The famous Andrew Blake (also known as Paul Nevitt) hardly needs any introduction. His erotic films have changed the adult entertainment industry. A true revolutionary of his craft, Mr. Blake has been producing and directing films since 1989, when Night Trips became the only pornographic film ever to win a cinematic medal at a professional international film festival. Hidden Obsessions and Blond and Brunettes are his two most recognizable films, but he has produced and directed many award-winning films. His ongoing success has made him an AVN Hall of Fame inductee.
His films attract mainstream audiences, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. Blake has perfected a balance between eroticism and cinematic excellence. His visionary focus on form, expression, lighting, and style separates him from the everyday pornographer. His keen attention to detail ensures that each one of his films - all of his projects - communicate an erotic journey that most often illuminates the sacredness of the female body. Through erotic imagery and a highly stylized cinematic experience, Blake invites viewers into his sexual world.
Fascinated with and appreciative of Blake's work, VibeReview prayed for an interview. No AVN experience would be complete without a few intimate words shared with this fabulous man. Luckily, Blake allowed us to interview him at the AVN show, where he is an extremely popular person. Andrew Blake is a busy man, so VibeReview's interview with the genius was one to remember. This articulate and cuddly man took time out of his busy schedule for VibeReview - and we appreciate it!
I heard a rumor: You only make three films a year. Is this true?
Yeah, making new films takes me a lot of time - I don't make them like I would cook sausages. Strange comparison, I know. It's just that I don't want to mass create films. A 'quality versus quantity' situation is what I am getting at. My films are really handmade. I wait for all the specifics to fall into place. Like, for example, the ideal model. I will wait until I find the perfect person for the role. I don't want to rush the creative process. Why should I? I want each model to be the right model for the right role in a perfect film.
Lately, I've been blessed with fantastic girls. I consider myself lucky and fortunate for the current talent base that I've had an opportunity to work with. These girls are the "top" girls in the business. More and more, women like to work with other women; and, recently, I've had the opportunity to work with these women. It's obvious that beautiful women tend to start their career in the hardcore scene, but after a few weeks these same women change career paths. They decide to explore other options because they are afraid of diseases, or they don't like the scene itself.
I spend a lot of time with my wardrobe specialist, picking her brain. Since she picks out the lingerie and outfits for the girls, I want to know what she envisions. It's the entire creative process, and it takes time. Oh, and a lot of the outfits are handmade - the outfits are either custom-designed for the model or we go to the wardrobe houses at the movie studios. We even set out to find the right outfit! I'm very careful with all the details.
I do not shoot on tape, which is what most other people do. I shoot only film. The technical process is labor intensive, but absolutely worth the extra effort. I do all the casting, find all the film locations...basically, I direct the design, the image. Of course, I also do all the editing. My films take a long time - from start to finish. I make sure all the details are arranged in a way that makes everyone happy. In order to accomplish my goals, I am only devoting myself to three films a year.
How did you get into this business?
I was a painting major in college. Francis Bacon - the famous English painter in the'60s and '70s - inspired me. I wanted to communicate my ideas in a similar way to Francis Bacon, through painting. I wasn't a very good painter! While still enrolled in college, I began working on syndicated radio shows at a local radio station. After finishing college, I started working as an art director for a TV station in Boston: I did animation and photography. Exposed to different areas, I was able to get my feet wet and learn about the creative process.
After working in Boston, I ended up moving to New York City, where I worked as an art director at CBS News. As fate would have it, I met my future wife while working at CBS. We eventually moved back to Boston; my wife wanted to attend art school there. I got back into animation, and for a long time! I worked with a guy who got a contract to do an animated special for NBC, which led me to Los Angeles - and we've been in LA ever since then! Another twist of fate. Life's full of them!
I spent a lot of time in the animation industry, but I eventually got sick of it. As a hobby, I had always photographed nude women - well, nudes. Around that time, like '83 or '84, the Playboy channel had just started up. I decided to test the waters of the industry, and also myself. I self-produced a short ten minute erotic piece that Playboy ended up loving. I began shooting centerfolds for Playboy, which I liked for a little while. I kind of got tired of centerfold photography; I didn't like directing the girl's hands, which is important with that type of photography.
