where you don’t even realize it’s a date until a few dates in, at which point it doesn’t even matter where you went the first time.
If I were to meet you at a bar, what drink would I order for you?
I’m not much of a bar man, but if you find me poolside in Phoenix, AZ, where I grew up, nothing would make me happier than a margarita on the rocks.