Saturday, April 23, 2016

#ColbyFaceSwap Contest!!! Win something weird!!!

Enter the #colbyfaceswap contest by tweeting(with the hashtag #colbyfaceswap) or sending your best Colby Keller face swap phot by 7 a.m. Eastern on Sunday to bigshoediaries at gmail dot com with the subject line "ColbyFaceSwap" for a chance to win something weird from my storage unit. 

Her are some of the current entries:






Thursday, April 21, 2016


We sat down with Capitol Hill series creator and director, Wes Hurley to find out more about his hilarious web series that just released it's 13th episode and features our very own Colby Keller.

BSD: Capitol Hill the series is named for the eclectic neighborhood in Seattle, correct?  Why did you choose this for the title of your web series?
WH: Yes, "Capitol Hill" has been the neighborhood known for its gay, queer and artist communities for decades now.  Since the series is an homage/parody of soap operas I wanted a title that's a name of a place like "Dallas", "Falcon's Crest", "Melrose Place", that also sounds kind of vague, relates to Seattle but doesn't tell you anything about it.  The show's relationship to the actual neighborhood not at all literal.  We're not portraying the actual Capitol Hill neighborhood in the show.  But we are celebrating local performers and community by casting them in this heightened glamorous and somewhat surreal world.  Also I like how different audiences will have different relationship with the title.  For Seattleites or folks who are familiar with the neighborhood, it's almost like an inside joke.  But for the rest of the world it just sounds like a soap opera title.

BSD: You've worked with well known drag artists and porn performers as well as conventional actors in the series.  What do these outsider performers bring to the project?
WH: With "Capitol Hill" I wasn't interested in portraying "reality" in any shape or form.  It's a magical warped world drawing from gay culture and my own depraved imagination.  So I'm very interested in creating characters for performers who exist outside of mainstream film/theater, be that drag, modern dance, performance art, cabaret, pro-wresting, burlesque or porn.  Each one of those performers has their own unique presence that adds to the heightened aesthetic I'm creating.  John Waters did that with people who weren't performers at all and he let them fill these larger than life roles.  Unlike John Waters, I'm not interested in non-performers but I am interested in amazing performers who don't necessarily fit the mold of a traditional Hollywood actor.    

BSD: What are you favorite web series to watch?

WH: Let me just say a disclaimer: I'm not trying to be shady.  I love that people are making stuff, telling stories and putting it all online.  But I'll be honest I don't watch web series.  I hate the idea of watching stuff on my computer - anything longer than a funny cat video or news clips.  I really wanted to make a TV show but I didn't have connections to the industry to have one produced.  So I made "Capitol Hill" and I put it online.  Now "Capitol Hill" is actually on TV in four countries and will get expanded to more soon.  So it's a TV show after all.  Although, many people do refer to Netflix and Amazon content as web series.  In which case, I love "Transparent" and I'm thrilled to have Alexandra Billings from that show join our cast.       

BSD: How has the writing and production of the project changed since you completed the first episode in the series?
WH: When I wrote season 1, again I was kind of thinking of it as a TV show so it was three 30-minute episodes.  Then I showed it to people who actually watch webseries and they said I was insane - 30 min is too long for anything to watch online.  So I split them up into 6-12 minutes episodes.  Now I know that I'm writing in really short form - which is neither good nor bad, just different than what I expected in the beginning.  Our production crew grew significantly between Seasons 1 and 2.  It's still a no-budget gorilla production by Hollywood standards.  But for me it's been a huge change.  We went from having 2-3 people on set for Season 1 to sometimes 20-30 people on set in Season 2.  It's amazing how many talented and generous folks joined us in the past year.  It's like we have this wonderful creative family and it keeps on growing.

BSD: What was the best part about working with Colby?  And the worst part (be honest!)? 
WH: Colby is the nicest, most down to Earth guy, who just happens to look like he's visiting from Valhalla.  Which is nice to find out because he's so loved around the world, he's like the biggest sex symbol in our gay culture right now and it hasn't gone to his head at all.  But seriously it's a painful how gorgeous he is - even better looking in real life and has such great energy about him.  And it's almost intimidating to be around someone so beautiful, nice and intelligent.  That would be the best and the worst part - like damn! does he have to be this perfect!!!  I feel like Gollum next to him.