So, I started photographing and filming women with my style in mind - really developing my interpretation of hardcore with beautiful women and spectacular backdrops. I became very successful at doing this. I found my own style, which is important for every artist. By this time I began working for Penthouse, where I started a line of videos. Then I decided to make another hardcore erotic film, Hidden Obsessions. It became wildly successful. I did all of this while I was still doing videos and centerfolds for Penthouse. Fortunately for me, Penthouse allowed me the freedom to experiment and express myself. I did my own thing, you see. Eventually, after making several films, my wife and I started Studio A, where we own and self-produce everything.
Some people have described your films as "yuppie porn." What do you think about this label?
It's not some strategic marketing plan. It's about doing what I want to do and what, at least so far, seems appealing to many people. My sensibilities, my obsessions - that's the only plan in motion. My films have nothing to do with pleasing the "average" porn viewer. Sure, I invite everyone to enjoy my films, my work; but I don't set out to please any one type of person or porn fan.
Are your films indicative of your personal fantasies?
Yes, absolutely. I was obsessed with this one model that I worked with for 12 years, Dahlia Grey. My movies basically revolved around my obsession for her, like, I'd want to see her in new skirts that I found, or see her in a corner, standing a certain way...or seeing her in bondage in the trunk of my car. A muse, sort of. Sometimes it was soft, sometimes harder. She and I were never physically together. I always thought that if I had sex with her it would burst the balloon. There was always a tension between us. We always battled it, but that tension translated into great film.
I see your films lean more toward erotic art than "pornography." Some professionals claim your films aren't "hardcore" enough, but when I watch your films I can tell that you understand women - physically, emotionally, and sexually. How is it possible for you to know so much about women?
Well, I love women. I love everything about women. A total fascination and obsession. It boils down to that. If a viewer doesn't believe my films are "hardcore" enough, then there are a zillion other pornographic avenues to choose from. That's cool thing about the adult entertainment industry: There's plenty to choose from.
I have often thought of your films as aphrodisiacs, especially for couples who go wild watching the cinematic experience you create.
I think a lot of it is the technical way something is filmed. I film double-speed, so it slows everything down. When the action is slowed down, when everything goes a little slower, it adds to an already sensual scene. Like a hand moving slowly down a woman's breast - instead of a hand violently running down a woman's breast. Capturing every intimate detail is essential - it's what makes me happy.
You know a woman's body. What's the most erotic part of the female anatomy?
Neck bones and underarms. I love both. I love legs, a certain kind of breast, and a beautiful butt. It's the whole package for me, not just one individual part. It's gotta be everything. I try to find drop-dead gorgeous women for all my films, and they can't have fake breasts. They have to have an innate beauty in them.
Do you find that some women who are excluded from the typical "supermodel" definition have so much self-confidence and inner sexuality that they exude sensuality on film? How important is innate beauty?
Great question! Yes, physical beauty is wonderful, but there's a deeper level that's more interesting. A deeper level that's certainly more important. Dahlia Grey is the perfect example of this. She's a Brazilian model who has the entire package - beauty, inner-beauty, and sensuality. She oozes inner energy and sexuality. She's always hugging, always laughing. Her body and mind...drop-dead gorgeous.
Do you have a favorite personal lubricant?
What's your favorite movie that you've made? What movie are you most proud of?
Hidden Obsessions and Decadence are my two personal favorites. The quality of these films impresses even me!
Many of your films explore sexual fetishes. What is it about fetishism that appeals to you?
I'm not into whips and chains - well, I guess I am into whips and chains from a visual perspective. I don't get into that lifestyle. Filming it and participating in it is two different things. In real life, that lifestyle is about trust and vulnerability, whereas on film it's more about filming that trust and vulnerability in action. It becomes voyeuristic.
What do you think is the secret to a passionate love life?
Variety. I was married for 30 years. We recently divorced, so now I am playing the field. I brought out my sexual energy in films while I was married. Not in real life or in my married life.
Is there anyone making films that you view as competition? Or any new films that you like?
It depends what you are into. I'm very impressed with Stuntgirl by Jack the Zipper.
Andrew, thank you for your time! I know you are a wanted man. I appreciate you spending a few minutes with me. Good luck to you.
Thanks. I have a good time with these interviews. Great questions, by the way. We'll meet again, I am sure. Take care.