Even as a kid in drawing class, I had real ambition. I wanted to be the best in the class, but there was always some other feller who was better; so I thought, It cant be about being the best, it has to be about the drawing itself, what you do with it. Thats kind of stuck with me.
As an artist you're looking for universal triggers. You want it both ways. You want it to have an immediate impact, and you want it to have deep meanings as well. I'm striving for both. But I hate it when people write things that sound like they've swallowed a f... dictionary.
But I think it's more that when you're young, you're invincible, you're immortal - or at least you think you are. The possibilities are limitless, you're inventing the future. Then you get older and suddenly you have a history. It's fixed. You can't change anything. I find that a bit disturbing, to be honest.
I always try to make everyone mellow down, make sure everybody's happy. The people I have employed have always kind of stayed with us. A lot of people who come to work for you are artists in their own right. And they want to work for you because they want to pick something up.
To be an artist is not about fame; it's about art, which is this intangible thing that has got to have lots of integrity, whereas being famous doesn't really take any integrity. But I think you have to admit that you want to be famous, otherwise you can't be an artist. Art and fame together are like a desire to live forever.
I was taught to confront things you can't avoid. Death is one of those things. To live in a society where you're trying not to look at it is stupid because looking at death throws us back into life with more vigour and energy. The fact that flowers don't last for ever makes them beautiful.
Art is the closest you can get to immortality, though it's a poor substitute - you're working for people not yet born - and people want it because it is brilliant. It ends up in museums anyway; the rich have to give it back to the people, it's their only option. There are no pockets in a shroud.
But I always liked the fact that you get these totally unacceptable images, but they're taken by a really expensive photographer, with great light, and in terms of the quality of the photograph it's a great photograph, but in terms of imagery it's unacceptable, and I like that contradiction.