“Exposure to light is magic. Whether it’s a roll of film or a roll of packing tape, both are pretty boring brown strips without the transformation through light, right?” Our latest Lomo Amigo Max Zorn is a dedicated analogue artist who hits the streets and makes art out of brown tape. Armed with a La Sardina he covered his daily life for a couple of months. Read on, it’s an interesting guy with an interesting story.
Tell the community a little bit about yourself! What funny things do you do in regular life and is it the same thing you make your money with?
If I had a card it would probably say something like street artist, or that guy with tape. Both are true but, who would put that on a card?
As a street artist I don´t work with spray cans or stencils, but with brown packing tape to create my art. The stuff you seal moving boxes with. Once I finish a piece I hang it on street lamps around the world. That’s how tape and street art come together. It’s hard to explain, better to just show it to you. Feel welcome to watch one of my “making of” videos
Creating my art is a full time job for me, and has its ups and downs. I spend most of the day taping on windows, but I also travel a lot, and run around at night finding street lamps to hang up my artwork. I plan projects, prepare exhibitions, and hang out with a lot of crazy people/ Drinking beer is also part of the job.
Do I make money with my art? Well, it’s enough to cover supplies, and a six-pack beer once in a while.
How long have you been a Lomographer and how could you describe your vision upon Lomography?
I slid into Lomography. Honestly, I´m a horrible photographer. People often assume that a visual artist has a certain eye for good compositions in general. It´s not true. All the photos I expected to turn out great were crap, whereas the ones I didn’t expect to work were a pick. My talent lies more in cutting tape, but I keep trying. It´s fun.
Your regular ‘tape work’ is 100% analogue, how do you see the link to analogue photography and your work?
Both are trial and error experiences. My artwork comes with the advantage that I can peel off parts I don´t like. The camera on the other hand, allows me to catch a moment immediate and pure. It´s a fascinating challenge: trying to capture the best of moments. I try something similar to my art – only that it takes me much longer. And in both cases, the exposure to light is magic. I mean, whether it’s a roll of film or a roll of packing tape, both are pretty boring brown strips without the transformation through light, right?
How does an average day of Max look like?
On a good day I get up and the sun is shining, so I create a small tape, book a ticket to the next destination, drink a coffee on the roof terrace, have friends over, go back to work on my window, while everybody else is partying in my kitchen. About 7 hours later I go to the kitchen for a beer, thinking I’ll get back to work in a bit. Well you know how that goes… so I´m dragged with the crowd to a bar… and the rest of the night is a foggy memory.
On a not so good day I wake up with a bad hangover, stemming from one of the good days, drink three coffees, but still move my ass to the window and start taping. It takes me forever, and two hours later I still haven´t found my rhythm. That’s usually when I start freaking out because there are about 75 emails I haven´t responded to, 10 artworks I haven´t finished, and I realize that I’ve spent way too much money the night before and the sun is already setting.
What about your name – Max Zorn? What’s the story?
Well my passport says Max Zorn – Max sticks a bit better. Anonymity works in many ways I guess.
How did you like shooting with the La Sardina camera and what did your friends and fans think about your analogue adventure?
I was constantly asked what this crazy thing was that I carried around. I said an analogue camera, thinking that people knew what that meant. But I guess in times of smart phones and digital cameras, words like “analogue” and things like the La Sardina cause a little confusion. It was like walking a weird dog: a fun experience, and also a fun way to get into a conversation with someone.
What was the strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest Lomographic encounter since you started shooting with the La Sardina?
I tried to swim with the camera in a rooftop pool in Hong Kong so I could take photos of the skyline. Bad idea, but it survived. I also tried to open 8 beers with it in London. And in Madrid the La Sardina fell a few meters down from a lamp post, and I followed three seconds later. We both survived that, too. Try that with a digital.
If your photo selection should have a soundtrack, what would it be? (3 songs title & artists please)
- Don´t stop me now (Queen)
- Street Life (Randy Crawford)
- Let´s stick together (Bob Dylan)
What else is on the agenda for you? Anything you are looking forward to you would like to share?
I´m just back from the States where I saw Shepard Fairey and other great street artist in action. That was another inspiring boost, and I guess as long as there are city lights around I have enough work to do. The plan is to find a good balance between my street art projects like Stick Together (www.sticktogether.maxzorn.com) and indoor exhibitions like my upcoming show in Paris which allows me to create large and complex artworks.
What is your advice for future Lomographers?
Don’t think twice and just shoot. It´s like Christmas, you never know what you get and that’s what makes it exciting when you pick up your developed photos. Even the photos that didn´t turn out well will send you back into time and bring back memories of the moments you shot them. The learning curve is a bit longer, but taking your time for something is quite a rare adventure nowadays.
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