StreyKatt aka Bobby Collins, is an artist, born in New York, USA, and is based in Berlin, Germany. Using analogue photography, as his main medium, since 2007, along with video, and prosaic writing, his self-taught education in and experience with the medium, stems from having worked alongside high-end fashion, entertainment and advertising photographers, during the 1990’s onwards.
Tell us about your work, the style you shoot and what you get out of taking the photographs you do?
Thanks for that question. Well.. my work (projects) are fairly random. With so many things to observe in life, I like to produce a few that relate to my mood at any given time. I also enjoy collaborations and the ideas and concepts that come with them.
From that, after finishing the editing and post production, I really love publishing and sharing the work/project with friends and strangers and with the public to get a sense of what people feel from an expression I’ve made and presented. It doesn’t matter what the thought is as this would not discourage me from showing it. I’m not seeking affirmation (from an audience), rather, just a reaction. I am however, seeking affirmation from publishers/magazines/curators/etc… hahaha… mainly so that I can share my work with an audience.
You were born in NY and lived in Manhattan in the mid 90s but now reside in Berlin, both amazing cities, how do they differ for you, how did Berlin become your permanent home?
Berlin now (well, becoming less so) has civil liberties that NYC once had and were greatly appreciated by other’s not from NYC and were taken for granted by those from the city area. Since those liberties exponentially dissipated throughout the decade of the 90s and into the first couple of years into the 2000s til present. I think that civil liberties had to find a new home, and Berlin (re)accepted them +/- with open arms, and I kind of followed that to Berlin.
Considering that civil liberties are one of the most important freedoms to have in a community or place of residence, as it allows us to enjoy our innate expressiveness in and throughout our lives, one can also be at liberty to freely and expressively create project that comes to mind. Berlin does miss a couple of things that NYC has, such as bagels, NYC style pizza slices and the NYC attitude, but I can say that NYC misses döner, würst, and the Berliner attitude. Very nice to not have everything in one place for complacency sake.
You were working in creative fields, fashion and entertainment throughout the 90’s, any stories or experiences that stuck with you?
Having everything paid for for a job/booking, is one experience that has fondly ‘stuck’ with me. Being booked for a job overseas, and not having to pay for anything en route, i.e.door to door car service, flights, accommodation, food etc., and then getting paid a ridiculous amount of money for my ‘work’. One advertising job I did as a hair stylist, for a cosmetic company, was to use a water bottle and a rat tail comb for making the model’s hair look as if it had had a ‘straight out of the shower look’.
So for having created droplets, pooling at the ends of some hair piecings, so elegantly haphazardly framing her face, this task was considered valuable enough to sustain a booking fee of $2000 per day, for five days. While I was doing this job, cramped on a small set with the model, I clearly remember facetiously trying to calculate, how much each stroke and squirt was worth. This led me to thinking, what is the value of this whole thing to my intelligence. I was not growing creatively anymore.It was the beginning of the end for being a hair stylist, despite the income and this good move has stuck with me.
What are you shooting with, how do you go about getting your distinctive style?
It’s nice to know that someone thinks I have a ‘distinctive’ style. amidst the homogenized world of photography and art. … thank you! I shoot with either a Canon f1 or a Nikon f3 or a medium format, of which, all are analogue and mostly used with a prime lens. Film types vary with each project.
Also, some years ago, I was remembering a lecture I attended at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague aka Umprum, where the guest speaker, artist Simon Periton emphasized that ‘any thing can be an art subject ‘and how not to be afraid to elaborate on it. Something like what Duchamp once previously expressed. And so, I liked this way of thinking and practice this with most of my projects. I also use a (kind of secret self devised) formula for producing a series. In the end, I just use all that I know about the idea of art and the practical aspects of photography, along with my own ideas of what something should look like as an image, and work with the final result(s).
For people who haven’t been to NY or Berlin is there any insider info you can give us, love to go spots etc?
NYC is not a place I frequent anymore, so I’m out of the loop with that. As for Berlin, well, my scene is not one I would readily recommend to anyone outside of it. But, there are plenty of places, for anyone, to happen upon in Xberg (Keutzberg) when walking around. Xberg is my most liked area in Berlin, so I suggest going to Xberg for a nice time and as a good intro to Berlin.
What have you got planned for 2020?
I’m afraid that my reply to this will be fairly boring. As I’ve spent the past couple of years developing one specific body of work, it is my plan to edit this and organize a way to present it, either in an exhibition or in a book, or both.Also, I’m in search of a work/live-in studio where I can print my own images, produce some sellable items to sustain costs for new projects and to work even more on other things, such as prosaic tales and short films & video editing. Any suggestions with a ‘studio’ space are greatly appreciated!
Where can we find you online?
I think that any search engine works well under Streykatt, but for a more direct find, go to www.streykatt.com.
I have no IG nor FB, just my website when it comes to presenting my work.