Thaniel Ion Lee's photography is potent. As a documentation of his own body, it has an immediate visceral and emotional weight that doesn't hold back. He states in his artist's statement, "I feel that it is of the utmost importance that we (artist/art world) document as many different body types as we can, in as many different ways as we can."
When I first saw his work at the Wooster Collective, it was like a punch in the gut. The variety that I so wanted to infuse into SiouxWIRE suddenly looked a little flat. It's so easy to be fall into rhythms and thus, the obvious remedy was to contact Thaniel.
Thaniel is also a writer and painter as well as a photographer with a unique perspective on our beauty-obsessed culture and I feel privileged to have been able to speak with him.
At what point did ‘art’ become something you wanted to pursue? And why did you choose art over sociology and has your interest in sociology lingered?
My interested in sociology is a consistent thing. It has continued and I read up on the subject a lot. Social subjects in general interest me. I’ve always been interested in the Situationists.
Seeing some of your earlier paintings, they seem much more optimistic and bright with a lot of strong colour compared to the photographic work you’ve done. Is this significant in any way?
This is more down to working style though I like to argue that even my optimistic paintings are actually darker under the surface; I haven’t painted in a long time. My early paintings were inspired by German expressionist painters and Chagall oddly enough.