A Preview of Nick Sethi's First New York Gallery Show
Nick Sethi is an artist who makes selfies of himself and also appropriates other people's smart-phone self-portraits from the deep corners of the web. Because we thoroughly believe in Nick's vision, you'll find a wealth of his selfies in VICE today, including his hot new fashion story titled "Nick Selfie," as well as his photos from that Hollister on Broadway. This shitstorm of selfies was engineered to coincide with Nick's first solo show at a New York gallery. Crossing the line between public and private, the work will be available both as a self-published zine and as large individual photographs printed on aluminum.
VICE: Why do you take so many selfies?
Nick Sethi: Selfies are a good way for me to take photos with my iPhone and stay creative and have fun anywhere I go. Also, photographing myself lets me comment on how I personally experience any situation. I don't think photography can really be objective, so I try to make it as subjective as possible.
How did you become interested in tanning-booth selfies?
I went to a gym down the street from my house, and they had a special on tanning. I definitely don't need it, but I figured, why not? I took this pic, and I was so stoked with the way it came out. Most of my sexy selfies are inspired by girls' Instagrams, so I needed to see what they were doing with it.
The whole process of tanning is really insane: You lie or stand naked in a tiny, enclosed capsule surrounded by blue tube lighting and mirrors. It's loud as fuck. It's pretty much a radiation chamber in there, so taking your phone in to shoot photos for Instagram requires extra dedication to the selfie game.
All the images in the show are appropriated, correct? What kinds of places did you find them?
In order to find the photos in the show, I had to download and sort through about 10,000 naked selfies. I had to go deep into the internet. I looked through Tumblrs, some personal blogs, and collections of porn. I'm actually allergic to metal, and I sat at my metal desk for so long to pull images that both my arms were fully broken out. It was pretty weird.
The tanning photos are the first in a series of works based on of found photos sourced from the internet. In the process of downloading and categorizing the images for this show, I came across hundreds of trends and connections that exist in the selfie world, and I'm going to keep producing work that revolves around my interpretation of these trends.
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY Vol 1 opens tonight at Ed. Varie in New York's East Village.