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Growing up in L.A. — Rock Photography and Photographing Michael Jackson — Feeling Split Between Commercial Work and Art — The Colonized Mind — Finding Balance Between Mind and Body — Make Rules Break Rules
Hosted by Lindsay Preston Zappas
Todd Gray joins Lindsay for an hour long conversation surrounding his work and the influences that life experiences have had on his approach to thinking and making. Gray’s meticulous photographs are framed and then stacked on top of eachother, so certain areas are strategically concealed. Some of his works contain images of Michael Jackson among his other subjects of European gardens and scenes shot in Africa. As a teen, Gray started taking photos at rock concerts, and for a stint became a successful music photographer, working with The Rolling Stones, and doing album art for Jackson Five, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder. He later became Michael Jackson’s personal photographer, and amassed a huge archive of images. Alongside all this, Gray received his MFA from CalArts in 1989 where he studied under photographer Allan Sekula and focused primarily ideas of mental colonialism. These ideas first started around his well-known subject, Michael Jackson, until Gray realized that his own mind had been colonized by his western upbringing and education. Todd and I talk about the split between a western logical thinking, and a more African bodily and intuitive way of thinking—and how much of his practice is an effort to reconcile the two.
Gray’s exhibition, Euclidean Gris Gris, is on view at Pomona College Museum of Art through May 17, 2019.