Michael Walrond was showing some images that he was working on to his friend when that friend suggested something he never really thought of before.
It was a question that the San Diego-based artist never pondered on too much before, but he gave it a try. Soon after, he would be creating digitally manipulated images with photos that he’d taken himself.
Yet another friend gave him the idea that would define his career as a photographer. That friend suggested that he uses film photography in his work. What follows was a series of experimentation that gave his photos the looks that they have today.
Now, photography is his main medium. He’s interested in doing even more experimentation with this almost forgotten relic of the past. As an example of this experimentation, early on in the lockdown, he was looking for ways to still create while stuck at home without access to a studio. He did so by collaborating with another artist through video calls. He thought, “how can I make this look like a normal photoshoot while I’m only looking at a computer screen?”
He did that through a feature of film photography: film grain size. The grains of the images are so big that it’s difficult to tell that this was a pixelated computer image. Or maybe these are actually a pixelated computer image that we were made to think are just big grains?
That’s another thing about his photos. You’re never quite sure what you’re looking at. There’s a dreamlike quality that can evoke different feelings depending on who you are. Per his own words, his goal is to “mindfuck” you. He wants you to question what exactly it is that you’re looking at and analyze who you are.
Another reason why his images are the way they are is also because of the subjects of the photos themselves. Most of his subjects were nude women. He said he wanted to take the most common subject in the art world, the nude woman, and do something different with them. He didn’t want them to be sexualized and objectified the way they've always been depicted in art. He’s framed them in such an atypical way it’s hard to grasp exactly who they are, let alone ponder on their sexuality.
So what’s next for Michael? He’s got an upcoming solo exhibition with Artgence where he would be showcasing some of the works he’s done over the years. Other than that, he’s working on a book featuring Black people. As a Black artist himself, the recent going-on with the Black Lives Matter movement hits close to home. He received criticism for not being so vocal about it on social media, but he thinks social media shouldn’t be the metrics of his activism. He’s an artist, so what he creates is art. “This is my way of saying something about it.”
Check out Michael’s solo exhibition on January 13, 2021. You can view more of Michael’s works on his Instagram https://www.instagram.com/shdwsofdust/