Kyle Thompson has made a name for himself with his surrealist self-portraits. Thompson puts himself in harm's way for the sake of his art, but his risks have paid off. His work demonstrates the technique and skills of an artist far beyond his years. He even manages to make suburban Illinois look awesome - now that's talent. Check out our interview with Mr. Thompson below.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
"I draw most of my concepts out beforehand and try to pre-plan as much as possible. It seems like the more I plan, the more the final photo will look like it does in my head. Sometimes I'll just make something up on the spot and it ends up looking really interesting, but that is certainly not the norm."
Do you enjoy setting people's heads on fire?
"Haha! I guess I do, it is one of those reccurring themes in my photos."
What inspires you?
"Music, emotions, anything happening in my life, and other art. I try to get inspired by everything. I rarely remember my dreams, but I've taken photos based on dreams a few times. I like to make my images seem dream-like either way though."
How much time do you spend setting up an average shoot?
"Planning usually takes an hour or two. Shooting usually takes an hour or so as well, and another hour or two to edit. I pretty much always do the entire photo process in the same day."
How do you select the models for each photograph? Do you look for a special relationship between a model and the scene you want to capture?
"A lot of my work is self portraits, and the rest are usually friends or other photographers. I try to make an image that I think fits with them, even if its just something simple using scenery that goes along with what they're wearing."
What is your dream location?
"A ghost town! Maybe Pripyat in Ukraine. I went to a really touristy ghost town in Chile, but always wanted to go to an actual abandoned town or city. I'd love to shoot with a bunch of models in Pripyat some day."
How have you grown artistically?
"I think my concepts haven't changed much, but my technical level has improved dramatically. A year ago I didn't really even know how to use my camera, and I've been learning so much by shooting every day."
What are your dreams for the future?
"I want to make a movie some day. I actually have it all planned out, I'm just waiting until I have more experience and more money. I'm also thinking about making a music video sometime soon, I think I could make something interesting."