March 17, 2009

Interview with Fantastic Homo publisher Christopher Schulz of PINUPS Magazine

Part of a new bread of Magazine producing Homos coming out of the wonderfully gay city of NYC, artist Christopher Schulz has taken the art form to a new level with his fantastically erotic yet oddly non pornographic magazine PINUPS. This magazine, which contains no words except the title, is a nod to the vintage styled pin up magazines that were produced back when things were a little less complicated in the world. Before lazer hair removal, botox, ab supplements and microderm abrasion became lunchtime events and turned us into a bunch of neurotic self obsessed boys. Now don't get us wrong, we love beauty in all of its forms, and there is something to be said for that perfectly primped and manicured style of man that makes us all a little week in the knees. In this magazine, however, you will never find anyone that falls into the "Adonis" styled category, and frankly, we love it. 

This amazing little magazine, which features one, sometimes two (if your lucky) delicious and yummy men, is a series of photos, as well as a surprise that, when we discovered it, made us wet our tighty blueies. Wait for it....wait for it....ok, so the magazine, when carefully unstapled and unfolded, opens up to reveal a full sized, larger than life, pin up poster of the model or models featured in the magazine. Lay them out flat, match up the edges, and pin that shit up. Ta da... you now have a full sized deliciously naked man on your wall. If your fold-challenged, see the web site for a yummy set of instructions, naked man included. 

What Christopher Schulz is attempting to do here is to strip us back down to reality and remove some of that pretentiousness that can be so caustic and destructive within our little Homo community. All of his models are real, raw and uninhibited, completely comfortable with themselves and their bodies that they were born with. There is no plucking, smoothing, tweezing or combing that happens pre shoot over at PINUPS, there isn't even a fluffer (although we keep applying for the job, he keeps ignoring our request). The models are simply comfortable with themselves and beautiful as they are, and it shows in the photos that come out. He is showing us that beauty doesn't come from perfection, but rather the millions of imperfections that make us who we are, and god, if thats what imperfect looks like, I will take 3 please. 

We recently had the chance to interview our fantastic beary publisher about the magazine and himself, and heres what he had to say: 

 § So,where did you grow up, and do you think that your experiences as a child had an influence on your work now?

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. I've always been fond of printed matter. As a kid I made mix tapes just so I could design the J-cards. My family has always been very encouraging of my involvement in art and I ended up going to an arts high school and later to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I dabbled in lighting design, printmaking, and designed objects. Obviously much of this has influenced my work—moreso my process, not so much the content.

§  Do you think of yourself as gay and do you identify with any sort of gay subculture group, such as the “bear” or “leather” communities?

I am gay and I do identify as gay. I'm not into leather and I've never understood why it's so closely linked with Bear culture. Bearish men tend to like leather I suppose? Personally I'm attracted to big bellied, full-faced hairy men so naturally I find many Bearish men attractive. I don't cling to the terminology very much (although I jokingly dish out some nomenclature like "I gotta go wash my paws—hahaha!") but I certainly don't get hung up on splitting hairs. For instance, Pinups isn't about Bears per se but I've over heard guys arguing over whether the models are Bears or Cubs. I don't know why it's so important to some. I'm pretty sure there isn't a rule book.

§  What do you think of gay culture as it exists in New York right now?

There are many gay cultures in New York and it's easy to fall into a bubble, which is proably a good thing and a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

§  Are you a home body or are you more of a social butterfly, like hanging out in pubs and bars, shows, movies, events and things, out in parks and walking around?

I'm a home body more and more which is sort of ironic since I've become more of a party promoter through doing launch parties. When I set out to do Pinups I had no idea I'd be planning parties.

§  Do you own a TV and if so, do you have cable?

I own a TV and a DVD player so that I can watch movies. The only time I watch TV networks is when I'm on a plane or at a friend's place. I love Rupaul's new show Drag Race—it's such a farce! I hate most TV though. I don't even get basic TV.

§  What is in your pockets right now....and no thats not a dirty question....ok maybe it is?

The same three things I don't leave home without: keys, wallet and phone. Oh, and some change. Man I hate change.

§  Have you slept with any of the models for your magazine, are they friends of yours….?

All of the models are friends of mine and I share a history with a few of them but I've never used the magazine to sleep with any of them. It's important to remain professional during the shoot because I want the models to be as comfortable as possible. The magazine really isn't about sex so it doesn't come up during the shoots.

§  How did you start up the magazine, do you have prior experience with publishing or did you go to school for anything involving the publishing of a magazine?

I made a few zines when I was in high school. That was my only experience. When I tried to start up Pinups I really struggled because I had no money and it was difficult to get in touch with printers to figure out cost and production. I looked around for about a year before I decided to make it the old fashioned way. The first year the magazine was printed using Xerox. Now I have the magazine printed offset on a sheetfed press.

§  Are you a very sexual person?

Depends on who I'm with.

§  Do you believe in marriage and forever?

I don't believe in either but I do believe in happiness and that it can be attained without marriage or the notion of forever.

§  What’s the weirdest or dirtiest thing someone has ever said to you?

Someone really wanted me to beat him up during sex. He kept asking me to punch him in the face. That was weird. It really turned me off.

§  Do you like porn?

As far as the industry stuff, I like some vintage porn. Apart from that I like ameture porn (unless it's taken with a computer camera or phone—yuck).

§  How would you describe your magazine to someone who has never seen or heard of it before?

I'm faced with this challenge daily! Pinups is a triannual publication that features nude male models. There are no words—just an exaggeration of the classic centerfold. The magazine exists in book form but can be taken apart and tiled to reveal a life-size image.

§  Do you like ice cream?

NO! I HATE milk. To me drinking milk is like drinking blood since it's body fluid. When I eat ice cream I taste milk. I love sorbet though.

§  Are there any music artists right now that move, effect or inspire you with your work or do you get your inspiration from other sources?

Generally I'm very inspired by the aesthetics of past decades, particularly the 60s and 70s because I associate that era with creative freedom. From Fassbinder and the New German Cinema to The B-52's and my favorite magazine, After Dark, and 70s porn; they all exhibit a sense of creative freedom that is uncompromising and non-commercial. Today everything is a commercial. Films are made with numerous alternate endings, so called independent musicians all sounds like U2, most magazines are glossy and filled with ads and ubiquitous fashion spreads. Whenever I see something that goes against the grain I get excited. On a separate note, I am a devout Seth Rogen fan!

And we thought we loved him before the interview, now its a full on crush. He just launched the latest issue 08 on Saturday, Jan. 24 at Printed Matter (195 Tenth Avenue, NYC) from 5-7pm with an after party at Nowhere Bar (322 E 14th Street, NYC) at 10pm, which we so wish we could have attended. Leave your tweezers and hairspray at home HOMO. Check out the web site for info on the next issue, which we will be unpatiently awaiting, some fun instructions on how to operate your fold out magazine for ultimate view pleasure, and some special editions available only on line. 

Check out some special out-takes below from Issue 07 that are a BLEW Magazine exclusive, thanks to the lovely Christopher Schulz. 

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