Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interview part 2 with Phoenix Taylor, and more 100 Monkeys

We've intermixed more of our interview with Phoenix, discussing both his approach to his art as well as some of his stories about the band, 100 Monkeys and his time with them. Lets get down to it-- Part 2 of our interview with self described Experimental Photographer Phoenix Taylor

The man himself!

What sort of approach do you take in each shoot? Some of your work looks spontaneous while others are using flashes/strobes.

I am going to have to disagree with you here. I actually always use strobes, never "flashes". Sometimes I aim directly and harshly and other times I bounce off of walls, reflectors and ceilings to give that more natural look and feeling. But... as for my approach, I take on each shoot with a completely different agenda. I am wanting to create a feeling through a single frame of a larger story line. An embodiment so to speak of something much bigger. Some stories are more edgy and fantasy based while others are much more urban and gritty. I try to stay true to the story we are trying to convey. This is why you see such a diversity in my work while still somehow seeing a little bit of 'me'. 

Now this is all true in my "art"... but, sometimes I am just shooting portfolios for models and head shots etc... In those cases I am just trying to create an image that is larger than life. I used to be really big into comic books as a kid. I think I still see a lot of that influence in my work. From composition and perspectives to make up and color usage. Thanks Stan Lee! =)

MODEL- Kali Ann

 Do you prefer a planned shoot with as much available equipment as possible or a more carefree approach (Do you start with a concept or just wing it?)

This is 50/50. I just did a shoot with the glorious MOSH! I had planned out a lot of that shoot and we winged just as much. I get some people that get so panicked when it comes to working with me. They start freaking out because they have never done a shoot and I have not yet told them step by step EVERYTHING that is going to happen and it is a week before the shoot! It cracks me up how some people need such a laid out plan and they have to have that to feel better. But, for me... that has never been true. I love letting the personality of the model, her outfits, the weather and my feelings that day all blend together and then I merely step back and let the shoots become what they want to become. I know that might sound really risky... but, some of my best work all came from complete accidents! 

The raining apples photo that I am so known for, that was planned an hour into the shoot and even then I had NO clue if I was even capable of pulling that off or not!

A quote by Phoenix on this shot, written on his Deviant Art page
"This image is what started my career. I took it with a POINT and SHOOT KODAK EASY SHARE camera while in new york with someone that had liked what i was capable of doing with just a point and shoot."
The infamous Raining Apples shot can be found at Phoenix's Deviant Art page. If you'd like to see even more photo's by Phoenix, check out his stuff there too, as well as facebook and myspace 

Regarding your time again with 100 Monkeys: As all the guys play all the instruments in the band, is there anyone you would consider the “front man”?

I have thought about this several times. It is kind of like the situation with Kelly Rathbone. You almost want to say "she is Jackson Rathbone's sister" but the truth is that she stands very much on her own with her successful art career. With Jackson's success you would easily want to say "Jacksons band" but the truth is, I don't think he would say that. In fact… I am almost sure he would not say that. He diverts attention at every chance he can while also being very thankful for it because of the way that it helps the fellow band members by giving exposure to a much deserving and talented band.

What is your favorite 100 Monkey’s song

I love smoke, but the truth is I got to hear the whole new catalog and I can honestly say, as much as I love their old stuff… the unreleased stuff and going to blow your minds! Oh… and the new version of "Wings on Fire" is simply the hardest song to get out of your head that was ever wrote! 

I’m going to put you on the hotspot here- Do you have a favorite Rathbone sibling!

Ha ha ha… Kelly and I connect on a level that inspires each other to create new art and pursue our careers with a newly found focus! There are very few people that can do that. But, to be honest… Jackson gave me music, Britney is the lil sister that makes me smile all the time! Especially when she does photo shoots to mimic ones that I have done. It is flattering. So… that is just to hard to know. I don't really know Ryann yet. So… who knows.

Today as I write this is Kelly's birthday… so for her birthday and because it is half true, I would say  that I wouldn't want to know what my life looked like without her friendship!

Happy Birthday girl! Do some amazing things up in Montana! Can't wait to see your new gallery!

Just Kelly looking gorgeous. You know, the normal.

