Providence photographer (and Phoenix contributor) John E. Coli Nikolai’s Siberian
cat, Bela, doesn’t always look so scary. The fearsome screaming creature you
see above is just a trick of the lens.
In fact, John reports, Bela is “the most
affectionate and loving creature I have ever known. He's like a angel with fur.”
Unfortunately, seven-year-old Bela
was recently diagnosed with kidney disease. It’s not necessarily a death
sentence; in fact, John says, Bela “is currently happy, playful and unaware that he has this health problem. My
goal is to keep it this way as long as there's anything I can do about it, but
apparently this will eventually start to catch up with him more.”
In the mean time, John is facing
some fairly steep veterinarian bills. And, as you might imagine, as a freelance photographer John is not
exactly rolling in the proverbial Benjamins. So his latest exhibit, “Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipebomb” — which
hangs at ZuZu until June 2, with
a reception on Sunday, May 27 from 7-9 p.m. — has been recast as a Bela benefit:
any money generated from the sale of artwork in this show will be put towards
kitty’s medical bills and healthcare.
John’s one heck of a shutterbug,
having gotten up close and personal with everyone from Howard
Zinn and Betty
Friedan to Joey and Dee
Dee Ramone and the stray dogs of Havana. (Read here about his photos of aging
punk rockers). But he’s also an excellent sculptor.
Witness his recent masterwork “Snatching A Glance,” in which a glass eyeball
peers penetratingly from a pair of crotchless panties.
Hot stuff. However, John clarifies:
“even with the interspecies action, altered sex-toy sculpture and a couple of
semi-to-full-on explicit photos, “Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipebomb” still winds up
being more erratic than erotic.”