Adrian Crispin grew up in New York and New Jersey. Today he lives and works in Paris. When talking about his work, he says that through his images his obsessions with text, films and art are able to surface. Jamie Zeccola, aka Duke A. Barnstable, a New York-based artist friend of Crispin, characterized his works as follows: “Libertine nights in black and white, / and ghost days in color. Witty, juicy, and straight to the / point.” Voilà.
- *1975, lebt und arbeitet in Paris
- Publications: NYC, “I love it, but I don’t like it,” 2011
“This Land Was Made for You and Me” (Group), Galerie Für Moderne Fotografie, Berlin, 2012
“To me, photography is about observation followed by execution. In that respect, I would compare my early creative attempts to Rubens in my pursuit of the creative process.”“
Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?
I was around five or six years old, I saw a reproduction of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting Daniel in the Lion’s Den. I was so impressed and puzzled by the physical representation of the lions on paper I tried to copy it with a yellow marker at my parent’s kitchen table – to very unsuccessful results.
To me, photography is about observation followed by executions. In that respect, I would compare my early creative attempts to Rubens in my pursuit of the creative process. The desire to photograph came much later: Around age 16, I went with my family to Washington, DC and my father put me in charge of taking pictures. This was a very informal beginning for me.
You were born in Mexico and grew up in New York. Then you moved to Paris – is it possible to see these influences on your work?
Yes, I was born in Mexico City in 1975. My father, an artist and frame maker, was invited to participate in an exhibition in NYC in 1986. He liked the city and its artistic flair. We arrived in Manhattan a year later. I always make a clear distinction when I’m asked where I’m from. My childhood is as Mexican as is my culinary palette. Growing up in NYC, and later New Jersey, informed my cultural background – and it is 100% American.
Later, I got very into French culture, literature, painting, cinema and the language itself. In 2000, I met a French sculptor living in NY. We became a couple and two years later had a daughter who was born in Paris. I have been commuting between the old and new worlds ever since and fully based in Paris for the past four years. My work is a direct reflection of these cultural crossroads.
Where do you find inspiration?
In paintings, films, literature or in extensions of these fields. At the moment, I am obsessed with the work of Bret Easton Ellis and particularly his early novel Less Than Zero and its sequel Imperial Bedrooms. I’m equally obsessed with Paul Schrader’s Light Sleeper and the existential questioning of the main character, John LeTour. The obsessions are digested, come to the surface at some point and end up in my work. But this process can take a long time.
Is there someone who has always believed in you and your work?
This sounds really eccentric, but I have a fundamental belief in always believing in yourself and your own work. That said: Ann-Kathrin Obermeyer always believed in my work and me and supported me.
Okay, last question. Imagine, you’re 16 again – what would you do differently?
I don’t believe in regret. Therefore, I wouldn’t do anything differently. No fears, no regrets. Enjoy life and make the most of it. Try to stay open. I always keep this in the back of my head – and, hopefully, always have my camera with me.