As the departure date for my grand adventure quickly approaches, I find myself with less and less time yet more and more things to do – which is, unfortunately, why I was unable to post last week from San Francisco. However, long though my days seem to be, I have managed to fit in spending time with the people I love. And it’s not often that one of your dearest friends, Crystal Sims, hits you up to shoot images for her newest gallery opening, Maison De Jeu. When that time comes, you hop into one of your favorite designer’s lingerie (Tre Designs), brave the cold, and get your fire play on in front of her camera. It doesn’t hurt that she happens to make you look absolutely spectacular every single time you two create together. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with Crystal quite a few times throughout our years of friendship and I have never been anything but blown away by the finished products.
I was once told that you should surround yourself with people that inspire you. My friendship with Crystal Sims embodies this idea. She is one of the most creative, empowered, and genuine people I have ever met. I have no idea how she even finds the time to shoot, considering her schedule may be the only one comparable to my own! Her work with the Association of Professional Piercers as well as starting and running Albuquerque’s premier piercing studio, Evolution Body Piercing, takes a good majority of her time. Yet recently she can be found alongside her brewing extraordinaire boyfriend, Rob Palmer, at their newest venture, Palmer Brewery and Cider House. The brewery is coupled with Left Turn Distilling, the delicious creation of Brian Langwell, to a create an almost magical environment of adult beverages, eclectic art, and high spirits… the perfect setting for Crystal’s gallery.
Walking into the gallery was like coming home. My friends gathered around, drinking and catching up as each of us stared star-struck at the gorgeous creations spattering the walls. Crystal Sims has a way of photographing the female form with such delicate intricacy that I have yet to find anywhere else. It was delightful to see her take her subjects, many of them my own friends, and invoke such powerfully sensual feelings differently in each setting. If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, than her stories jump straight from the canvas into your chest and excite all of your senses. Combine that with her use of skateboards as canvases and you have an experience wholly of its own. I have never wished that I was more talented on a board in my life! I have never before seen myself adorn a skateboard, let alone do so breathing fire! I was honored that she asked me to model for her project. The wall of the work we created brought me an overwhelming sense of pride and joy.
If you should find yourself in the Albuquerque area for any reason, it would be a loss if you didn’t stop in at the Palmer Brewery and Cider House at Left Turn Distilling Shared Tasting Room, especially while Crystal Sim’s exhibit is still showing this month and possibly into January. Come for the stunning art. Come for the delicious drinks. Come for the witty and loving bar personnel. It really doesn’t matter what you come in for – I promise you will not be disappointed.
Photography by Crystal Sims