Why I don’t like Tyler Shields V.2 (and an apology for V.1)

On Wednesday I posted an article titled ‘Tyler Shields – Art for the Intellectually Insecure’, the basic idea behind it being that I don’t like Tyler Shields’ work. A few hours later, I looked back on this post and found people had lost their shit.  Here’s some examples:
 
  •          ‘Fuck you, bitch!’ – anon
  •          HAHAHA wow what a shitty writer you are it must hurt you to see some be something you never will… Successful! ‘ – anon

 
And when I deleted these comments, because, you know, they’re anonymous and I like to play God on my own blog I found:
 
  •          HAHAHAHA ARE YOU JOKING YOU DELETE THE COMMENTS OH MY GOD YOU ARE A JOKE HAHAHAHAHA IT MUST HURT TO BE YOU’ – anon
  •          I am a troll I love Tyler shields and you are such a fucking hypocrite muhahahahahah so sad you’re little existence must be wow ’ – anon

 
I like to think that after all these comments, this person or people (I know the stats of this blog, so chances are it was just one person) slapped his/her genitals across the screen of their laptop and gave themselves a big high five. For a while I thought about replying to these comments, but then I realised that this comment was kinda true:
 
  •          So sad to read this because I used to love reading you’re blog until now because Tyler Shields is my favorite artist so basically you just called me an idiot who wants to commit suicide? Shame I won’t be coming back to you’re site… You might want to think about who you will alienate or maybe that’s the problem you weren’t thinking just posting a second rate vice article which was already awful. ’ – anon

 
The writing of that post was subpar, I had knocked it out the day before and hadn’t really put that much thought into it. In the end, it was just a second rate version of this Vice article. And what’s more, I had made a joke out of my readers – or rather, reader, and there really was no way to justify that. So I deleted the blog post. How could I sit there and defend my opinion when I had gone about executing it in a way I wasn’t proud of?
 
So this is why I’m writing this post today, a kinda take two of Wednesday’s article. No longer is it titled: ‘Tyler Shields – Art for the Intellectually Insecure’ but rather ‘Why I Don’t like Tyler Shields’. Because my opinion on Tyler Shields hasn’t change, but I do admit it was wrong to belittle the people whose opinion differs from mine. So here’s MY opinion on Tyler Shields, and why I don’t like him.
 
1. His work is terrible.
 
Exhibit A
 
The vice article sums up Shields as ‘he’s kind of like Banksy (i.e., he makes really, really obvious and lame statements about like, capitalism or whatever) mixed with the Cobrasnake (i.e., a guy who owns a very expensive camera).’ But here I have to disagree. Banksy makes very obvious messages because his work is in public places. On the side of a building, the majority of people viewing his work aren’t going to be art critics or people who have time to contemplate/ or care to contemplate a piece of art’s ‘bigger picture’. He targets the nation on mass, the simpler the message, the more people it’ll reach. He also made many people question street arts value in society, is it vandalism or is it a masterpiece? Banksy’s simple messages, rippled into bigger things.
 
Tyler Shields just has simple messages because his work is simple minded.
Many people when looking at work such as Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ or Hirst’s cow sawed in half go – ‘Well anyone could have done that’. And yes, anyone could have displayed their bed in a gallery, but the point is, no one had ever thought to do it. The problem I have with Shields’ is that not only could anyone put money in a toilet, as a very obvious message about waste in society, but people HAVE done it.
 
 
Note that this isn’t by Tyler Shields and neither is this, this, or this.
 
His ideas aren’t new, they aren’t thought provoking, and the way he goes about expressing them isn’t even interesting. And whether or not you’re a fan of his work or not, do you not find it amusing/insulting that he finds the need to literally spell these simple messages out for us. Like the picture above, who exactly was struggling to wrap their heads around the imagery of money in a toilet?
 
Did F. Scott Fitzgerald find the need to write:
 
Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it has seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one – THIS IS LIKE, TOTALLY A METAPHOR FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM! DID YOU GET THAT?
 
A great artists work should speak for itself, and writing pseudo intellectual phrases, like ‘love is a weapon’, doesn’t compensate for that.
 
 
2. Part of his fame comes from knowing famous people.
 
I didn’t hear about Tyler Shields through an art blog, or even through the art section of a newspaper, or through anything remotely connected to art – but through the DailyMail.
A quick search on the Dailymail brings up FOUR PAGES of links to articles about him shooting Heather Morris, Emma Roberts, Emily VanCamp, Demi Lovato; all with the words ‘risqué’ attached. And I can’t even being to count the amount of articles concerning his relationship with Francesca Eastwood, an 18 year old.
 
But Heather lots of people photograph celebrities for fame.
 
