This exclusive interview with iconic male model and artist Marcus Abel was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Miami, Florida October 2010
Interview with Marcus Abel
The standard for male models in some markets has loosened greatly in the past 25 years. Do you think the male image is being well represented today?
I always questioned my role in promoting a physical ideal for men. To this day I will not accept that my modeling images should be a goal for someone to follow or mimic. Of course, to some degree, I'm putting my head in the sand because men have admitted to me that images from those days inspired them towards a look or fashion that they wished to incorporate. I like the idea of stealing rather than copying. Steal a look because in that process you make it your own. Copying, on the other hand, is a more mindless activity that will result in a lifeless veil that lacks a dynamic interaction with an individual’s personality.
Getting back to your question of a standard. I'm more comfortable with the trend towards accepting a wider range of physical types. It gives more men the opportunity to steal! For those that feel a high physical threshold needs to be attained, in order to represent an iconic male standard, I'd say bring on the lively debate with those that seek to broaden the spectrum. I'm all for stealing and debates...
You worked one of the most memorable campaigns for Gianni Versace photographed by Richard Avedon. What are your memories of that job?
What stands out about Avedon was the almost immediate understanding you would have, in your role, for creating the image he wanted. The studio atmosphere was easy, almost casual yet extremely focused. He worked with an 8 X 10 view camera which is the opposite of someone who was using a motor drive 35mm SLR. The view camera is much more deliberate and involved, in its function, which created the understanding, that a shot is to be cherished and not to be wasted. He was very much in control and would place you in his composition then look for you to add details of expression and slight body adjustments. I think all the great photographers have an easy yet powerful command of what they want and how to get the best from everyone on set to accomplish this goal.
You are a talented fine artist today, what brought you to painting?
I made a complete commitment to art almost 12 years ago after a lifetime of orbital proximity to those busy artistically and of a personal curiosity that was too timid and distracted to actually begin the process of artistic engagement. I like painting because it is a solitary activity that has elements of emotional and intellectual exploration that results in the tangible outcome, as flawed as it may be, of a painting.
How do you describe your own personal style?
Wow, personal style? Those that know me would be laughing! Hmmm, I'd say it has something to do with paint splatters as almost every garment I own has caught the remnant of some errant toss of paint...
What do you think of new media? Especially the flood of blogs that are in our view being overhyped for street photography or reporting fashion runway?
If the new fashion media is anything like the non-main stream news media, I'm all for it. I can't imagine a world that only brought us viewpoints like O'Reily and Obermann. Bring on the massive flow of viewpoints even though it might take me longer to sort it out.
The above interview with Marcus Abel 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -