$100,000 Birkin Bag Burner Says 'It Takes Money to Make Art'
Doesn't understand why people are offended.
After Clint Eastwood's daughter Francesca and her photographer boyfriend Tyler Shields destroyed a $100,000 Hermes Birkin bag in the name of freedom and all things creative and stuff last weekend, they copped some mad death threats online. The shoot, which was used to promote Clint's wife's reality show Mrs. Eastwood & Company, was posted on Tyler's website along with a statement that read, "Destruction is a beautiful version of freedom… Would you want this bag? Are you sad to see me destroy it?"
In a recent interview with ArtInfo, Tyler has stood by the shoot with the kind of confidence that only a true provocateur can muster, saying, "If people are [upset] because I spent money on a photo shoot, then they should be upset about every single photo shoot that takes place ever." He argues that Paris Hilton spent $200,000 on her album cover, and that the catering budget for John Carter was $5 million. "How many people buy sports cars? How many people buy watches? What if I bought a $100,000 car and I crashed it? I'm not taking anything away from anybody else," he says.
"It takes money to make art," seems to be his main argument. But wait, wasn't this shoot created to promote a reality show? Yes, yes it was.
Tyler also told the art publication that he was poor only a few years ago, and thus understands the plight of the underclass. "I had $11 and nobody gave me any money. Nobody just handed me anything. I had to fight for it. I had to work to get what I have. That's the thing about the country that we live in. You can dream anything you want, and if you're willing to work hard enough, you can get it." Then you can destroy it with a chainsaw, if that's your thing. This isn't the first time he's destoryed a luxury product either.
The clincher comes when Tyler starts riffing about how he "helps a lot of people" and charities, which is why he finds it absurd that anyone would want to criticise him. Ever. When ArtInfo's Anna Binlot suggests that he donate the cost of the Birkin bag to charity, Tyler is all like, "The Birkin photos are for sale... If somebody wants to buy one of the Birkin photos, I will donate $100,000 — not to a charity — but to a family. I will give one family in need $100,000 cash, tax-free." Quick! Someone find a rich person to spend more money, so that some non-rich people can get some of that said money, tax-free. He's like the Mother Teresa of rich kids.
See the shoot below (and also, as an aside, see his knife/blood photo of Lindsay Lohan if you're game):
Read the complete ArtInfo interview here.