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Artist Decoded: Exploring Sex & Death with Photographer Michael Donovan

Artist Decoded is a weekly podcast series created by emerging creative director and fashion photographer Yoshino: "I started this series as a means for exploration, an exploration of self and an exploration of the perspectives of other artists. This series is an unabridged documentation of conversations between artists."

In Episode 3, Yoshino interviews Michael Donovan - a prolific multi-disciplined creative visionary born in Spokane, WA. Donovan uses photography, video and a podcast to communicate his interests in the "Two Great Bookends of Life," (sex and death).

I was immediately drawn in by the candor and eccentricity of this conversation between two visionaries I respect. Amidst (and partly due to) a flurry of commentary on tits and ass, a lot of things Donovan had to say resonated with me.

On the transition from New York to Los Angeles (26:15):

Fuck the articles...It's not about the articles [saying L.A. is the next fashion hub]. It's about the one-on-one connections. It's about the challenge. Like, who's challenging us? Is it the New York Times and the L.A. Times challenging us? Or is it a billionaire challenging us? Or is it the industries challenging us? Or is it the artist-on-artist? Where it's like, I really dig your can I help you? How can I support you and lift you up?

On what it means to be an auteur (30:54):

"To be an auteur means there's a weakness that I have and part of the weakness that I have is that I can't necessarily get along with everybody and play their games...I've got this vision and I'm stuck on it. It's like a thorn. Helmut Newton has a thorn in him...Irving Penn had a thorn...I've got this fuckin thing and I'm seeing it. I'm seeing how to have fun and have jokes and play and then do serious things and topical things and bring something new to the industries. But how do you monetize that?....Most of all it's being open and finding good people."

Listen to the full episode over at