I always chose to make my life like something out of an incredible movie; I chose to be a wild character who just did whatever he wanted, and that’s exactly how it's been. I was never going to be the boring good guy; "the can’t wait til Friday" lifestyle wasn’t ever going to be for me. That's not my style.
My name is Jesse Walker, and I'm a self-taught artist, designer, and photographer, and I enjoy nothing more than being controversial and destroying the safe and sometimes sickening little bubbles that societies choose to live in. Nothing is safe around me: fake religions, fake foods in supermarkets, fake medical systems. fake educational systems, fake news, fake wars, your jobs, your weekends getting drunk to escape the life you pretend to like, even your thinking. If you're around me, you'll hear it, and I have come to be a bearer of truth in this world. Yes, being like this has certainly gotten me into a shitload of trouble over the years.
I would describe my attitude and style towards life as a mix of intense heavy metal and serene classical like Mozart or Bach. My whole personal message is one of total rebellion and rejection of the system and its program, which is our current way of thinking designed to keep you enslaved, obedient, and fearful—and also from the truth. It is also the honour of natural beauty, not the kind of beauty that our societies have told you is beautiful either. I mean raw, natural beauty. Whether it's being old with wrinkles and grey hair or having black skin or anything that contradicts what they try to force down your throat as beautiful, that's why, for my earlier ENKI campaigns, I would travel to Africa and shoot my sunglasses on tribes. It was a massive "fuck-you" to an entire culture that continually markets its versions of pretty people. What I was really saying was, "This is what I think is beautiful; I completely reject your trashy, fake beauty that makes people feel less superior."
My photos are my symbols. They're another huge "fuck-you" to the controlling system that most people are unknowingly asleep in; they're explosively dangerous and represent a total boycott and rejection of the program and its control, and that's exactly what has gotten me arrested, jailed, and banned in Egypt, Turkey, and Italy. They were a huge slap in the face for these insanely corrupt cabals that are using religion as their main form of control.
How dare these two artists (a playboy cover model turned activist and a self-proclaimed pirate) just travel around carefree and flaunt their message of total rebellion, that religion is fake, total freedom, and complete anarchy, by taking naked photos in front of our biggest icons and getting away with it? All they could do was ban our websites and blacklist us. The Egyptian government even tried to say we photoshopped the pictures in one news article—that's how badly they were embarrassed and didn't want this message to get out. I remember, while we were being interrogated before facing court, this Egyptian official saying to me with such conviction, "You're a very dangerous man." I'll never forget that. I took it as a great compliment, and to this day I wear it as a great badge of honour.
I enjoyed huge controversy for these campaigns with my one and only greatest muse, Marisa Papen. Making global headlines after each country we visited, we even got a full page in the New York Post for one of my photos of her stark naked in front of the Great Khufu Pyramid of Giza. I remember the headline reading something like "Going Tuts Up." Model and photographer arrested in Egypt over nude photoshoot. We became notorious and even gave ourselves the nicknames "Bonny" and "Clyde," and we enjoyed every minute of the stories the press would write about us. Things like "Controversial Former Playboy Model Faces Turkish Jail for Nude Mosque Photoshoot" or "Risky Behaviour Lands ‘Idiot’ Australian in Egyptian Prison" were some of the headlines you would see. For us, it was hilarious.
We live on such a precious and beautiful planet, and I sometimes wonder how it would be with no religions and no control systems. It's hard to even imagine, but there's no doubt that there are planets out there that exist like this.
Again, my message is one of complete freedom, and I encourage people to think freely and live without any limitations. To not go where most go, to walk your own path even if that means going against everything you’re being told to do. even if that means going against a culture, a tradition, a religion, or even the law. Just walk your own way, completely free of any type of control.
Self portrait Bali 2022