Yes, but they usually don’t end up in the news, and at some point they usually have to produce some good artwork. Hundreds of photographers are doing what Tyler Shields is doing with celebs RIGHT NOW, all for vogue or some other magazine and they’re not in the Dailymail.
 
Which okay, considering what the Dailymail is, those other photographers are probably glad of that fact.
 
 
 
3. I’m not writing this out of jealously but because I have a right.
 
When I was in work moaning about all the hate comments I was getting because of my opinion on Tyler Shields, my friend Rachel said something very important. She studied Fine Art at university and one of the main things the tutors tried to instil was the idea that by putting your work out there, you open yourself up for judgement.
 
Tyler Shields is never going to read this blog post, in fact, not many people will read this because I don’t have a lot of readers. However, I’m writing this because this is what art is supposed to do. It’s suppose to be questioned, challenged and critiqued. It’s supposed to get people talking.
 
And okay, for this I give Tyler Shields his dues. If he wasn’t so famous I wouldn’t be writing this, and I wouldn’t be questioning my own thoughts on art. Because of his work I’m writing this piece, and my writing this I’m in turn asking others to question what they believe constitutes as a good piece of art.
 
So in that sense, well done Mr. Shields.
 
And it isn’t because I’m jealous of Tyler Shields, I have no intention of trying to be a photographer, or of getting my picture in the Dailymail. I’m writing this because I have an opinion, and because of this blog, I have a forum to express that opinion. And because I now feel confident in what I’ve written and what I’ve expressed in this article, I feel comfortable defending said opinion. So if people want to tell me to ‘fuck off and die’ in the comments, or preferably want to argue against this opinion in the comments that’s their right and I promise to this time NOT TO DELETE any comments.
 
Because everyone, even an angry troll, has the right to express themselves and to their own opinion. Which is why I was so wrong to imply that other people are ‘intellectually insecure/stupid’ for liking Tyler Shields in my last draft of this post.
 
However, Tyler Shields still sucks. In my opinion.

10 thoughts on “Why I don’t like Tyler Shields V.2 (and an apology for V.1)

  1. in telling her she "sucks" you have obviously learnt nothing from this whole business.well done Heather for learning from this and responding to it in such a mature way AND having the balls to stand by your opinions/beliefs when faced with such unnecessarily vicious and personal criticism.

  2. After writing two articles, reading dozens of Dailymail post on him, and searching through both his website and the 'Tyler Shields' tag on tumblr – I can safely say I've seen enough of his work to last me a life time. The photos I've put up here are some of his worst, but there are other examples I can think of where I didn't like his work. Like any of his photos involving Barbie dolls, the picture of toxic waste being carted out of McDonalds, or the ones where Micky Mouse is holding a gun. His celebrity pictures are a little better, but only because of the celebs in them. In most magazines you can find better examples of celebrity photo shoots – so once again, he proves to be nothing special. So if you're trying to imply that my opinion on Tyler Shields is the way it is because I haven't seen enough of his work, then sorry you're wrong. I'm very confident in my opinion of Tyler Shields, and if that means I now 'suck' because of it, then I'm okay with that. I just think it's a shame that you can't have the same confidence in your defense of Tyler Shields, not even enough to put your name on these comments.

  3. I'm sorry you received such horrible comments on your post!! That is just ridiculous that people would say those things to someone under the shield of anonymity. But I commend you too for handling it maturely and standing by your beliefs. A lot of people can't do that. And thank you for your comment on my blog. Sorry the quotes threw you off, I just liked them and wanted to share. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. He is a real life "Louie the Liar," and he is unoriginal. The people who post nagative comments have no idea of what art truly is, and are groupies. Regardless of what you write, please don't ever feel lke you have to apologize. Freedom of speech!

  5. I'm not apologizing for my opinion, just how I went about expressing that opinion in the last version of this – but thanks for your support, it really means a lot. And I'm glad you agree that he's crap 🙂

  6. Hi, I am just so relieved somebody is speaking out on what they think of Tyler Shields. In a non-patronizing way. I am one of those people who just immediately says "Tyler Shields sucks" with no explanation or articulation at all. I just felt it from the first "video portrait" I ever saw. That's why I just loved reading your post about this. He really does have no aesthetic quality. I can see that he's a major Terry Richardson ripoff. Though that may not be what he was intending to be. He does not shock, send a message, nor does he make anything worth mulling over. At least Terry's work has some good quality and a certain look to it (don't get me wrong, I'm no huge fan). Tyler's work feels like a bunch of little celebrities trying to attain their moment of being edgy or badass and Tyler saying, "yo let's make you do some badass stuff on camera like drunk and beating up and sex and weird shit." – including Tyler himself.

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