Erik Madigan Heck may best be summed up as a romantic conceptualist whos work falls in between the worlds of fashion, fine-art, and mixed media. At such a young age, Heck has an amazing line up of clients including BMW Europe, Neiman Marcus, Eres, TIME magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Newsweek, Wired, Joyce Hong Kong, A Magazine, Dossier Journal, amongst many others. His fashion clients include Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann, Giambattista Valli, Kenzo, Mary Katrantzou, and The Row.
Earning his MFA in Photography and Film Related Studies from Parsons School of Design in New York in 2009- where he currently lives and works. Heck is a continuing guest lecturer in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at The School of Visual Arts in New York, and is the creative director of the semi-annual art journal Nomenus Quarterly
And in 2011 Erik Madigan Heck was awarded both the Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 Award, and the PDN 30 Award, and was also nominated for the prestigious ICP Infinity award in the applied fashion category. Heck is also a past National Scholastic Gold Medal recipient.
Yep. A creative genius, some might say. So, when given the opportunity to interview Erik, well, need I say more….
AnyOneGirl: Tell us about how you ended up where you are today doing what you are doing.
Erik Madigan Heck: I’ve followed my dream since I was 14, and haven’t strayed…. I work around the clock on creating work, and just really want to create beautiful images all the time. I’m very one track minded in many ways…
AOG: You graduated from Parsons, NY in 2009 with a MFA in Photography and Film. Any mentors/teachers that you would like to acknowledge?
EMH: Arnold Klein, a graduate professor from Parsons.
AOG: As a working photographer do you feel that it is essential to be able to work in still, photographic images as well as moving film image?
EMH: No, absolutely not. Motion picture film and still photography are totally separate things. They have nothing in common whatsoever, and anyone who tells you they do is lying. They are totally different mediums, and the expectation of “fashion photographers” to use moving imaging just creates a lot of really bad short fashion films being made.
AOG: When does a job require moving image?
EMH: I don’t think it ever requires it, I think its a conscious decision of the artist to use motion picture. However, it seems to be a trendy thing right now to use video in fashion.
AOG: You could say moving image is a newer concept in the fashion industry. What are some examples of this done very well in your opinion?
EMH: There are very very few examples of good “fashion film”, for the most part its quite awful. However, I did recently see one short piece online that was incredible. The film made for LVMH featuring Mos Def, who is reading Mohammad Ali quotations on a boxing ring. It’s called “The Word”. Fantastic art direction, and music design- and especially interesting for a company like LVMH. I was very happy to see them create this.
AOG: You work with some of the worlds best fashion designers; Ann D, The Row, Kenzo, etc, How do you feel about the fashion industry today?
EMH: Today I think were in a waiting period, for the next movement to emerge. I do work with some incredible designers, some of my favorite working today- but I am also waiting for the next designer to show and blow everyone out of the water- with the same energy and new vision that Ann Demeulemeester emerged with in the 1980s. I think fashion right now is in limbo, with a lot of younger designers that aren’t especially interesting, and a lot of great designers who are stuck in their old ways ….
AOG: How important is fashion/styling in your work?
EMH: Not especially important. The fashion isn’t the focus necessarily.
AOG: Who are the people that inspire you?
EMH: My mom and Dad, my friends, Matthew Herbert, Burial, Edourd Vuillard, Tacita Dean, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer…
AOG: Your portfolio website states that you work in mixed media. Can you tell us about some of your favorite practices? Any examples of work you have done in the past?
EMH: I like to photograph things, then paint over the images on canvas. I also like splicing together different films on super 8mm.
AOG: Digital or film?
EMH: Both, but I prefer film
AOG: Thoughts on photoshop/post editing?
EMH: I think photoshop can be used in great ways, but it all depends on how its being used. Im definitely not opposed to using it, I don’t think there exists a valid argument against it’s existence anymore. We all acknowledge there is no such thing as “pure” photography.
AOG: What do you think about the use of internet in today’s society?
EMH: The internet is a dream- its the only reason we’re even communicating right now. Its the primary reason people know my work exists. Im a child of the internet, and Im very proud to say that.
AOG: And how does the internet affect your own work?
EMH: I publish most of my work online first, so I use the internet always as a tool to help broadcast it…. I enjoy its immediacy. And love that you can reach so many people across the globe in seconds.
AOG: Do you feel it is essential for all artists to exist online?
EMH: It’s essential for artists if they want their work seen outside of the confines of a gallery.
AOG: Any websites/blogs you read often that are worth talking about?
EMH: Im bad with blogs…. if anything, I look at Boomkat.com for daily record releases and weird experimental music… not so much for photography or art- I still prefer bookstores (ironically after praising the internet).
AOG: Tell us about how Nomenus Quarterly came about for you?
EMH: I wanted to create a space that existed online that wasn’t a blog, and wasn’t just a fashion site. A curated place for art that I was looking at, alongside my own art, and a place for fashion and art to really co-exist. Keep in mind I started it in 2006, believe it or not there weren’t that many places online for those two things to co-habitate six years ago…. that whole movement is still relatively new (nowness.com, etc came later)….
AOG: For those who are not familiar with your publication- what is Nomenus Quarterly?
EMH: I consider it my online journal, of art that Im creating, and enjoying. Its like a look inside my head twice a year, on what is inspiring to me, and how Im creating new work, what Im thinking about, etc.
AOG: Can you tell us about issue #13 “The Privilege of Living”.
EMH: The title comes from a book I found in an old bookstore in San Francisco. I think its such a lovely title- you never think about life as a privilege- you just are alive. But to think about it in terms of privilege changes your perspective I think. The first part is ‘Flora’ which is a small book of watercolors and photos I made for my grandmother Audrey, who passed away this past year. Then it moves into a series I had been working on for quite sometime about the Troubles in Belfast….Then it has the new Mary Katrantzou photographs, and travel photos from India when I was there earlier in the year… so its kind of a summation of the first part of my 2012… its also the first issue that has only my work in it.
AOG: What do you hope for Nomenus Quarterly in the next few years?
EMH: I hope to continue it… Im becoming more and more busy, which leaves less time for creating the publication.
AOG: What are your thoughts on internet vs print? What do you think the future holds for them both?
EMH: Print will be here forever, its not going anywhere. As will the internet. I think they’re both great, for differing reasons.
AOG: Having been elected various prestigious awards, you were most recently the winner of the Forbes Magazine 30 and under 30 Award. What did this mean to you?
EMH: Im not sure, I don’t really dwell on awards so much… Its kind of a detached process, because you never meet the people nominating you, and you don’t really know why exactly you’re being nominated. So its obviously flattering, but at the same time a little confusing.
AOG: What does New York mean to you?
EMH: Its a place I have to be for my work. I enjoy it, but Id rather live elsewhere in 5 years. Somewhere with more greenery, and sunshine.
AOG: Tell us about your Seven Film Works exhibition coming up in Soho, NY.
EMH: Its the first time Im showing these films in public… they’re projected onto the windows of this new space in Soho, so you can see them equally well from the street and inside the gallery. Im really excited for random passerby’s to see them from the street at night, and ponder what they are.
AOG: Anything else coming up that you’re excited about?
EMH: Too many things….
Erik Madigan Heck and The Avant/Garde Diaries will open their new exhibit next week; SEVEN FILM WORKS – (Seven Short Film Installations On Glass). Taking place at The Avant/Garde Diaries project space in SoHo on Wednesday, September 5th. We will have an exclusive round up of the show here on AnyOneGirl. x
Images throughout are film stills from Erik Madigan heck and The Avant/Garde Diaries SEVEN FILM WORKS – (Seven Short Film Installations on Glass).
See Erik Madigan Heck’s work here