What upcoming projects do you have coming up that might be of interest to fans?

I have something very very special I am working on. I am making a book about what it is like being on the road and living the life of artist… especially musicians. We all see the final CD or photo shoot and think "that must be the easiest life ever" but the truth is far form that reality. These guys live their jobs… there is no break, no relationships, no time.. they are doing for the fans and I want to show those fans the commitment that is there from the band and from my perspective of being with them for almost 8 days.

(If you are putting together your book) When can we expect to buy some of your work and where can we purchase it?

I will be sure to update you first and let you expose it to your fan base as well as on

Do you have any stories about 100 Monkeys behind the scenes that you find particularly funny or interesting?

I can tell you that one day Jackson was in my studio with my personal assistant Pepper and I had left the house to go get something and came back about ten minutes later. When I came back Jackson was in this Italian leather chair I have at my desk that is obviously "my throne". I asked him what did he think he was doing in my chair and my assistant blurts out "he sat down in it and said 'now I am your boss you have to listen to me' and persisted on bossing me around". She was smiling at it like it was a big joke. I looked at Jackson and said "look buddy… it is about time you stop trying to be me. I mean, we both have white Scion XB's, we are both very passionate, work so hard with cant have relationships, we both like to boss around Pepper… we both have successful acting careers!" To which we both busted out laughing! Then he decided to add in that the following night I had left the place they were staying at and my assistant went back to get something we had left. When she got back the 100 Monkeys were playing (like the never stop doing) and they had made one of their spontaneous songs all about me! Pepper got to hear it, she never told me… they did not remember it and I never got to hear it! They tell me it was awesome and flattering!

I NEVER GOT TO HEAR MY OWN SONG BY THE 100 MONKEYS… and they rubbed it in my face as to "one up me"!!!! That is what the whole time with them was like… constant jokes, love and music!

and there is one more… almost forgot.

at 4am at Twicon Jackson and I walked the hallways of the hotel and came across a fan that had his images as well as Twilight posters on their door. We took some phone pics of him posing against their door. We thought it would be hilarious to post them and let that fan know "he was right outside of your door and if you had just merely stayed away to hear us laughing as we took the pics you could have opened the door and met Jackson Rathbone"!!!!!!

If you had to describe each of the guys in one word, what would you use?

JAY ACTION- humble
J-RAD- charming
BEN J-  perfectionist
BEN G- quixotic
UNCLE LARRY- "cool beans"

We'd like to take some time soon to highlight some of Kelly's art since you've all seen her beautiful face, so hopefully we can get permission to share pictures of Kelly's amazing work. I think you'll agree very quickly with Phoenix that she's not just "Jackson's sister". She's incredibly talented and intriguing all on her own! Be on the lookout for some fan love to Kelly as well

On to the pics!

Now interestingly enough, I saw one of these floating the web yesterday but with the artist name completely chopped off at the end, so if you see the Black and White of Jackson floating, please remind anyone who posts that it has been edited by removing the artists name-- and that equals not cool! Phoenix has worked and is providing this opportunity FOR US, so lets not steal and copy and cheapen his work, mmk? You want credit for your work, and so does anyone else.

JUST PLEASE remember to credit the artist because it was really saddening and uncool to see that photo posted AND chopped

Ok on to the good stuff! I'll post all 4 of the ones we have for now in one place so don't have to do as much searching

Pictures taken by Phoenix Taylor, courtesy of Two Playgrounds, LLC. 

Pictures taken by Phoenix Taylor, courtesy of Two Playgrounds, LLC.


  1. Thanks to Phoenix for taking the time to answer your questions. Very cool. His shots are incredible! I had linked to the black and white photo at another site but did not crop Phoenix's logo. We speculated that it was indeed his photo but the person who posted it on Twitter must have removed the logo, not sure.

    Anyway, very awesome. Looking forward to an article on Kelly if you can. Her sculptures are very interesting. :) (Ryann actually has some beautiful paintings as well!)

    Again, thanks to you and to Phoenix for sharing this.

  2. I am just amazed at these pics I really am. I gotta admit skepticism but man... WOW!


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