“Creating a book gives you such great purpose. You don’t have to worry about comments or “likes” and you can just tell a story and whatever story you want. It’s amazing freedom.”
Your work continues to push the limits of the art world. Through your artistic journey, you have stayed true to your vision (not always easy in the industry). This type of artistic authenticity seems rarer in today’s digital world of “likes”. Reflecting on your creative journey, what advice would you give to new creatives in the art industry?
Firstly, let me say thank you. As for likes, they are not real. In the grand scheme of it, your legacy is much more important than likes. For me everything is about making work for galleries and books and social media is there for me to show the work I create and not for me to make my work for social media. It is a very dangerous game to play when you chase likes.
Your recent exhibition with Sotheby’s “The Erotic Power of Tyler Shields” was a remarkable success. Was this an iconic moment for you in your career? How did this stellar experience transpire?
The power of Sotheby’s is insane! To be on the wall alongside the greatest artists ever is such an honor. I have worked with Sotheby’s a few times now but this was just something that happened over time, they are simply amazing to deal with so it makes sense why they are the biggest in the world.
You are clearly fearless in your artistic experimentation and that is represented in your work. You have been creating with paint in your recent works. Did this transition into paint feel natural? What inspired you to branch out into unnavigated creative territory?
Yes! To me, it’s all about making whatever you dream of and if that involves paint then so be it. I don’t want to limit my creativity by saying I can only do this or that. I want to make whatever I can think of. I started playing with the paint because of a photo series and then continued with the screen prints. It is certainly something I am going to continue to do.
“We face a moment, where we have to decide will you make the leap, take the risk, trust, or will you stay the safe route. Safe is dangerous because you keep doing what you always think will work until it doesn’t then what do you have? For me I was sitting in bed at 4 am researching old cameras and I came across a Deardorf 8 by 10 and I said do I really need another camera, I mean they all do the same thing (people who say that are wrong) anything that makes you think about the world in a differentiation has a value that can’t be explained or quantified, so for me I started making work in a new way. The detail from this print the color that I got out of it, to me I searched for a long time for this. Sadly I had to blur the nipple on the left of the frame but you get the idea. This is an uncropped in touched 8 by 10 slide sheet of film. It doesn’t get much more fun than this when you create what you imagined. This is a new piece called Paint Brush for my 8 by 10 series. I can’t wait to see the prints of this. What do you chase that you wish you would let go?” -Tyler Shields
Your work has been seen hanging next to the works of Andy Warhol? I have even heard you being coined as the Warhol of this generation. What similarities do you see in yourself and Andy that give this statement justice?
It is wild! One of my collectors has a photo of mine and on the right side is a Warhol and on the left is a Picasso. Obviously, that is an amazing compliment. As for the Warhol comparison, I think that comes from the fact that Warhol did whatever he wanted and made a lot of different works.
“When you have a desire to create it doesn’t matter how you do it. Today I am doing something new, something I have never done before. I have been wanting to do a screen print for a long time. When I painted this I wasn’t sure how it would go over but the response from my friends has been not only encouraging but extremely supportive. This is CAT from my new Pop Art series. It is obviously inspired by Warhol and after Sotheby’s called me the “Warhol of this generation” I thought, why not just do it, why over think it, that old saying live today like it’s your last… This will be an edition of 33 the size is 30 by 30 and it is for sale through @guyhepner info@guyhepner if you are interested in buying one. I am not sure if I will ever make another one of these but I have to say it was a lot of fun.” -Tyler Shields
You have certainly made your mark in Hollywood as a “go to” photographer. You seem to work with some celebrities, like Emma Roberts, quite frequently. Do you have particular muses that you find yourself artistically drawn to more often?
I don’t care about celebrity status, the only talent. Most of the people I work with are friends of mine and people I have worked with numerous times. I really love working with people more than once. It is, however, fun when I meet someone and I can tell they will be big one day and cut to a few years later and they have an Oscar.
You have published multiple books featuring your work. I recently purchased PROVACATEUR which is a compelling collection of almost 500 of your photos. I love how it is diverse in style but at the same time stays true to your unique vision. Was it a challenge compiling this magnitude of pieces for such an immense project? What kept you inspired throughout this lengthy process?
I want to make a 1000 page book sometime soon. Creating a book gives you such a great purpose. You don’t have to worry about comments or “likes” and you can just tell a story and whatever story you want. It’s amazing freedom. I am working on some ideas for the next book as we speak, but I am in no hurry. In the early days, I did so many things so fast and now I want to take my time and do everything the right way.