The World of Charlie White

In keeping with this month’s theme I thought I’d share the work of one of my favourite Californian artists, photographer and filmmaker: Charlie White. His work has been exhibited internationally since 1999 and he holds the position of Associate Professor at the University of Southern California’s Roski School of Fine Arts. He’s probably best known for the music video he made for Interpol’s ‘Evil’ in 2004 but that video doesn’t really do his body of work justice. White’s photography depicts Californian life as a facade, focusing on the interplay between reality and fiction. Drawing on the breadth of storytelling offered by Hollywood, White’s work owes more to photographers like Gregory Crewdson and Jeff Wall than the directors of blockbuster movies. Familiar scenes become otherworldy with the inclusion of sinister elements, from monsters to movie props.

In recent years White has moved into a new phase exploring the teenager, or rather representations of teenagers. From an animated short entitled OMG BFF LOL to Girl Studies, White has been dissecting the fallacy of the ‘valley girl’ as portrayed in the media. In Music for Sleeping Children, White collaborated with musician Boom Bip for an experimental project comprised of an album of songs replete with their own music videos directed by White. Soundbites collated from in-depth interviews with girls aged 12-16 are cleverly sequenced, edited and turned into pop music. In many ways the piece lampoons teen culture using the very medium created to entertain teenagers and it’s successful enough to function on both levels. Check out the video to the track Georgia below, it’s like Heathers and Mean Girls had a baby who grew up to be a pop star.

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