PyroTechnics

Muse: T. Luxe. Photography: imagenix.

Playing with fire. We made SICK STAR lighters as a new item to sell and as a new promotional item. I met T. Luxe through Bert and the Rooted Movement / Union Station Radio crew. I wanted to do a shoot for the lighters in the only way we knew how to do it. We planned to shoot in Las Vegas again with Genix and Ellen. We didn’t have a location but I had a few concepts already planned out. I let my brother figure out where we were going to shoot. Before, if it wasn’t in a hotel room, we’d shoot at my brother’s friends’ houses. Getting closer and closer to the shoot date, none of my brother’s friends’ houses were available. Last minute, Norm said that my Aunt Anna was at work and we could use her place since he had a key. We called her and told her we’d be out of the way since we were planning on shooting outside anyway.

On the day of the shoot, we started to set up outside as T. got ready. We hadn’t really played with fire before like we were planning to use for the shoot. We tested melting records with lighter fluid and the lighters but it was a hot and windy that day to where it became too dangerous to have too big of a flame since we couldn’t control it. We couldn’t also control the sunlight as the test shots were coming out way too bright. We moved our backdrop and our whole set up indoors.

We had T. change into a tank top and jeans which was her everyday go to look at the time. The Molotov cocktails represent the rebel. The MSZ drink of choice is Hennessy and I was able to collect more than enough empty bottles for our shoot. The liquid in the photos is actual a mix of Coca-Cola and water as we didn’t dare want to waste any Hennessy. We filled the bottles and stuffed them with ripped wife beaters and lit them on fire in my aunt’s living room. The 5th of Henny was real and T. is really drinking it, starting the tradition with her and the cognac on every SICK STAR shoot. We had a fire extinguisher on stand by just in case and a pot of water for T. drop the bottles in when it got too hot for her. Most of the time we urged her to throw the bottle and flame into the water when she seemed perfectly fine. We did end up using the fire extinguisher once though and had to open up the front door to clear out the chemicals.

T. changed into her next look, the black lingerie piece, which was supposed to be our first look outside. We took a few photos of a few different poses, including the burning tongue shot which reveals T.’s 2 tongue rings. The shot inspired by the flick, “Jennifer’s Body,” with Megan Fox.

The size of the lighter is small and the hand almost fully covers the logos and the whole lighter when holding and lighting it. Ellen asked for if we had some rope, luckily we did, and she asked T. if she was down to be tied up. The concept was her tied up with her hands behind her back, and she’d try to free herself by burning the rope with the lighter. Ellen has a great instinct of switching things up on the fly to switch up the mood when we start to lose steam on set. We were in the midst of tying T. up when my aunt came home from picking up my 2 female cousins (age 8 & 12) from school. My aunt didn’t seem at all fazed by the whole situation and we carried on. In fact, my 2 cousins stared at the whole scene through the banister of the stairs for a while in their school uniforms. It was definitely a funny situation but kind of showed the kind of support I had for SICK STAR throughout my whole Family.

Being tied up with your arms behind your back limits a lot of what you can do and fatigue sets in quick. Besides the danger of playing with fire, we had to make sure that T. was ok and comfortable throughout the duration while restrained. We’d massage her arms, oil her up, feed her Hennessy, and that’s all she needed to be good to go for another couple of hours or shooting.

Art Direction: Ellen Kwan