For the Culture issue 2022, ‘The Artist’s Way’, T photographed and interviewed 34 artists from different disciplines to give a glimpse into how creative people live and work. Rather than focusing on grandiose gestures, the idea was to instead emphasize the seemingly mundane activities that some of our greatest artists either incorporate into their creative processes — or pursue to clear their minds and let them wander. “I’ve told our photographers that this song is about personal, internal moments,” said Nadia Vellam, T’s photography and video director. “I wanted the portraits to be cinematic and voyeuristic, focusing on someone in a moment of personal expression or contemplation.” Collectively, the images provide insight into the subjects’ daily routines: choreographer Raja Feather Kelly waiting for the F-train, conceptual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija cooking pillow Thai and actor Ethan Hawke walking his dogs (“They behaved incredibly well” , Vellam notes).
“People were excited to share this intimate side of themselves,” said Carter Love, T’s senior photography editor. He points to actress Katerina Tannenbaum, who recently appeared as Carrie Bradshaw’s bohemian neighbor in the “Sex and the City” revival “And Just Like That …” and can be seen in this issue in a dance studio. “She seemed excited to be able to show people something they didn’t know about her,” Love says.
The logistics of running a problem with so many moving parts is complicated under the best of circumstances, and made even more so during an evolving pandemic. Shooting and interviews began in the summer of 2021 and continued as Omicron levels rose in the winter months in the United States. The usual precautions — handing out PCR tests to subjects, having medical staff on site — were all in place, but everyone was “much more relaxed” than at any other point in the last two years of Covid-19, Love says . Indeed, there was something encouraging about the fact that the biggest manufacturing challenges were not the pandemic, but something even harder to predict or control: the weather. Plans for a shoot with author Louise Erdrich (who appears on one of the six covers of this issue and makes her daily walk to her bookstore in Minneapolis) were shattered after a major snowstorm hit the Midwest. The shoot with Kelly in New York also had to be moved due to snow.
Still, there was an unmistakable sense of having turned a corner. In his interview, Kelly discusses the inspiration he takes from random people he sees on the New York subway, their movements, and the daily vitality of the city — the kinds of things he’s missed over the years but is excited about. to start observing again. A shoot with the playwright (and former T-copy editor) Mona Mansour reunited her with the cast of her play “The Vagrant Trilogy,” which opens this month, for the first time since shelter-in-place-orders entered production. Stop 2020 Someone brought booze, and everyone caught up and shared stories.
It’s impossible to say what the future holds for all of us, but by looking at little moments like these — the type generally missing from most magazine profiles — T was able to capture in remarkable detail how it is to live as an artist today, and the resilience people have had to show to continue their work in a period of unprecedented upheaval.
“All of our daily habits have changed immeasurably in the past two years,” said Kurt Soller, a features director at T who edited many of the pieces in this issue. “But reading together about all these different practices, hobbies and routines makes you feel that there isn’t just one way to be an artist — or even to be a more creative person: just different human attempts to make us a through life and through work, whatever it may look like on the outside.”