November 13, 2015

Opening of Norman Reedus' Photography Exhibition in LA

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles.
Last night was the opening reception for Norman Reedus' photography exhibition at Voila! Studio in Los Angeles. I am a big Norman Reedus fan, and couldn't pass the opportunity to see his work in person. I had seen some of his photography work in the past online, but I'd never quite gotten the full idea of what it is he aims to accomplish with that medium. I was curious what the exhibition would reveal of the man who somehow manages to live an extremely public life, and yet remain a mystery.

Most people know Reedus from his role as Daryl Dixon on the Walking Dead. In fact it could be argued that Dixon is the show's most beloved character. There are t-shirts that say "If Daryl dies we riot" (referring to The Walking Dead's penchant for killing off its lead characters), and Reedus has been gifted so much dedicated fan art that he has even recently released a book, titled Thanks For All the Niceness, featuring some of the most amazing pieces.

Line to get into Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles.

Due to his immense popularity on The Walking Dead I expected the turnout at his exhibition to be quite impressive. I was right - at the shows official opening time the line to get in stretched all the way down La Brea Ave., as far as the eye could see. I wondered how aware they all were of Reedus' artistic pursuits beyond acting, or if they were there just to support the man they love so much on TV. Or if the answers to those questions even mattered.

Norman Reedus modeling Prada
For me, personally, what I find most intriguing about Reedus is that it is almost impossible to define him as an artist. He seems to be in a constant state of personal evolution. Back in the day Reedus used to model for companies such as Gap and Prada, then he picked up acting, and then somewhere in the mix he took up photography and has even directed three short films. I believe that type of constant artistic growth requires a lot of guts. To be well revered in one field and to be willing to branch out as a newcomer and try something completely different, that can be extremely scary. So I give Reedus a lot of respect for prioritizing his own personal growth and desire to share his perspective, despite the constant typecasting and defining sales tactics so prevalent in the entertainment industry.

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles.So, were all the people at the exhibition big art fanatics? Plain and simply - no. I overheard a very nice gallery employee trying to explain to a somewhat confused couple who had never been to an art show before how to take it all in. She suggested that they just walk around and discuss the pieces with the other attendees. You know what? I thought that was really awesome. To have your work affect someone in a new way is the goal of any artist - and here Reedus had succeeded in drawing in people from all walks of life. Some people who had never even stepped foot in a gallery before. That's pretty amazing. So whether people came as fans of Reedus' artistic work outside of acting, or simply because they love him so much on the Walking Dead - it didn't matter.

Furthermore, the exhibition was simply a lot of fun. Everyone I saw at the show was having a great time. The photos were quite eclectic, and left a little something for everyone to enjoy despite their reason for coming. 

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles. Hershel, Actor Scott Wilson.The artsy-fartsy folks debated with curiosity the thought process in some of Norman's darker and more playfully grotesque pieces, and The Walking Dead fans reminisced over the images which exploited Norman's unique working environment on film sets. Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles. Death by gummy bears.

Norman Reedus photography exhibition in Los Angeles. Girl in curlers.And for all those curious of who Norman really is in this eclectic anomaly... I think the answer lies in some of his more subtle pieces. There was a sweet photo of his son which seemed one of the most serious of the collection, and another of a girl in curlers - whose twinkled expression and joy seemed to hold all the answers. If only it weren't so fleeting - captured in a single moment - maybe you could know the man on the other side... 

Norman Reedus' exhibition will go until December 31st.

518 N La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036


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