"I'm just a fucking hippie trying to get on with his life and to have a good time, trying to make sure other people have a good time and trying to speak my mind," says musician Graham Nash sitting in the Santa Monica office of Gallery 169, host to Nash's new photography exhibit "This Could Be You," running through mid-October.
The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum inductee (with both The Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash), first tried photography back in his native England at 10 years old. However he settled upon music as a profession because, "You know, I don't think you can get girls with a camera," he laughs. "I think most of my friends would admit that they got into music to meet ladies."
Nash has been an active photo collector and photographer for years. Additionally, in 1990, he started a digital image printing company, Nash Editions, whose first graphics printer Nash donated to the Smithsonian's Natural Museum of American History along with Nash's 1969 portrait of David Crosby.
His current solo exhibit, a provocative collection of 12 large format mixed media images each comprised of myriad digital images overlapping each other on an oversized canvas, was culled both from images Nash found on the Internet and his own collection. He's confused as to what to call the giant collages. "I don't know what you'd call them. The gallery is calling them assemblages. I actually really don't care about labels. What I care about is, 'Do you like this? Is it affecting you? Is it speaking to you? Is it making you love your fellow human being better?' If not, then I didn't do my job."
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Ranging in price from $4,500 to $10,000, Nash's politically and socially charged works include Religion which displays images of Jesus Christ, skulls and money, Protest which includes pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr., Wikileaks and Richard Nixon, Atomic which shows a variety of images including a mushroom cloud, Albert Einstein and a gas mask, and 911 which includes shots of oil canisters, money bags, Osama Bin Laden, and George W. Bush.
Nash, however, insists the show is not political. "It's not political to me. It's all human," he says. "I'm just speaking my mind about things that happen to us. That is what I'm doing here. I hope it depresses everybody. I really seriously do. That's what I want. I want people to think about what is going on instead of trying to figure out the size of Kim Kardashian's ass and shit that's worthless."
Nash's show runs through Oct. 13