The Hilton Brothers, comprised of Christopher Makos (a long-term photographic cohort of Andy Warhol) and Paul Solberg (known for his floral and human portraits), are a photography duo whose works of diptychs and quadriptychs, portrayed both single and together, have taken them around the world. The second week of January, Makos and Solberg presented their artistic career and signed their book Tyrants + Lederhosen (2012) in three different locations in the Valley. They first spoke at the Hermosa Inn as guest of the resort’s Conversations in Fashion series. The duo was then hosted by the Arizona Costume Institute and made a lively presentation for the organization’s Second Wednesday series at Phoenix Art Museum. For their final stop, the Hilton Brothers made an appearance at the Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery in Old Town Scottsdale, where 16 of their photographs are currently available for purchase.
Their artistic identity as the Hilton Brothers, was born out of a series of collaborations while traveling some eight years ago. Finding they were both drawn to similar subject matter when they were out in a foreign, picturesque location, they began to shoot the same subjects, almost as a joke. Back in the studio, looking at the printed results, it was fascinating for them to see where their sensibilities merged and diverged. The idea of identity, who took which picture and why the difference was discernible led them to begin a series of diptychs, where they would photograph separate objects and bring them together in one print: One plus one equals a third new artwork. Makos and Solberg began calling their collective works, and themselves, the Hilton Brothers.
When they starting their collaboration, Makos was working on a book called Equipose for Glitterati Publishers, featuring horses. Rather than objectify the animals, he focused on their most intimately identifiable parts, showing their individual personalities. At the same time, Solberg was working on a series of photographic flowers called Portraits. When Makos and Solberg spent time together proofing their respective works, they realized that some of the flowers and horses, with their unique colors and shapes made very strong images when combined and printed as diptychs.
The Hilton Brothers’ latest collaboration, Andy Dandy, is a portfolio of 20 digital pigment prints. All are diptychs that combine images from Makos’ portraits of Andy Warhol with flower images from Solberg’s Bloom series. The images of Andy Warhol are the result of a 1981 collaboration between Makos and Warhol called Altered Image, through which the photographer and his subject used unexpected combinations of simple elements to explore the meaning of identity.