Interviews with Paul Voudouris

"What Will People Think?" (Petit Journal, Mexico)

“What will people think? What will people say?” would most probably be my mother’s first words, were she to hear of my posing nude. My mother’s life is governed by what people might say or think. Dad was in the military, disciplined and erudite. Is it any wonder I chose the path of artist?

As far back as I can remember, I was extroverted, animated, and vocal. I said and did what I wanted, many times just to ruffle the feathers of the self-righteous, proselytizing soul savers. I’ve always believed we should do what we do, be who we are, and revel in our singularities knowing that no matter how good our intentions, there will always be someone, somewhere, who will be offended by what we do or say. And why are people offended, anyway?

Why would someone choose to be offended?

Doesn’t it have something to do with insecurities?

That one would choose to expend so much thought and energy over someone else’s activities mystifies me. Hey, get a life! Face it, if you don’t have hang-ups it won’t bother you to see a naked woman in a magazine, nor the fact that someone may be having sex with a sheep. What offends people is nothing more than the projected signposts of their own fucked up states. We’re bothered by that which concerns us most. That said, why would I choose to pose nude? Okay, come on, how many times in one’s life will one pose nude?

Sure, sure, there are the few snapshots we’ve all taken and had taken (and hidden) of ourselves with our lovers and ex-lovers. And there are others of us that have posed as models for artists. But to stand, pose, simply be in front of a camera, nude, what does that imply?

Can someone be nude but not naked? Think about it, how does one stand comfortably without clothes? Some people need a logo on their designer shirts to define themselves. Without clothes, what will define me? These few sentences?

All right, let’s see: I’m an iconoclast, an Aquarian., a goat, born in Africa to a Greek mother and Greek-American father. I was raised in Greece and the United States. I love travel and the look, feel, and taste of different cultures, adore music, am an aficionado of film, and an aesthete who appreciates fine things. I think I paraphrase Oscar Wilde when I say that my tastes are simple, that I simply like the best. And among the best have been Cortazar, Joyce, Shakespeare, Peter Gabriel, The Blue Nile, Joni Mitchell, Buñuel, Antonioni, and so many others that don’t readily come to mind.

Opinionated, I have no problem whatsoever expressing my views. (People who hold their thoughts and suppress their emotions end up with colon cancer.) From early on, I was drawn to and nurtured by the freedom found in the arts. That the parameters of art are not necessarily limited by the constructs of the masses attracted me. It’s why I chose to be a songwriter. It’s why I couldn’t stand military school. It’s why I’ve had close gay friends. (Speaking of “Pelotas”, in a world of redneck, bible pushing, missionary-position practitioners, it must be a million times harder to be openly gay than to pose nude in a magazine). But, I’m also a very private and isolated person. So how will I combine the expression of being open and liberal with that of one who is private and conservative in a nude photograph?

And what is to be the mood? Do I display a happy mood? A serious mood? Do I pose? Do I run, to dissipate rigidity and falseness? Will jumping help me to counteract the visual effects of gravity? What parts of the body should I show?

I consider the realities: women will probably display their breasts as breasts have been basically rendered neutral and, therefore, acceptable through their repeated display on television, magazines, the theater, foreign films and, god knows where else. (Hey, it’s a tit world; otherwise there’d be no boob jobs). But I doubt we’ll be seeing any Hustler style snapshots in this literary offering. Now, as far as the guys, who knows what the guys will choose to do, but you’re sure to see some cocks here and there. On the other hand, I bet we’ll never see a close-up photo of an asshole. And, it seems to me, that that is because it is our most private part. The anus. The dark area. The black hole. The place that houses everything we’ve bottled up, repressed, crammed down. We’re talking some funky shit here, coming from that hidden orifice, that most private domain that most people don’t want to talk about. Then again, some people don’t want to see pictures of naked men and women.

Well, as the saying goes: “Opinions are like assholes, we all have one and we all think everyone else’s stinks.”