Monday, April 11, 2016


State/Provice Edited: Idaho
History with State/Province: My only connection to Idaho was the potato and the Gus Van Sant movie My Own Private Idaho, which has very little to do with the movie itself.
Favorite Artist: Robert Mapplethore, Felix Gonzalez-Torrez, Nick Knight, and Bjork (among many many others).

CDA: How did you come to be involved in the Colby Does America project?
AA: I was on my way home from a Valentine's Day party at an art gallery and was slightly (read: very) drunk and I was skimming through my Instagram when I saw that Colby was in Los Angeles, which is where I currently live. So I posted a photograph I had edited of him through my iPhone on Instagram and basically wrote "lol k so I'm drunk but Colby if you see this, let me take pictures of you please thank u" in the caption. A few days passed and then I saw that he sent me a direct message. I kind of lost my mind for a few seconds, but we got in contact and we ended up having a photo shoot a few days later. During the shoot itself, I expressed interested in editing one of the Colby Does America videos, so he put me in contact with his crew and that's basically how I was given the state of Idaho

CDA: How did you relationship with the state/province you worked on change while editing the footage?
AA: Idaho is actually really beautiful, and while you might night necessarily see it because of the editing style I chose to use in the video, the clips I got from the state were very pastoral and serene. Also found out (and wasn't surprised) that there was a Idaho Potato museum, so that was fun.

CDA: Would you describe the film you edited as art or porn? Why?
AA: I don't necessarily see a difference between art and porn with my own video, especially since my own understanding of art and pornography has become significantly blurred as I've gotten older. If you think about the usage of naked bodies in an art historical context, we see how the body (especially female) is portrayed through sex and chastity. For example, the visual manifestation of an ecstatic moment in various religious Baroque paintings and works of art have been alluded to being synonymous with being seen as an orgasm. Sex has been so ever-present in artwork and is still heavily explored by various contemporary visual artists like (but are not limited to) Jeff Koons and his work with his ex-wife La Cicciolina, Ron Athey, and the Black Spark's experimental pornography back in 2010/2011. With this is mind, I would classify my video as art, but have absolutely no problem with someone seeing it as pornography. What I'm more interested in is that the audience has an experience, either artistic, sexual, or other, with the work.

CDA: How do you explore your own personal fantasies (ie. through porn or other mediums)?
AA: I tend to be really methodical with exploring my own fantasies. If I get really interested in something, I tend to dive in and do as much research as I can until I cap out. 

CDA: How would you describe your own art practice?
AA: My artistic practice at the moment is interested with my own associations and interpretations of queerness. A lot of my work revolves around the obscuring or removal of the body in order to speak about various associations of the male body like masculinity politics, body image, and the visual gaze. Through my work, I'm looking to explore what we, as an audience, project onto the body and what I, as the creator of the work, can do to play with or distort this point of view.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

GNI MAG (@gnimag) ISSUE 21: The Sex Issue featuring @colbykeller & @CalumMcSwiggan

The good folks at GNI MAG have not only put me on the cover of their latest issue, but were kind enough to have Kieran Clarke devote some serious real estate (6 pages!) to chat with me. Thanks GNI MAG!

Hard copies of the magazine are available across Ireland, but if you can't get to the Emerald Isle, you can probably order a copy from GNI MAG. You can also check out the magazine online in the meantime.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Tad Beck (b. 1968, Exeter, New Hampshire) received a B.F.A. in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, in 1991, and an M.F.A. in Fine Art from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, in 2003. He lives and works in New York City and Maine.  We asked Tad for a brief interview in advance of his showing at Volume in Los Angeles that opens this Thursday evening.  Some of the works presented feature Colby as a model.

BSD:  I think many people know that Colby looks to you as a mentor in the art world.  What, to you, are the most important roles a mentor can play to an aspiring artist?

TB: I am honored to hear that Colby thinks of me in that light. It’s the first time I am hearing that. I think my best mentor was Mike Kelley, who was an exceptional listener. He took whatever was coming out of my mouth seriously and gave it time and thought. He was exceptionally generous with his time and his mind. I felt like I had his undivided attention even in a crowded room. While we had many great conversations while I studied with him, I think his life and his work were the true inspirations. I am very lucky to have his voice in the back of my head while I am working in my studio.

Tad Beck
26.5 x 40"

BSD:  Rephotography (making photographs of photographs) is something we see commonly employed in social media posts, amateur family photography and "then and now" architecture photos.  What does your process look like for staging your photo shoots with models?

