“Les Freaks, C’est Chic” Exclusive Monroe-land interview with photographer Justin Monroe
Interview By: Josef Jasso
Justin Monroe’s images have quickly become the new standard in contemporary homo-erotic imagery. His images have fulfilled many of our most subversive and untamed fantasies while maintaining immense appeal of beauty. When viewing one of his images, one cannot help but wonder what is the thought process behind this man’s work. It is constantly pushing the envelope by turning what would be considered pornography by most into high concept art. I recently sat down with Mr. Monroe for a candid interview in his Hollywood studio, which he amply calls Monroe-land, to discuss topics people are thinking but too afraid to ask?
JJ: Before we get into the anything photography, the number one question that inquiring minds want to know…Is your ass real?
JM: You mean my money maker? lol Stay tuned boys and girls for I have gotten a hold of Kim Kardashians radiologist and we will be posting x rays of my balloons for my blog in August to finally settle this argument once and for all. But as for now, my lips are sealed.
JJ: Who are your photography inspirations?
JM: Contrary to popular belief, David LaChapelle is not one them. I think he is a great photographer and he does amazing work. My biggest inspiration, the artists that turned me onto photography to begin with, are the French photographic duo Pierre et Gilles. I always felt that beyond the razzle dazzle and sparkle of their work, they were very courageous and ahead of their time in pushing homo-erotic art boundaries. If you have not seen their work, do yourself a favor and seek them out. Let me repeat myself….SEEK THEM OUT!
JJ: Why do you often shoot edible men with edible food on edible parts. Why so many reference to food in your images?
JM: For me its a southern characteristic, If your from the south and your momma loves you know she is gonna feed you right. So I guess when I see a beautiful man with a beautiful big round butt my mind always go to that place of love. (laughs) In fact sometimes when I see a guy with a huge ass or cock I think to myself… I wonder what flavor would that be? For me there isn’t just one flavor, there are assortments of flavors strawberry, banana and peach, all so different yet all so good. All of this runs through my mind, besides aren’t these foods essential in getting your vitamins/minerals for proper brain and eye support.
JJ: Why do you constantly like to fuck with our minds with the images you give us?
JM: I feel like the mind is a terrible thing to waste. I feel like we have so many people allowing there minds to rot in this modern world. If my images do not provoke thought, interest or a little off left field they would just fall flat and I won’t want anything to do with them, why bother? Don’t we always tend to like more the story that leaves us wondering at the end?
JJ: If you could have a dinner party with any three people dead or alive who would it be and why?
JM: Salvador Dali, Amy Winehouse and Joan of Arc. I think this trio would make for an amazing cocktail hour to say the least, It would make for extremely enthralling emotion conversations with intense and skewed views on perception. Understanding and being misunderstood I can see being a ongoing topic at this dinner party. All three of them I believe were very misunderstood. Amy has was defined by her addiction but nobody every discussed the root of her behavior? Joan of Arc was a powerful woman that possessed characteristics such as bravery and courageousness and I would want to know where such strength came from. As for Dali, I just see his mind as being so fucked up because the images he produced are furthest from any rational thinking.
JJ: Do you ever feel like your in a rutt? what you do to keep yourself out of it?
JM: I love to surround myself with young creative people. I guess you could say I am forty going on fifteen. I think keeping a young mind is always vital to keeping ideas fresh. Yes, just like everyone, I find myself in that rutty hum drum place. However, it does not stick with me very long. It just doesn’t feel right. I wish I knew how to explain it better but I simply do not dwell on being counter productive. With as busy as I am, I cannot even make time to be in a rutt. (laughs)
JJ: Who was or is the love of your life?
JM: I actually have two. Sorry guys, I know you think you are THE ONE, but its actually my niece and nephew, amazing children the ages two and five. When I am with them, time stands still and I get to enjoy the fun and quiet of life. We all get to be kids together! The love from them is unconditional, pure, and innocent. Nothing compares. Those kids keep me in a place of sanity.
JJ: What are the changes you have seen in photography since you began?
JM: I am glad you asked this question. It is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Photography is a French term that literally means painting with light. I had an old teacher that told me, “If you do not know anything about lighting, you are not a true photographer.” These words really stuck with me. Look at all the old iconic images that stand the test of time. The masters from way back knew how to see light and turn that light into a feeling. Picking up a new Canon 7-D and putting it on auto does not make you a photographer. Do you think that is really being true to your art form? I may sound harsh, but I believe we are living in a era where people are under skilled, underpaid, and regurgitating out mediocre images, all while calling themselves artists. If we are to hold onto the true meaning of photography, we all owe it to ourselves and future generations to come to do our best in maintaining its integrity. So please, all of you new aspiring photographers, if you never listen to a word I say please listen to this, GO TO SCHOOL AND LEARN YOUR CRAFT! It prepares you for real life experience such as handling strong critics. As an artist, you open yourself up to so much criticism.
JJ: What are we to expect from your work in the future?
JM: I am doing an (hand signals quotation marks) end-of-the-world twelve month calendar for 2012 titled “Rock Bottom.” It is a collection of my favorite slutty boy images. I am also producing and starring in a new promotional video called “Bitch Ass Workout” guaranteed to burst your bubble. In order to have an amazing fat ass like all the model boys found in Monroe-land, it would benefit you to purchase volume 1 , 2 and 3. I also am currently finishing up the long awaited sequel to Down The Rabbit Hole with a technicolor, in your face, extravaganza coffee table book titled, “Play Things.”
JJ: What kind of Legacy would you like to leave behind?
JM: I would love for people to be using my images when I am dead and gone. I want to have my images syndicated for my niece and nephew to generate revenue for them. As far as the legacy goes, I would love to be remembered as the artist who really marched to the beat of his own drum and was not afraid to take chances when it came to the work I produced.
JJ: Lastly, what is your favorite quote of all time?
JM: “Go hard or go home. Fitting”…right?