There is something wonderful about things that have an undertone of grossness to them. Not physically dirty, but grotesque; somewhat uncomfortable to look at. I’ve always felt that way. As a child, my favorite playground activity was digging up worms I could find under the mulch and crosshatching them like the latticework of a pie. If blame is the right word, I blame my family. My upbringing was full of gross comedy. At the dinner table, my father would make sales pitches for our dog’s copious drool as both maple syrup and hair gel, while my brother’s party trick du-jour was to snort a ramen noodle up his nose and pull the other end out of his mouth, like he was flossing his brain. When I was around 7, my sister and her then-boyfriend nicknamed me “cabbage and farts.” It might not have been destiny, but there was definitely some force pushing me toward the perverse.
As I grow older, my love for the comically detestable is nurtured and inspired by the work of artists like Maurizio Cattelan, directors like Luis Bunuel and John Waters, and drag queens like Katya Zamolodchikova. With their collective works in mind, the finest aspect of the repulsive is how it reveals and then shatters the unrealistic expectation of a world full of prudence and harmony. That’s not what real life is. I saw a girl throw up into her coat collar at 5pm the other day.
In my own pet project of gross, I love to take close up photos of food that show detail in such a weird way that I end up with the anti-Instagram stylized food pic. Maybe I’m alluding to the reality that it all ends up the same once digested. Maybe I just thought of that as I’m writing this very sentence. For your viewing pleasure, I present the hunchback of Notre Dame’s in my photo stream.