Entering photographer Tyler Shields' private viewing of his latest show, "Mouthful," on Saturday night at the Hollywood Ace Gallery felt suspiciously like being part of the controversial artist’s creative experiments.
The emerging artist, who has photographed the casts of Glee and Revenge and celebrities including Emma Roberts and Demi Lovato, held his private viewing for guests who dared to attend in a show room that had been strategically set to 100 degrees. The reason?
"I love reaction, I love raw emotion," Shields told The Hollywood Reporter. "I like to put people in an environment and just see their reaction."
Heat permeated down the hallway, which was draped in clear forensic plastic wrap that led to the high-temp show room. Well-dressed rabbits roamed the halls and played chess while pandas posed for photos with guests in small adjacent rooms.
The dangerous crime scene feel blended with the artwork it drew the crowd toward. Stark white walls with images of Shield’s subjects in compromising and death defying poses appropriately shocked guests upon entrance.
"He’s a visual bandit," Revenge cast member Gabriel Mann told THR. "You’re probably not going to shoot with Tyler unless you trust him to a certain extent and once you reach that comfort level, the pictures speak for themselves."
The main attraction of the exhibit was close-up shots of Shield’s actress girlfriend and daughter of Clint Eastwood, Francesca Fisher-Eastwood, and her lips. The pouty pictures paired perfectly with the show's name.
"I don’t know if he could have come up with a more perfect title because anytime Tyler starts putting his work out into the public, people start talking," Mann said.
Pushing the envelope has become part of the Florida native’s signature style. His work isn’t limited to photography as he made headlines in 2011 for using the donated blood of 20 celebrities to paint a giant heart.
The evenings show was presented by A|X Armani Exchange to benefit Love is Louder, an anti-bullying organization founded by actress Brittany Snow, MTV and The Jed Foundation.
The guests who wiped sweat from their foreheads were just as visually stimulating as the art hung on the walls. Actress Emma Roberts, Californication's Madeline Zima, Modern Family's Sarah Hyland, Glee's Harry Shum Jr., Whitney Port, Revenge's Christa B. Allen and Nick Wechsler and many others came out to support the photographer and the good cause.
Special edition "Love is Louder" tee-shirts were provided by A|X and signed by the celebrity guests. The shirts will be auctioned off with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward th foundation.
Curious fans can be on the lookout for more surprises from the edgy artist.
"There’s a new series that I’m working on now that’s the hardest thing that I’ve ever done," Shields teased. "It’s gonna get a lot crazier than this."
E-mail: Shannon.Ma.@thr.com; Twitter: @HelloShannonM