TB: I’m an artist who has always been interested in what photography does, what it documents, and what it transforms. Rephotography has given me a way to exaggerate the transformations created by the camera. Photography has grown into something new in the age of mobile device cameras and social media. It is infinitely more accessible and more detailed, and our lives are more saturated with photographic imagery than ever before. I have subjects reenact earlier images primarily because it puts heavy importance on context and location. Context changes in these works, but the subjects and their body positions usually do not. Proust wrote about reading the same text in different locations at different times, and how it took on different meanings as a result. Context changes everything. 

For example, for the series “Bicycle Crash,” I provided the dancer Connor Voss with images of crashes from the European racing circuit to use as sources for improvised movement. He performed atop a greatly enlarged photograph of my studio wall, subtly revealed by the paper seam bisecting the composition. The blank studio wall is a place of questions, possibilities, failure, and success. The resulting images combine moments of bodily chaos and control.  I am particularly interested in how the deliberate repetition of accidental, improvised, or spontaneous movement allows it to generate new meanings.

Tad Beck
16.5 x 40”

BSD: Specifically, what did this look like in working with Colby?  What were the images based on?

TB: After working with choreographers for my series “Double Document,” I became interested in the body as medium, of movement as a kind of language. After getting to know Colby, I thought that expanding my definition of the performative body would be really interesting. I was initially concerned that some of the choreographers I’d worked with might be concerned that I was equating dance and sex work, but none were. Dancers fully appreciate the way the body sometimes becomes a commodity in performance. To start the project, I went through a number of Colby’s recent videos looking for body positions that seemed to convey something beyond their original erotic intention. Pulling the screen grabs for the series with Colby was interesting because I understand he never watches his own films.  In order for there to be an image for him to reenact, I had to digitally paint over the images from his films so that the location and other actor were entirely blocked out. We tried to match the poses as carefully as we could to the original screen grabs with Colby on the floor by himself.  I initially toyed with the idea of having Colby nude in the photographs, but found that photographing him in dance tights de-eroticized the work and made the connection between sex and choreography a bit more explicit.

Tad Beck
49 x 42"

Tad Beck
26.5 x 40"

BSD: Why does much of your current work involve the body?  Have you ever been obsessed with other forms?

TB: I started shooting the body as an undergrad in college. It’s always been of interest to me. Even in classical museum collections, I find myself gravitating to works that include the human form. I’ve been working with the human body for so long that everything else has almost become like a secondary language for me. That said, I have always tried to use the body as a way of getting at broader ideas and themes.

For years now, I have attempted works that do not include the body. These works have mostly been frustrations and have never been exhibited. However, this past year I started working with hand tools that I did not recognize. After almost a year of difficult experimentation I finally found results that I am happy with.  These works, entitled “Blind Spot,” will be included in the exhibition with VOLUME at South of Sunset with the Colby works. Every good Yankee boy has a certain “do-it-yourself” proficiency with tools; it’s a bit embarrassing to not know how to use a tool, and as such the objects I selected were even more interesting to me. However, although the works are my first that do not involve the human figure in a long time, I think there is still a connection to the body.  Hand tools function as an extension of the body, as something the body “uses” in a way that is not that dissimilar from the way the camera “uses” bodies in my other work.

Tad Beck
24.66 x 20.53"

BSD: Can you tell us a little bit about what it's like to be an artist in the context of living between New York City and a small town in Maine?  What do you notice about your practice in each of these places?

TB: Both places are on islands that are about the same size, but the island in Maine has a year-round population of only about a thousand. Both islands tend to attract artists that do not fit in elsewhere. Marsden Hartley and Robert Indiana are two queer artists that have worked in both places. I’m not sure why this fishing town has attracted queer artists, but I do have a number of theories that might be too long winded at the moment. It certainly isn’t Provincetown, though. I personally find that the energy of Manhattan keeps me going. The city keeps me informed on what my peers are up to and also gives me the opportunity to have people visit the studio which leads to some great conversations. Maine gives me the freedom to experiment and the space to think. I also have wonderful conversation partners there, although their work is very different from my own; those friendships and conversations might not have happened, or have taken on the same intensity, in a place like New York where it is easier to isolate yourself with people whose work and interests are closer to your own.

Tad Beck’s work, including works featuring Colby, will be on view in Los Angeles at an event presented by VOLUME at South of Sunset this Thursday evening.

His work may also be seen at