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Kelly Michael Charles Lind has always been driven, creative and successful, whether he's running a stripping service, designing websites or roller blading. His true niche, however, is shooting striking, intriguing and beautiful photographs. We talked to him about his past, present and process.
Eros Guide: Where are you from? When did you start making art? What kind of art was it? How long have you lived in LA?
Kelly Lind: I'm FROM Reseda, home of the Karate Kid, a trailer trash ghetto in the porn capitol of the world, the San Fernando Valley. I've lived all over Southern California all my life, but have recently settled down in Downtown Los Angeles. I live with my girlfriend in a loft above a toy retailer, homeless people sleep outside my window, and the smell of urine echoes throughout the neighborhood. Some call it Skid Row, I call it home. I don't know how comfortable I am using the word "art", but I've been making purty pictures for about 6 months now. I've always been a creative sort of fellow. I started out at the age of 4 as an actor and model doing national commercials, voice over work, Macy's catalogs, and tons of student films. I was a pro skater for about 10 years, traveling around the country doing exhibitions and teaching people to skate. After all that nonsense I decided to work behind the camera. First I was a videographer, making mostly story driven erotica, not unlike a music video. Now I've settled on photography.
Sez G: You maintain a lot of websites. Do you do all your own design and coding?
Kelly Lind: I do it all. I'm a bit of a control freak so I gotta have my hands in everything. If I don't know how to do it I'll read about it and a week later I'll be an armchair expert. I enjoy web design. But I despise being tied to a computer so I have to pick my happy ass off the chair sometimes and do something with my hands besides pound away at a keyboard. That's where photography comes in. In fact I've become so smitten with it that I decided to hire a full time employee to handle most of my website duties. I also have a part time code monkey that handles all the super advanced interweb stuff.
Sez G: Is there a particular mood or attitude you try to convey? What process do you go through to create your "characters?"
Kelly Lind: Wow, that's a tough one. I'm going to sound like an idiot here but I shoot what's in front of me. I think I have a good eye for recognizing odd talent in models and everyday people and I just try to capitalize on it. I want to capture what is unique about the person but at the same time I want to SHOW them another side of themselves they never knew was there. There are definite statements that I hope to make with my work. One being, sex is fun. Although I love dark erotica, and I'm certainly guilty of creating a good amount of it myself, I also enjoy working with bright colors. I think they convey an almost innocent and fun sense of freedom towards sexuality. I was most definitely a sheltered child growing up. My moms taught me that sex was dirty so I've taken it upon myself to shed some light on the subject. I fuck with the lights on, I experiment, it's playtime for adults. So are my images.
I fuck with the lights on, I experiment, it's playtime for adults. So are my images.
Sez G: Where do you find inspiration?
Kelly Lind: The beautifully tragic. The smallest bit of innocence in an otherwise dark and downward heart. Every time I stroll my block I'm confronted by strange creatures, missing limbs, hungry families, desperate sinners. Some speak to themselves, but what they really do is speak to me. I see hope in them because they're still alive to ask me for change. That same lust for life is what inspires me to create. That and my girlfriend is a knockout.
Sez G: Where do you find your models? How well do you know them?
Kelly Lind: Mostly FROM the interweb. Some I have gotten to know quite well, others I would never care to meet again.
Sez G: On one of your sites your work is termed "porn for the next generation?" Do you think there's a difference between erotica and porn?
Kelly Lind: There is most definitely a difference in people's minds between porn and erotica. Personally I follow what good old Webster says, any material intended mainly to be sexually arousing is called porn. A lot of the girls I shoot would never want to consider themselves to be a pawn in the game of porn. But that's exactly what they are. And you know what, who cares? What's so bad about saying you enjoy getting people off. Yes its art as well and that all fine and good but I want to create something that arouses not just the mind but the body as well.
I want to create something that arouses not just the mind but the body as well.
Sez G: Were you really a pimp? For how long? How did you find the experience? Does it influence the photographs you now shoot?
Kelly Lind: Yes and no. Or rather, my lawyer says No and I say Yes! The truth is I owned and operated a small outcall stripping service when I was 19. It lasted all of a year. It was insanely profitable as well as pleasurable. I absolutely reveled in the experience. I was a white boy driving the streets of Los Angeles in a new BMW with a stripper by my side and a gun tucked under my belt, blasting 2Pac as if I really knew what he was saying. It was bliss. But all good things must come to an end. One of my girls broke INTO my house and stole a large amount of cash, I totaled my BMW, my mom died, I broke up with my girlfriend at the time, and I got committed to a mental hospital all in the span of a week. When I got out, declared legally sane again, I decided that the fast life wasn't worth the damage done.
Sez G: What else drives you?
Kelly Lind: I'm proud to say that I'm the only confirmed straightedge pornographer to walk the earth. My girlfriend is a fashion model FROM New York, gorgeous as hell, smart as fuck, and she makes me melt. I'm aroused by women crying. Some say physical pain is sexy, but emotional pain is sexier.
You can view more of his work at www.kellylind.com.
Kelly Michael Charles Lind - by Sez G.