Max Heller (b.1991) is a visual artist living and working outside Boston, MA. He received a BFA in photography From Lesley University College of Art and Design in 2015.
PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: Night Shift
2017 – present
When and where did Night Shift begin?
Night Shift began in the early months of 2017. I couldn’t stand being trapped indoors so I forced myself to go out in the cold and shoot around my neighborhood (Medford, MA). It began when I started poking around some industrial / construction areas. I would see a opening in a fence and go right for it. Being alone inside these dark vacant places was a feeling I had become quite comfortable with, like being in a vacuum. Over time I departed from this original parameter and have visited abandoned homes, motels and commercial spaces all over the north east, central NY and even Northern Ireland. The project has grown to include both interiors and exterior and is no longer is concerned with location or place but rather a hyper-state associated with darkness and confinement. To me it is a kind of nocturnal sci-fi realm in which I am both the infiltrator and inhabitant. I’m still trying to put my finger on it but right now it seems to be about energy and motion and the internal chaos of an isolated system.
Where do you see this project going?
This project is still in progress. It has been exhibited here and there but nothing this official. I have an upcoming show in April in which I hope to exhibit more of the work. Right now I see Night Shift moving in a direction that would rely less on what I find at a site, and more on what I might bring to a site. I also have been looking for ways to incorporate a human figure, it has to be just right. Ultimately I can see this project in book form, but that I think is a ways down the road.
What helps you sustain your current creative practice?
I am a part of an artist collective called Recently based out of Boston, MA. We meet monthly to show work and critique. Also, It helps to have a job where you can leave your work at work. However, the motivation and energy is all internal. A great artist once said to me: work hard everyday. This is the best advice I could have ever received. This also requires that you give up certain things. I think a practice consists of many parts, if I am not photographing I set aside time for writing, research, working on my website even reading, drawing or playing guitar; I consider exercise.
What’s next for you?
Right now I am in the process of applying to some MFA programs. I want to go somewhere that is fully funded and affordable to live. I am looking to continue my photographic practice but push it in the direction of sculpture and fabrication. Long term, teaching appeals to me, but ultimately I would like to fully support myself with my practice.