In 2005, I completed film called STASIS. (Still image above) It consisted of 8 minutes of pure, surreal, sci-fi, bio-mechanical, insanity. A simple visual story about a woman resurrected from the dead in a living machine. I built the 2 sets in my living room, over a 3 year period. With the help of a few good friends like David Lea, Chris Fields, George Longo, my brother Jonathan and my girlfriend, now wife, Erica Hite, we made a little piece of something from my mind which was very much inspired by the masterful works of H.R. Giger, and The Matrix. Below, is a black light painting I did in 2000. This painting was the start of STASIS. I love to paint in the dark. To bring light where only darkness was, has some interesting qualities, especially in altered states.
I discovered Giger's work at the age of 10 after my best friend's dad took my friend Mike and I to see ALIENS. My parents would not have taken me because of the R rating. I am eternally grateful to have seen it at that age because it changed my life! By the time I was 14, I was airbrushing mural sized black and white ALIEN stuff. When I hit college, I sculpted my first Alien costume, and even a miniature-working electronic Alien head with a raccoon skull . Looking back, those were sort of bad, but I never really stopped incorporating bio-mechanics and I'm now almost 38 and full-time designer and sculptor. Bringing Giger's work into the 3rd dimension is something that has driven me to spend months on 1 sculpted piece. His death deeply saddened me. One of my goals in life was to visit his Museum in Zurich Switzerland and meet the man.
Many others have inspired me on the way in my life, like Clive Barker, who I actually had the chance to work with. One day in October of 2009, at his house, Clive said to me, "You'll have to come over next time Giger visits." My jaw dropped, then he handed me an Ernst Fuchs book, who I had never heard of before. I literally could not stop looking at that book while he was talking to me. It was like seeing the work of Giger's dad, or estranged father. I still need to give Clive back the book. I've never seen so many amazing books in one place on anything you could think of. Clive's amazing home was like a cabinet of curiosities. Every nook had some interesting sculpture or book... and the paintings, WOW, that man loves to PAINT!
OK, back to STASIS. After I released STASIS, I did the film festival circuit from 2005-2006, won some awards, and ended up at "Slamdance", the alternate to Sundance in Park city Utah in Jan of '06. I made a lot of contacts, new friends, and had some momentum for funding to produce and direct part two! Parties every night, promoting every day, it was a blast.
Pictured above, I was hanging out with Dean Haglund and friends. He was one of the "Lone Gunmen" from X-Files. Great guy!
The whole mentality of Slamdance was great. They promoted a TEAM environment, where you were supposed to help your fellow filmaker and not be competitive with each other. To promote our films we all teamed up to pass out fliers, but were unable to just give them to a passer by. It was illegal unless we spoke to the person and asked first. This was challenging. Luckily, I brought a crazy light up mask of one of my characters. I wore day and night in Park City in my WWII German officers coat. I walked the streets and people just came up to me. I passed out all of my fliers. I saw all kinds of people, even met Nick Nolte in the mask one night heading back to my condo around 2 AM. I think he was a bit drunk and did a double take then said, "The devil does walk the streets here." Nick was all dapper dressed and was a nice guy to this strange kid. I got an add in the newspaper during the week for being such a freak. It was fun and kept my head warm!
However, a month after the Slamdance, my brother Jonathan was in a nearly fatal car crash. He was in a coma for about a month and a half. I dropped everything I was doing and focused on helping him. He fully recovered after 3 major surgeries and a year of PT. I cannot imagine what it was really like for him to go through. We are closer than ever and I thank GOD for his survival. Every day we watched the machines that kept him alive. As morbid as this sounds, I was fascinated by those machines. I've looked at this photo of my brother in intensive care many times and marveled at the at the REAL bio-mechanical symbiosis happening here.
I learned some valuable life lessons from that time. Above we stand together, strong in October 2010. I'm the short, bald one. However, by the time I got back to STASIS 2, things were cold in terms of my contacts, but I didn't care. In 2008-2009, I picked it back up and began working on the storyboards and set pieces. Then I met and partnered with Brock DeShane and we started talking about a feature or episodic animated series. With his contacts and my work, we started generating more interest in a newly titled project called PLASMA. Three years went by and it just was not quite working. Perhaps because we lived states away from each other, or we just had different visions. I don't know, but it sort of fell apart and I called it quits on PLASMA in 2012. I was done with trying to do another stop-motion film and threw myself into doing gallery pieces. The theme in almost all of my lit sculptural pieces come from the story I want to tell in stop-motion. On the back burner of all of these years since 2005, I have been creating bio-mechanical character puppet sculpts and set pieces in my spare time and updating my equipment. At this point, we have 7 puppets, 3 sets, a high-end Canon camera, editing programs, new computer, motorized slider, lights, camera lenses and most important of all, people interested in working on it with me. All we need at this point are materials to cast the puppets in, armatures for the puppets, a few more props, 2-3 more sets, maybe an 1100 square foot warehouse, some help animating and VESSEL might actually happen! If we can pull it off, I want to dedicate it to H.R. Giger. This man has inspired me more than anyone living or dead. Let me be clear that I am not doing this because I want to make money. NO, I am doing this because I want to share something that has been playing in my head for over 10 years now. The part of my soul that resonates with Giger's work won't seem to rest until I do it.