Today we’ll talk to Shad, a 41 years old photographer whose work will haunt you on your dreams. He’s been awarded several times and it only takes a quick look at his images to understand why.
Shad, gm! From doctor to photographer passing through having your own tattoo studio and exotic animals! Phew, that’s some background! Please tell us a bit about you and how you became the Shad we know today.
Gm! Even though I graduated from medical academy and have been working as a doctor ever since, I was always searching – I was curious, I wanted to use my imagination, I wanted to test myself. I was the guitarist of a death metal band for a long time, at the same time I had a crocodile, snakes, spiders, scorpions and other such pets at home. Later my band split up and I started trying my hand at motorcycle racing, but after a serious injury on the race track I stopped racing. Only then I switched to photography – and in this field I found what I had been looking for many years. It was a difficult path, but I’m glad I went through it, it made me who I am today. I still work as a doctor, but only one day a week, photography has become my main profession.
Do you paint the models yourself or do you have someone doing it for you?
I prefer to have as few people involved in the shoot as possible and I like to do everything myself. There were exceptions at first, but in recent years I always paint the models myself.
What drove you to the dark side of art?
I never thought about what kind of photographs I should create, it came naturally – it’s a reflection of my personality in art. I’m the kind of guy who rarely socializes, prefers to live alone, hates parties and is usually in a gloomy mood – you can see it in my photographs.
Are you a religious person? Do you believe in the existence of the beings you depict?
Definitely not, I’m not religious. But I believe in the existence of who I create, to me they are not just images, they are my real demons.
How long does it take you to complete a single piece? What’s your process on the body painting photos?
First, some time is spent thinking about the character and preparing sketches. Then I find a model and coordinate the details – sometimes it’s a long and complicated process. Body painting takes up to 7 hours, then 30-60 minutes to set up the light and from 1 to 3 hours for the shoot itself. It takes me from 1 to 4 weeks to process one photograph with body painting.
What was your inspiration for Under the Black Sun?
I didn’t have a specific source of inspiration, I find it everywhere – in music, in paintings, in the works of various photographers, in movies, in nature. But primarily my demons come from within.
The Under the Black Sun series was awarded over 60 times. Did you expect that kind of recognition?
I was just doing what I loved, I started getting my first awards pretty quickly and it was an unexpected dream come true for me.
Which award are you most proud of?
I submitted my photographs to the WPE Awards twice and both times I won first place. The first time I submitted only one photograph and when the announcer at the ceremony called my name it was something incredible for me. The second time I submitted 7 photographs and they all won various awards, including first place.
What’s your earliest memory related to art?
I live in a city that has many great art museums and since I was a kid, I have visited them often.
When you’re depleted of inspiration, what drives you to keep going?
I don’t force myself to create photographs when I have no inspiration, it will affect the result and for me quality is more important than quantity. I take some time off and get back to work when I feel I’m ready.
How do you think NFTs are changing the way we experience art?
NFT space creates opportunities. For authors, it is an opportunity to become a full-time artist and live a life doing what they love. For collectors – the opportunity to see the works of authors from all over the world without leaving home. For everyone – the opportunity to make new friends.
What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?
To see my photographs in museums, of course! I want to convey to people images that I can feel.
Incredible work Shad! Thank you for sharing a bit of your history and process with us!