T.J. Carlin : You started out as a painter in grad school. When did you decide to switch to doing the photos and installations you're known for now?
Demetrius Oliver : I was making these small, scruffy photographs on the side,
getting them developed at, you know, Walgreens, and putting them in the corner. And whenever I had someone over to my studio, they'd talk more about the photos than about the work I'd spent weeks making. These were drawings of body parts, using myself as a model. But they were bigger than life, and I was kind of interested in scarification. I was trying to find a way of modernizing that, so I tried to create the illusion of different materials and objects under the skin, rendering them as realistically as I could. I started doing that with photography. One of the things I found was that photos were a way of getting at the idea quicker; when I was drawing, I'd have a dozen ideas in my head, and photography kind of matched the speed of my thinking.
source: T.J. Carlin,Time out New York, 19-25 March, 2009(PDF)