You are an artist of many mediums; sculpture, painting and photographs. Which did you start with? How has your style and choice of medium changed?
I started making sculpture, and the questions the work addressed were completely of the same kind as the existential questions I had been asking unknowingly beneath my art historical studies. The questions were essentially just about the place of consciousness in the world. It seems to me that my changing understanding of those questions about the nature of the 'human' and the nature of 'nature', power the changes that my work undergoes. In that sense I feel like the outward changes of medium conceal a deeper continuity. I recently wrote a book on Philip Guston. It looked at the deep symbolism that emerges in his work across the whole of his life, but mainly in relation to his strange, late work. He was also a shape-shifter, as am I. He is well known for having huge changes in style. But while his vehicle changed and evolved, his content was continuous. It is no accident that I was driven to write that book.
How do you pick your models? I've read that they are usually friends, is this true?
They are all people I have dreamed of. That includes friends and enemies.
From what I understand, Claudia Schiffer was asked to pick three artists to do nudes of her for British Harper's Bazaar, and you were one of them. Was it different working with a well-known model rather than a friend?
Yes that's right. I have also dreamed of her. And in some ways her celebrity, indicates that she was in everyone's dreams at the time of her incandescent fame. I use 'dream' here in the way that one can say 'dream girl'. A culture's choice of its models in his way tells us much about the psyche of that culture.
To read the full interview, read the latest issue of Nude + Naked + MORE
Interview by Elenda Mudd