More than just a pretty face, model Paul Hameline is turning his cult film and literature inspirations into art.
On our daily scour of models.com, something sparked our interest, even more than the usual array of unbelievably beautiful people. French model Paul Hameline is an artist when he’s not in front of the camera. The Tomorrow Is Another Day signing has posed in editorials for Man About Town and walked for Xander Zhou, Maison Margiela and Hood by Air.
Hameline’s creativity otherwise takes shape as intriguingly intense collages. Low-res scenes cut with symbols, Hameline’s own scrawl and marker pen blood drips all make for a dark setting. It all runs a little deeper than the usual strange imagery you see on Tumblr, where you can see more of Hameline’s work. We spoke to Hameline about his time modelling, his work and discussed all manner of things, from politics to psychology and near enough everything in between.
What’s it like being a model?
I started modelling more or less at the same time as I graduated from high school. I find it quite interesting in the way that it gives me different angles of perspective of the industry, since I also assist Lotta Volkova Adam from time to time besides modelling. But the greatest thing about it is that it leads me to so many opportunities like travelling and meeting new people.
Alongside modelling, we’ve seen on Tumblr you’re interested in developing your own artwork. Can you tell us what you gain from creating these artistic collages?
It’s a medium which gives me the possibility to express my feelings as well as my beliefs. It also gives me the opportunity to convey my messages.
Where does the inspiration come from?
From an early age, I used to go to flea markets, auction houses, galleries and museums all the time. Soon it wasn’t enough, so I started using Tumblr and Instagram to get my ‘‘daily dose’’ of images, in order to feed my visual appetite. The source of my inspiration really comes from all the images I keep on saving on my laptop, as said previously. But also, all the films I watch (David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Nick Zedd, Richard Kern, Kenneth Anger, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lars Von Trier, Larry Clark), the books I’ve read (Dennis Cooper, George Bataille, Friedrich Nietzsche) and above all, the music I listen too (Coil, Death in June, Psychic TV, Lebanon Hanover, The Sisters of Mercy, Nitzer Ebb, Vår).
What message do want to get across with your personal work?
Sigmund Freuds’ theory of the Id, Ego and Superego, which roughly means that the Id is the unconscious / impulsive part of our psyche, which is repressed by the external real world. The Ego mediates between the unrealistic Id and the society we live in. At last, the Superego’s job is to control the Id’s impulses, mostly the ones that society forbids and it also shows an idealised vision of our person created by family, society and religion, basically our surroundings.
This is pretty much the message I’m willing to transmit with my personal work, criticising the fact that society nowadays makes people repress their true feelings and personalities in order not to be pointed at. They’d rather keep the comfort of being like everyone else instead of stepping out and assuming their true identity.
Is there a reason that some pieces have titles and others are simply ‘untitled’?
Titles like Discipline, Teenager in Action, Hide and Seek, I Blame etc. are titles I found straight away, without any hesitation, nor second thoughts. Just by looking once at them, as soon as they were finished. If I can’t think of any titles while looking at one of my collages once done, I title them Untitled.
You use quite a few religious and political emblems in your work, is there a reason for this?
‘‘Religion is the opium of the masses.’’ says Karl Marx. I use these symbols and specific imagery because they are the most striking examples of repressed emotions in society. Meaning, that the result of people not willing to assume their own persona, fearing to be judged by others and discriminated against, is one of the main conducts leading to dictatorship.
The power of dictators lies in the rhetoric, they have the ability of speaking. So people who are devoid of any kind of willpower and personality are the easiest to convince. Which will have as an outcome a ‘perfect’ dictatorship. George Bataille would also say ‘’I reckon that images do not have the capacity to comfort us, on the contrary, they have the power to alarm us, to open us, to make us bleed from the inside.’’ This is the reason why I challenge and explore the darker, obscure, obsessive, hidden and unreasoned side of human condition in my art.
It’s also interesting how you cut out certain sections of a person and move it away from the figure, a sort of detachment from the self, what can you tell us about that?
The most important part of an autocracy, what makes it powerful, is its fervent and loyal servers whom are most of the time bodies without souls, like China’s Qin Terracotta Army, brain drain by the media, well written speeches etc. That’s why I’m impulsed to cut out certain parts of the human body, and detach it from the self.
Is your art a big influence on how you carry yourself as a model? Is it representative of the way you wish to represent yourself in photos?
I guess I could say that they influence each other without me even noticing. But my modeling work, and my collages, are two strictly different and separate things.
What’s your favourite piece of artwork?
I don’t think I have one favorite piece of art, but I guess right now, I would hesitate between Nan Goldins’ ‘French Chris on the Convertible’ (1979) and Peter Hujars’ ‘Daniel Schook Sucking Toe’ (1981).
So ultimately do you think that if you didn’t become a model, you would delve fully into art and creative work?
I adore my agency. Tomorrow Is Another Day are great, because they are really sensitive and respect who you are and what you do, they put you as a person in front of everything else, and really encourage each one of us to do whatever we’re all doing besides modeling. So if I hadn’t become a model, I would be doing e-x-a-c-t-l-y what I’m doing right now, if not less. Yes, I’m model, but on the side, I work a lot on my collages, I do music, DJ, assist a stylist, and just discovered acting recently, by playing in Dennis Coopers’ last film, Like Cattle Towards Glow.