The gritty lens and the art of Kevin R Kauer

He’s awfully cute, isn’t he?

Sweet and seemingly quiet, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this creative man in various fun shows, bars and places quietly holding his camera in hand, simply watching for the next moment to make magic. Small in stature but big in quiet quirky personality, so many people in Seattle (and hopefully beyond) have been privy to his art, which, I think, is fucking genius.

Shooting the faces of so many performance personalities in Seattle, Kevin and his camera are planted in the middle of a strange cornucopia of boytoy gay disco parties, glitter queens, punk rock babies and everything in between.

His photography seems to capture an aliveness and the grittiness of the strange and vibrant culture here in Seattle (particularly capitol hill). Seeing as we’re Facebook friends (and end up in the same social fun) I often get to see his work that he posts for us all to see. His shots of his muse, Stella Rose, are particularly fun and haunting:

A few months ago, I received a strange request for my mouth. A dancer, hearing that both mine and Ben DeLaCreme’s mouths were particularly pouty and emotive, bribed us with a bottle of wine and undying love (yes, that’s all it takes) to blow smoke in each other’s mouths like we were passing on the secret of life. Luckily for us, Kevin was our photographer, making sure that our lung cancer was accurately documented in sexy, noir fashion. I was super pleased with the photo, especially since Kevin’s photoshop skills are divine:

You can often find him at the Fringe parties at the Eagle surrounded by his equally gorgeous and glittery, gritty friends. I also think you should check him out behind the camera or spinning at his DJ post!

Let’s learn about Kevin the Nark’s C.U.N.T (creativity, uniqueness, nerve, talent) in a simple little questionnaire I asked him to do for me:

1. How long have you been in your field?

I’ve started doing photography in high school, under a really great and inspiring teacher. Some people pick up math, or literature, but for me photography was the first thing that I really felt good and natural at. I shot here and there, but I didn’t really focus on it and start working professionally until this year when I moved to Seattle, and found such a great outlet for it.

2. What inspires you?

People. I have some artists I like or follow, but generally I avoid knowledge of other artists because I don’t want to be emulative, two of my favorite photographers are David LaChapelle and Joel Peter Witkin, who are COMPLETE opposites. All my inspiration comes from the people around me, the amazing people they are and the brilliant, creative and productive souls that they are. Without all these wonderful people around me I wouldn’t be doing any of the things I currently am!

3. What would your best friend say about you?

Stella Rose: “Kevin Kauer smells like he looks which is kind of flowery. Sometimes I like him more than my own cat. Sometimes his piercings get caught in my weave but I take it as a compliment.”

4. What is your best quality when you work?

Time and effort. I am very meticulous and I pour my heart and soul into all the work I do, this may make me slower than a lot of photographers but it is very important to me that anything I do meets my standards, and it creates and shows my personal style and aesthetic, as opposed to just a typical snap. This means I am constantly working on photos, it seems like it never ends! But it makes what I do stand out greatly from other people’s work, and I can be proud that each photo I do is it’s own piece of artwork and represents me.

5. Name a person that’s on your top 10 list of performers/artists in your field that you adore

Well, if you look at my catalog of work, it’s obviously that I adore miss Stella Rose to no end, not only is she an amazing and impeccable creator and performer, but she is also the sweetest, most genuine and wonderful person I know. My other favorite performers I’ve seen are Lady Rizo (New York) and Ben Delacreme.

6. Do you have a process in creating your act/art? Care to share it with us?

I have a sort of formula down, but it is just technical babble and button pushing, the secret in creating my art is the amazing and incredible people I photograph, the real process and secrets lay in their hands, how they are so brilliant I have no idea!!

7. What do you love to see in film? What’s your least favorite thing?

I love to see color, concept, attention to detail and a consistent individuality. I hate seeing photos of flip flops on the beach

8. Do you collect anything?

I have a terrible sense of smell so naturally I like to collect scents (perfumes, oils, etc). If I could collect irony I would.

9. What is your favorite thing/person to work with?

I love creating textures, so ridiculous props, paints, liquids, makeup and so on, and I love the people that are willing to let me combine them with said props, either by sitting in it, covering them in it, or making them spit/vomit it.

10. If you could be in any one publication in the world, what would you pick?

That’s a tough one.. It’s my dream to do high-fashion photography, but something that allows a lot of personal creativity as well, maybe something like Zink Magazine.

11. Any hidden talents?

Opening jars and chain-smoking.

12. What is your ideal day?

Editing photos, making posters, conceptualizing, planning/scheduling, researching music and taking more photos (filled with many many spouts of a.d.d. and being unproductive).

13. What do you do to unwind?

Two words: GOLDEN. GIRLS.

14. What’s your favorite photography moment so far?

The best feeling moment I’ve had taking photos, was watching Blake Karamazov through the lens while she fiendishly shoveled rhinestones into her mouth for our first Fringe poster.

15. What’s next on deck for you? When’s your next showing?

The next project is a photoshoot with the Sinner Saint Burlesque, and continually planning and throwing Fringe. I have more shoots lined up in the new year, publishing a book with Angel Ceballos as well as additional parties and I plan on doing a lot more studio work which I am really excited about!

16. What’s your favorite article of clothing?

Any scarf I can wrap up my whole face in and my slowly growing bow-tie collection.

17. If you had to pick a song that defines your mood today, what would it be?

The Sonics – Have Love Will Travel

For more on this lovely human, check out his site: http://www.killustrate.net/

Thanks for your cunt, Kevin!

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