If you follow me on any social media network, I’m sure you’ve seen me post about #PLASTICSMILES. After a few people asking what this project is, it’s time to unveil a few images and speak about what the project is and how it came about.
A few months ago I did a talk with The Moth sponsored by The Clinton Foundation & Jed Foundation. I was flown out to New York and took part in a two day workshop series that helped individuals craft their stories. I was joined by Jay Stolar, Starshell, Karina Pasian and many others that have been affected by depression. It was an amazing time of self-discovery and healing and by the end of the program, we had all shared a journey that couldn’t be replicated. It was absolutely amazing and once the footage is sent over, I’ll be sure to share.
The day after the Moth talk, I was walking in the frigid New York streets and found respite in a Halloween shop while waiting for an Uber. While traversing the many wares, I found a mask in the basement that had been long forgotten. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to do a photoshoot with it; it was calling my name. As you can see in the picture above, it’s an oversized head of a mustachio-ed man with blue eyes and a head full of hair; a very generic man’s mask that could easily identify as anyone. A very ambiguous representation that allows the wearer to portray emotions through arm movements and body language. I immediately fell in love with what I could do with this adornment.
A few weeks later I was talking to my cousin, David Sivesind, and we planned a trip for him to come visit and shoot my band, MOONBOOTS‘, show at The Beauty Bar. Now, David is a prolific film photographer, his work primarily focuses on portraits shot in black and white, but he’s a true master at his craft. We discussed shooting all day Saturday with no real aim in mind, just get landscapes around Vegas mostly. Within the first hour of his arrival, the wheels were already in motion and I stopped dead in my tracks as I stared at the mask and the project came to life. I told him my idea and (luckily) he got it right away.
For the next two days, we focused on shooting pictures day and night. We were up until 5am trying to portray the isolation and loneliness that occurs when one goes through depression; the crippling sense of nothingness. The film carries the energy so well by adding darker tones and adding a graininess and blur that one with severe depression experiences.
I couldn’t be happier or more excited about this project and I’m so eager to share the images below. They turned out amazing there is so much happening behind the scenes. Full details on gallery, opening reception and more will be revealed in the coming weeks. I hope you can join us as we bring you PLASTIC SMILES.
My cousin Samantha just sent me the following message and it fully encapsulates what this project is so I’m putting it in quotes as though it’s a review because I love it so much:
I love the new project and think it’s awesome David is working with you. Depression is a weird thing. You can look fine but no one really know how you feel. We all wear masks and I think actually using one will have much impact. Good luck Cuz and I’m super proud of you.