Sticking to His Guns: An Interview with James Georgopoulos

James Georgopolous' photographs of guns are so in demand he even has Iranian princesses knocking on his door.  Los Angeles based artist James Georgopolous communicates with his guns an aura of latent violence, whilst offering visceral elucidation into the pathos behind how culture invents its iconography.  In a world culture of war and destruction, Georgopolous' guns are stark reminders of the power of modern weapons.  Its also the notion that to stare down the barrel of a gun and imagine what could return back is not the same simple, curious gaze, but a permanent solution to our mortality. Its heavy stuff - best suited to those who take their coffee black or can read Foucault whilst watching Pulp Fiction.


I spent the day at Georgopolous' studio in Venice beach where he was getting ready for his solo show - happening tonight in Santa Monica.  Paint was splattered on the wooden floors, carried around a bit by sneaker prints, and what with all the imagery of guns around  I could not help but be reminded of a crime scene.   If I was a specialist in blood splatter I could surmise was that whatever happened here was gruesome, but no, just a mad pop artist with the modus operandi to blow our minds out of the back of our heads - figuratively of course.

Georgopoulos has photographed just about a hundred guns used as props in films ranging from The Getaway to Scarface. In fact, the gun used in Scarface, the Colt AR-15, is particularly frightening and precisely what the Iranian princess ordered - it was used in the film when Tony famously yells out "Say hello to my little friend!" What makes these pieces all the more engaging, is the fact that Georgopoulos spends laborious hours in the darkroom - enlarging the photographs, and printing giant unique silver gelatin prints - which gives the guns an entirely realistic, lifelike presence. Georgopoulos' photographs also beg questions about the philosophy of Belgian painter René Magrittee - "the treachery of images" - a concept whereby images of of an object cease to be in a photograph or painting, because it is only an image - which gives Georgopoulos' art an almost paradoxical, fourth dimension to fall in to.  Ceci n'est pas une pistolet!

James Georgopoulos: Guns of Cinema is having an opening reception at the Lurie Gallery in Santa Monica tonight from 6-10.

Text and photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre