THERE IS PROBABLY NOTHING MORE IMPRESSIVE IN OUR MODERN DAY LIFE THAN WALKING DOWN THE STREETS OF CITIES SUCH A NEW YORK. WANDERING THROUGH THAT IMMENSE FOREST OF MAN-BUILT STRUCTURES THAT REACH FAR INTO THE SKY, SOME OF THEM EVEN DISAPPEARING IN LOW HANGING CLOUDS. THE FEELING OF BEING DWARFED BY ALL THAT ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY. AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE HIDING IN THOSE SKYSCRAPERS, BEHIND THOSE COUNTLESS WINDOWS. THE SENSATION OF BEING WATCHED.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind those numerous windows surrounding you while walking the streets of a city like New York? Those tall towers looking down on you with countless glass eyes, mirrored windows that all have their own secrets to hide. Have you ever wondered what the people living and working in those sky scrapers see when they look out of their windows. Down on the street where thousands pass every day, going about their business and lives, not knowing they are being watched. It's a dazzling idea, the fact so many people are packed together in a small space, looking at but not seeing each other.
John Clum was born in 1953 in Lyons, NY, the son of two Pentecostal ministers. At the age of 16 he left the loving but strict supervision of his family and moved into a commune in Boston where he opened himself to many different religious believes and alternative lifestyles. In 1990, at the age of 37, John embarked on a journey of self discovery as an artist, finally letting his creativity out that due to his childhood circumstances not earlier could emerge. John's first creative outlet was the creation of stained glass windows, followed by formal studies in studio art under artist, printmaker, and painter Linda Sokolowski, the late artist and sculptor Charles Eldred, and artists and painters Don DeMauro and David Shapiro. Currently John Clum lives with Alan, his partner since 36 years, in Pennsylvania where they own a 31 acre estate named Table Rock refuge in the Endless Mountains Refuge, where John has found the space and freedom to work without intrusion and where he surrounds himself with the natural beauty he loves so much. But that doesn't mean John is not intrigued by the manmade charm of the big city.
In February 2015 John Clum came to New York City to see Dave Letterman before he retired. Though obviously not his first time in New York, John was once again awed by the impressive glamor of New York's many sky scraper buildings and wandering though Manhattan his creative juices started to flow. Looking up at those magnificent structures, and looking down from his hotel room on East 32nd Street, John started to wonder: The idea of what we pass every day in our comings and goings without noticing. What is there to be seen but not seen. Being on the 6th floor he felt there was so much to see out the window, but he realized no one was seeing it. And vice versa. The 6th floor is high but not that high that one could feel completely private and hidden without taking the risk someone from the street could look up and see him. Inspired by the contrast of erotic poses against the buildings of New York, John contacted Rick, a model he knew for his exhibitionism and immortalized a vision of to see and – maybe - be seen. A secret glance in ones private affairs, looking down onto the streets where so many people pass by, innocent and unaware of what is going on 6 floors above them. –BM-
JOHN CLUM | BEAUTIFULMAG
RICK | BEAUTIFULMAG