mojokiss with vita de'void
mojokiss with vita de’void

“I always think I’m capable of doing things the easy way. I always think I’m doing things the natural way. I always think I’m doing things the way I’m meant to do them, but it always ends up costing me my sense of well being, my resources, my safety, my social standing.”

Mojokiss is Matthew K Mayes and grew up in the crowd of people who hang out at coffee houses rather than bars, and who play music and chess rather than sports. This culture stays up until sunrise. This culture talks about things that are best kept to themselves.

“Much of the culture of my youth was always trying to set me free, to enlighten me, and I was doing my best to keep up. I was pulled in so many directions as I was “coming of age” and I was always conflicted. Photography became a big part of my life gradually and the timing happened to be just right when the Goth and GoGo dancer scene was very healthy with just enough “models” around my region on FL, the goth capital of the world, some say. And these girls just simply said “yes” when I asked them to shoot.”

Although he studied classic portraiture in great depth early on, Mojokiss isn’t a wedding photographer or a product photographer. He makes art that is meant for himself. He collaborates with the world around him, and with the people in his community.

“I’ve tried doing service oriented work and it just doesn’t suit me, tho I greatly appreciated the chances. I would always go back to being off the grid and back to suffering, being poor, and wondering why my visions for my life were always at odds with society. Even to this day most of my ideas are stuck in my head and I haven’t had the resources to get out and create. A lot of people don’t know about me because I have stayed unto myself and unto my close network. I’m too weird and introverted to flow seamlessly among the extroverts and wonderful happy positive productive healthy people out there. My culture is one of constant inner struggles. It’s just not compatible with social life outside of my friend circle.”

Mojokiss in Charlotte on Ashli's old Ford
Mojokiss in Charlotte on Ashli’s old Ford

He considers himself a nomad following reindeer, never able to stay in one place long. It’s not that he wouldn’t want to settle down, but life doesn’t let him. It isn’t long after he finds a quiet spot, that things get too quiet, and just too comfortable, and he has to find that next stampede of strange beautiful chaotic dysfunctionality. Something contrary to the normal day to day unimaginative predictable culture that permeates the supermarkets, the suburbs, the city park. It’s as if he’s always running away, but in doing so, he is ever running to that thing that feeds his soul, those who are so self expressive that it’s like breathing. That’s what he’s always missing when he stops running.

But there’s much more to the story. Mojokiss has a strong background in music. He feels the music part of his life is somewhat at odds with the photography.

“Music is all about expression. There’s no collaboration with random people. There’s no feedback. Its just like being a preacher on a pedestal. There’s only a few forms of music I really enjoy performing lately out off all the stuff I’ve been into over the years, and that’s blues rock, but not just any blues rock. I’m very particular. I hate loud drums. I hate random strumming. I hate free style jams. I like thoughtful unique artful blues rock like I’ve heard done by Mazzy Star (Hope Sandoval), and then there’s Blonde Redhead. I love that dark abnormal antisocial blues that isn’t all about partying and revolutions.”

Spiritually Mojokiss is a free thinker, leaning towards the modern gurus of India. He was exposed to the philosophy of Eastern teachers at an early age. He studied martial arts in several secret schools, avoiding the mainstream store fronts and soccer mom culture.

mojokiss staying with a model in boston

“Everything I do must be seen not just as one thing, for one purpose, but every one thing I do is part of both a time and space continuum. It belongs to everyone and we are all responsible for everything. There’s no blame. There’s no reward. There’s only the awareness of unity. That’s the essence of the value of what I do.”