William Wegman has become one of my heros over the years. He’s most known for his work shooting his first dog, Man Ray. Man Ray was a beautiful Weimaraner and since his passing Wegman has continued to work with various Weimaraners both in the art world as well as the commercial world.
His work extends quite a bit beyond that, beginning with conceptual work in the 1960s which included a series of short conceptual video pieces that are nothing short of brilliant.
I’ve wanted to work with Bill Wegman for years and we’ve traded emails going back to 2011 or so. We were never able to align our schedules. In 2015, I crowdfunded a series of videos for my YouTube channel that would come to be known as The Artist Series. Bill was one of the first photographers I reached out to. He was intrigued with the idea and forwarded his response to his wife/manager Christine Burgin and I knew it would finally happen!
So in February of 2016 I flew to New York to interview Bill followed by Alexey Titarenko the next day.
Bill and his wife own a building in Chelsea where they live and work. I was told it was a pretty special place. The dogs are a huge part of the experience as they occupy about 90% of your attention the whole time you’re there. Its amazing.
I arrived at the house on Thursday morning and we’d set aside the entire day for filming. My assistant Blake and I were greeted at the door and immediately the dogs Flo and Topper made us feel like we were part of the family.
The day was filled with talking about Bill’s entire career including his paintings which he’s much less known for, but they are as brilliant as his other work. He starts with his collection of postcards, placing them on a canvas and then paints in the connections between them. Part surrealist and part Gauguin they’re quite impressive.
Most of our interview was filmed in his painting studio but the building is split into multiple levels. Taking the freight elevator we went down to see his photography studio and in the basement lives the costume shop filled with various props and outfits his dogs have work over the years. We posed Topper as my assistant acted as the human hands.
Bill is a brilliant artist and as I mentioned – one of my heros. We had a great interview and I’m really proud of the video piece I produced. This was definitely a dream come true to get to work with him.