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Pam Van Damned

Our roving reporter Rez travelled to Manchester this week for an interview with Pam Van Damned, the visual artist who is exhibiting this weekend. If you’re into anything from KISS to Beth Ditto, fashion and incredible photography check it out.

Rez: Who is Pam Van-Damned?
PVD: If this was a filmed interview I would have done my Xena Warrior Princess battle cry to answer that question, because that’s all you need  to know. Let’s see: I’m a photographer, a dreamer, a member of Tranarchy (Manchester based art and performance collective), a movie fanatic, a lover, a singer and a bit of a show-off too, I guess. I shoot mostly music and fashion, but tend to work with whoever I’m interested in and a fan of, whether that’s musicians, movie stars or my friends. I love simple portrait photography, just the subject in front of me, however they are, wherever they are and with no overblown madness in between.

My main love is photography, but I love a lot. A real lot. I’m kinda obsessive and wild about things, but I think it’s a good way to be. It means I get to own four different copies of Robocop because each copy is slightly different in some way, and it also means that I can watch them on repeat for days and not think anything of it.

Rez:What got you started?
PVD: EVERYTHING. I was studying fashion at college when I first realised that I wasn’t really interested in designing outfits any longer. My tutor, Annette, was one of the coolest women that I’ve ever met and she gave me a lot of confidence in realising that I could be a nerd about music and cinema, because she was too. I didn’t really have anyone else to talk to about films that I’d seen, and what had inspired me about them. So I decided to take my love of imagery and styling away from design and onto what I do now. I always think about why I went down that yellow brick road, as it was never really a decision, it just happened, and it’s still happening.
It’s just a natural progression, I think. And as for the music photography; I used my teen gypsy charms to sneak into a couple of shows with a cheap camera and that was it, I fell in love with everything. I feel real lucky to have worked with some of my absolute heroes over the years, and most of them are truly BAD-ASS. They say to never meet your heroes but I disagree. Meet all of them.

Pam Van DamnedRez:What would be your dream job?
PVD: I can give you a list. I’m a Gemini, man. I jump dream jobs like no-ones business, and I’m always wanting to do something ridiculous and extreme. It’s never just something simple or even the photography, because I’m already doing that. I’ve always wanted to be a stunt woman, maybe in the 70’s or 80’s, smashing muscle cars through things and racing fast boys in faster cars. Or I’d like to crush stuff in monster trucks. I’d also love to choose what songs to put over particular scenes in movies, I always do that in my room. I put Chopper on mute and play Metallica ‘Kill ‘Em All’ over it, to see which bits fit in. I guess that’s a job for some people, right?
Or I’d like to be a magician in a tacky Vegas show, with really elaborate sets and costumes. And fire. Or James Franco’s joint roller for when he’s too stoned to roll for himself, that would be a good job.

Rez: If anyone asked you for advice on becoming a visual artist what would you say?
PVD: Creating something everlasting like a photograph is a feeling that you just cannot match. If you take a picture and you wanna scream about it because you can’t believe that you captured a moment in time that simply can’t ever be duplicated, then you are good to go.
If you take a picture and put it online before even looking at it properly yourself, then you need to maybe think again.
It’s tough to live these days and you can’t do much for free, or that much with money either, but if you’ve got a camera or a pencil or a notebook, you can create a whole world not only for other people, but for yourself. It’s the same with any kind of visual arts, you have to be passionate and fun and kinda crazy. I know that sounds super fuckin’ cheesy, but it’s true. Art is here to help us express ourselves against the heaviness of life, so don’t be boring about it. Shoot the world to bits.

Rez:When and where is the exhibition taking place, and what can people expect?
PVD: In all honesty, I’m just hoping it ends up like Heavy Metal Parking Lot! It’s gonna be very different to the usual kind of photography exhibition as my producers (Two Little Birds) are so much fun to work with. We are keeping a DIY aspect to the show, and I hope that people enjoy the atmosphere. The launch is on the 3rd of May from 7:30PM at 2022 NQ, Dale Street, Manchester and it runs until the 7th. I’m gonna be showing a whole bunch of my work so expect to see some KISS, Lene Lovich, Arthur Brown, The Mars Volta, Amanda Palmer, Lydia Lunch, Crystal Castles, Patrick Wolf, Saul Williams, Beth Ditto, Andrew W.K and more… but I’m keeping my big mouth shut about the rest.

More info:  Pam Van Damned Visuals Facebook  //  City of the Damned Exhibition 3rd-7th May 2013

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Posted in art, fashion, music, Pam Van Damned, visual arts

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