A Conversation With Tyler Shields
Author: Eric Newill
We have been a big fan of edgy L.A.-based photog Tyler Shields ever since we began to spy his in-your-face portraits of naughty nymphets and lusty Lotharios provocatively positioned on hipster websites. In the first issue of Vault—our sister site with its own award-winning magazine—published last year, we ran a lengthy piece on Tyler and highlighted some of his iconic images (http://www.vaultmagazine.com/fashion/tyler-shields-photographs-young-hollywood/). Now, as we prepare for issue number two, we wanted to check back in with the globetrotting artist, who recently launched an exhibition of his new “Chromatic” photos at London’s Imitate Modern (http://imitatemodern.com). The show runs through March 23rd. He has also wrapped his first feature, “Final Girl,” starring Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Alexander Ludwig and his girlfriend, Francesca Eastwood, with whom he appeared on the E! reality series “Mrs. Eastwood & Company,” and is finalizing his first coffee-table book, “The Dirty Side of Glamour,” to be published in November by It Books. Here, Tyler speaks with In Season With Barton G. about his latest provocations.
IN SEASON: You’ve been extremely busy since last year’s Vault profile. What are you most excited about now?
TYLER SHIELDS: The last year has been about building up to my gallery show at the end of April. ‘Suspense,’ the new series I am showing [at Beverly Hills’ Guy Hepner Gallery] will have been 53 weeks in the making, and I can’t wait for it to come out. After that “The Dirty Side of Glamour” comes out and my first film, “Final Girl.”
IN SEASON: How did the inspiration for ‘Chromatic’ come about, and how did you recruit the cast?
TYLER SHIELDS: I wanted to shoot extreme color and I had no idea how it was going to affect people. When we did the first shoot I called up Connor Paolo and his girlfriend, Adelaide Kane, and we blasted them with powder. Once Connor showed the photo to the ”Revenge” cast everyone wanted to do it. Beth Whitson was one of the models in the series, and her hair got so destroyed during the shoot it took three weeks to fix it.
IN SEASON: What was the shoot itself like?
TYLER SHIELDS: Chaos. It was like a party where everyone was dancing and playing and then they would stop. I would reset them and they’d go all over again. Way too much fun.
IN SEASON: What will audiences be most shocked by in “Final Girl”?
TYLER SHIELDS: The performances are incredible, but Abigail Breslin gets intense in this movie. She learned to fight and she did some serious work for it. Minds will be blown.
IN SEASON: What most inspires you?
TYLER SHIELDS: I love to create. It’s just something I have to do. I can’t stop pushing myself.
IN SEASON: What makes L.A. a fertile creative environment?
TYLER SHIELDS: You can do anything: snow in one hour, the beach in 30 minutes. The weather is perfect, and then there’s In-N-Out Burger. What more do you need?
IN SEASON: Do you observe any taboos at all?
TYLER SHIELDS: I suppose I break the law a lot. That’s a grey area….
IN SEASON: Whom would you most like to work with?
TYLER SHIELDS: Harrison Ford. Give us a preview of your new series, ‘Suspense,’ and your upcoming book. ‘Suspense’ is the series I am most proud of, and I think the best I have ever done. And the book is something I have been working on for five years.
IN SEASON: How would you prepare for the end of the world?
TYLER SHIELDS: Who says I am not?