shaye saint john

UPDATES #7 : Shaye Saint John

As we await new works to be released from many of our artists here, we wrap up our last update on someone who it may seem no update is possible. There are a few things to say though, and hopefully some more insight to follow.

Our own “GodMother of Absurdist Video Art”, Shaye Saint John, remains gone, though her online work, and legacy continues on.

Hard to believe her last upload was 5 years ago, yet recent comments to her online videos are only days/weeks old, with many being: “Is the uploader truly dead?” User ‘BrittanyBearz01’ replies, “Yes, it seriously breaks my heart :(”

But it’s user ‘ADancingRobot’ who sums it up perfectly:

It speaks volumes about the impact Shaye has made with his art when here we are almost 6 years later commenting on the beauty, horror, and intrigue of his videos. RIP you sick, brilliant fuck.



This speaks towards the new media as well, the new situation in relation to arts, cinema, video arts especially. And that a “one night retrospective” is no longer relevant or needed. The retrospective is a continuous every day event, attracting new admirers all the time, in real time, every time.

In Shaye’s case, we did miss out on a huge behind the scenes aspect, made even larger and more frustratingly curious, by the nature of her, er, HIS work. Shaye, in real life, was that of Eric Fournier, who kept himself distinctly separate from his creation. Though a very nice, albeit brief nugget has surfaced, more on that in a moment.

As far as updates for Shaye go, there had been talk after Eric’s passing, that enough unearthed material had surfaced for a SECOND dvd release to be in the works. This was big news and very exciting. But since then there hasn’t been anything, and after attempted emails to the friend who appeared to be handling Shayes old myspace account and had made the announcement, no reply was ever returned.

My guess is the mountain of editing involved, and perhaps the realization, and now appreciation for the unique style Eric had with his sound design, purposeful cheesy layered effects, and quick cuts that made the task seem too much to take on.

What has surfaced over the past few years is a brief behind the scenes look at Eric’s Los Angeles residence where he lived with a roommate who apparently still lives there now and knew the exact spots where specific scenes were shot. He spoke on Eric’s long editing sessions, with mega render times (this being back in the day and all. )

I attempted contact with the guy who shot the piece, in a further attempt to get contact info for the roommate and possibly get an interview with him for more insight on Eric and his unique creation that continues to haunt, cause hilarity and utter internet confusion to this very day. Someone right now is watching a Shaye Saint John video wondering what in the fuck is going on.

No reply from the video maker as of yet.

Here’s his behind the scene’s piece of the late Shaye’s residence:

And of course, some classic Shaye:









“TRIGGERS” – Selected Triggers from Various AV Artists

It's Time

“Triggers” a term possibly first coined by Eric Fournier to describe some of his short spasmatic Shaye Saint John pieces, can also be extended to describe other Absurd Video Artists who have been employing this style for years.

Neither “short film” nor “sketch piece”, these triggers tend to exist somewhere between “test clip” and “stand alone visual art”.

To the archaic alternative and even experimental film purveyor, Trigger pieces have been discounted and swept aside as their lack of label have confused and agitated the alter-establishment (of course showing 20 seconds of mundane 16mm leader film is acceptable in the usual avant garde circles and considered part of a risk taking experimental film.  “Ooooh, he showed leader!”  Pathetic, par usual).

But Triggers can also be seen as “releases”.  Similar to a gun enthusiast feeling the heavy urge to pull a trigger and unload a few rounds, the video artist similarly experiences the necessity to unload using whatever creative arsenals on hand.

Triggers are performed without the restraint of the usual mundane burdens of visual coherency, plots, titles, credits etc.  They’re meant to trigger off some creative energy for creativity’s  sake;  the necessary high that a quick heroin street fix brings to the junkie, the video creator locks, loads,  and spews forth a premature ejaculation through the visual medium.

Here are  some random triggers from American Films, Heck Boyd, and Shaye Saint John.

The Amazing Shaye Saint John

The Amazing Shaye Saint John
By Ferguson Ulrich

Shaye Saint John burst onto the YouTube scene in 2006, with short, usually 3-5 minute, works of absurdly beautiful bizarreness which achieved both epic horror status as well as absolute original comedic genius. Shaye garnered a relatively large following, most likely of which not knowing what in the hell to think of her, or him, or it. A DVD was created and put out by Indican Pictures in 2004. Apparently some festivals and curators had shown the work, but as usual, most experimental curators where asleep at the wheel having blindly passed up the amazing work of Shaye Saint John.

The character of Shaye consisted of other worldly, almost alien like qualities; talkng in an odd extraterrestrial like voice and looking like something between a crippled multiple amputee victim and a severely botched plastic surgery patient (a rough backstory had spread of Shaye being an ex model in a horrible car wreck left badly disfigured). Shaye rolled with her whatever condition and poised as some sort of starlet with entrepreneurial ventures such as skin tape sessions and drip drop diets. Her epic catch phrases (“gawd! gams! twenty four seven!”) were delivered in a way that was all Shaye; a language of her own, existing in a world of her own with her sometimes sidekick Kiki and (imaginary?) friends that she bantered with on the phone.

It appeared the Shaye action was taking place in Los Angeles as indicated by early street performances of Shaye being wheeled around in a wheelchair getting pictures taken with tourists in Hollywood. The L.A. scene was fitting, but really it could have been anywhere, USA, as we see the reality wannabee star transgressions exist country-wide; the allure of making it, dieting down to look like the celebrities and ultimately becoming that star or starlet in some fashion. All an ingrained American dream that draws allure from every crevice of the country.

A legend in her own mind Shaye seemed to be. But the Shaye legend was cemented solid electronically and worldwide through the digital landscape, as evidenced not only by the online views, but the strong reactions, utter confusions, and high accolades garnered; Shaye was indeed, the real deal.

In reality the real deal was Eric Fournier. He was the creator of Shaye Saint John. It’s unclear of the exact particulars; was he the one behind the bizarro mannequin mask? Was he the sped up other worldly voice? Since it appears many of the Shaye pieces have a “moving camera”, perhaps Eric was behind the lens, directing all of the action and providing dialogue. We only know of Eric from the “directorial” credit he did leave on the DVD. It was assumed that he played Shaye, but never confirmed to my knowledge.

Sadly, Eric died early this year in late February. There are some old producer credits on his IMBD page, and some notoriety attached to him from being in a known punk band during the 80’s called The Blood Farmers. Other than that, little has surfaced as of this writing and as of this writers online searching.

YouTube accounts don’t automatically die when the physical body ceases operation, so Shaye continues to live on in the electronic landscape, garnering more and more views daily. On the Shaye YouTube profile page the comments do report and recognize that Shaye (Eric) has passed. Many of the comments from hate to praise all show what a strong and effective absurdist force we have lost.

For online links to Shaye Saint John including the DVD and the YouTube page which contains 50 plus pieces of Shayes amazing work, please visit –

Ferguson Ulrich writes on the new absurdist cinema and features videos and writings of current bizarre and relevant works at

Article Source: