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"You could say that I was a huge Diane Arbus fan before I ever heard of her or consciously saw any of her work."
- Agent Mondo (photographer)
About Agent Mondo

The Man Speaks
I'm a quiet, reserved, private kind of guy and a lifetime recovering Catholic. Daydreaming, mischief and punditry have been my primary avocations since I went into exile from my broken home at the age of five. Some of my more infamous influences include David Bowie, Federico Fellini, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Jean Genet, and a few others I will think of later. I have long been a friend of the underdog, the outcaste, the criminal who had little choice, and the branded soul who refused to join his or her tormenters. My mother and my godfather are my two greatest heroes.

Where to Begin?
If someone asked me "What's the biggest thing in life?" I'd have to reply that it's how you survive, how you make it through the night, how you take a wrong and put it right. Some of you will recognize that I am paraphrasing the words to Midnight Summer Dream from an old group called the Stranglers.

Nothing is more abundant in the mortal experience than suffering. Who could even count the number of ways we struggle to achieve our dreams or the myriad quantity of ways we kill our pain. Anguish and struggle have been the central themes of my entire life. But this is not all darkness and despair. Great joy comes from the things I have learned. I have always been entrenched in great visions. Had I not suffered, these visions would have had no great motive to go forward.


The stylish Agent Mondo arriving at kindergarten class at Findley School on Tallmadge Avenue on North Hill in Akron, Ohio around 1955. Photo by mom.

So there you have my philosophical essence. And philosophy is indeed the highest thing in my life. Like any driven artist, aspirational philosophy is what drives me. I also happen to believe that those who refuse the notion of universal suffering are unaware of its nature and will live and die meaningless lives. Hence I have observed that we who have suffered well have a great and fantastic joy even in our sadness. Whereas, those busy fooling themselves only enjoy false happiness.

Surrealism


Agent Mondo consulting with pals at abandoned Denver Sewage Treatment Plant in conception of a darkly comic surrealist story about a vampire who bites derrieres.
photo by
Ray Eerie, circa 1996

In the 1990s I came to define my artistic bent as surrealist. Surrealism is defined by Webster as "the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural juxtapositions and combinations."

The above definition may confuse the novice who may think that surrealism means to mix anything with anything to automatically get something. I think in fact it means to apply one's mind and visionary powers to the crucible of artistic endeavor using the diversity of memories, mental processes, and material at hand, even where they may seem at first unrelated. It was my collection of life experiences that made me into a surrealist before I knew the meaning of the word or looked up any of its proponents. Over time I came to discover where surrealist Antonin Artaud and horror writer Stephen King cite a subconscious or unconscious process of genius where the driven artist (of any kind) receives inspiration from an outside force or Higher Power often after severe roadblocks, writers' blocks and interference from blockheads. Some might see this Higher Power in a secular or sacred sense. The surrealist may be lost in the incongruity of his thought, yet find repeated moments of cathartic inspiration coming seemingly from nowhere.

As a photographer, I like beauty. But I've often been drawn to the oddities of life, things bizarre, strange, tragic, alien, and psychological. From the time I was a kid, I was affected by the sight of gypsy neighbors, newspaper sellers with missing ligaments, runaways, merchants in decrepit old stores and animals breaking free of human captivity. I think you could say that I was a huge Diane Arbus fan before I ever heard of her or consciously saw any of her work.

Personally speaking, I find it almost heartwarming that today so many "recovering Catholics" and others are rejecting the notion of innocence and virtue in conservative paradigms of the so-called "upstanding citrizen". These paradigms have included big religion, big government, corporate control of all productivity and economy, the big shot, the big wig, the big record producer, the big film studio, and the big art critic. But revolution without personal direction is most often meaningless and destructive. This is why we rely on the avant-garde and cultural illuminati to break our light bulbs. We take to cultural leaders who manifest color and spark from nothingness. Most of us have that power but never develop the ability to unleash it.

Mischief
No paradigm, no science, no religion, no culture has ever been more important than mischief. It will be a driving force behind Mondo Models.

Dashing young Agent Mondo puffing a doobie in Boulder, Colorado while using a bullet-riddled wagon as a photo prop. Although Mondo failed in his life of crime, his chronic pot puffing (1969 to 1989) numbed his childhood memories and helped the daydreamer to avoid gainful employment, eventually leading to a meaningful life as artistic outlaw and literary bum. The money would come later, he realized, much later, possibly after his tenure as a mortal.
- Polaroid: 1979 March 18
(behind
Mork n' Mindy house, my next door neighbor, ca. 1976-79)

Experience
The primary talents I bring to Mondo Models will be my photography experience and human relations ability as an advocate of "outclassed classes".

Many bits of my photography collection will be showcased in Mondo Models as my photography services are for hire and I also photograph prospective models for free. I have shot many celebrities including David Bowie, Elvira, Pope John Paul II (at arms length), President Clinton, young Bono Vox, Arnold Schwarzanegger, Iggy Pop, President Jacque Chirac (up close), Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Yoko Ono, a drunk-looking President Boris Yeltsin and many other famous folks.

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Another page or two on Agent Mondo may be added in the future.

© Mondo Models

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