The Anarchistic Experimentalist… That’s Me

The now infamous artist Magritte in the 40’s created what became commonly known as his so-called “Bad Paintings”. These were a series of works that were perpetrated toward a more abstracted figurative style. They were purposely painted “badly” using what was then described by art critics and patrons as “bad colors”… or as I tend to believe “unacceptable colors”.

I actually preferred these “non-compliant pieces” much more than some of his “well painted pieces “. I believe it must have been completely liberating for him to paint this way after painting in a specifically structured style for so long. You can actually see, if you look closely enough, with an awareness… that the structured paintings were done almost mechanically, like a bad trompe L’oeil. It was as if all of the pure joy had been literally sucked out of these pieces and replaced with a bank account. Unfortunately the public’s response to his new style was less than warm and inevitably he reverted back to his old style. Poor Magritte.
 
Sometimes I worry about the depths of true artistic freedom being lost. Right now I can film whatever the hell I want… whenever I want. I enjoy a certain amount of freedom that some filmmakers/artists may never enjoy again if their whole being is wrapped up in a certain type of iconic commercial “image” of sorts. It’s within these unfounded “popular expectations” that the artist/filmmaker becomes entangled and stagnant. Unlike writers who are often told to “write about what you know”, artists/filmmakers can develop and evolve tremendously within that far less traveled unknown place…

What I’m doing now with my work is trying to create a certain amount of flexibility within the work so that it can retain a certain amount of integrity and cohesiveness, and have it all be enjoyable and experimental and ALWAYS open to interpretation at the same time. I don’t want to lose my freedom… but I don’t want concern myself with audience expectations. I would rather have 100 people CRAVING my work… than millions of people who only want to see it because it’s “trendy” and “mainstream”. Okay, so I’m not about to win over the Hollywood crowd. Who cares?

Think about your life’s purpose often and deeply. Ask, “Why am I really doing this?” Trust me, if you ask yourself this enough, you will devote as much energy and time as you can to your own personal passions… and therein lies true success. You see “my” truth is I never actually “decided” to become a filmmaker all at once; somehow via a more strange and meandering route derived of this totally non-compliant inner necessity I felt… I essentially evolved into one.

Whether it’s an article or a film, our unspoken bargain is still the same: you want to be enlightened, stimulated, challenged, fascinated, enthralled, entertained, and/or moved by an experience that is both consequential and well crafted (and by crafted I don’t mean structured). If I want to keep you intrigued, my words, or the frames in my film, must be well edited. For me, editing is nothing more than an act of faith… I never really know where I’m going or how I’ll get there and I don’t want to know. It’s all trial and error. Like some massive puzzle where the pieces are much more far-reaching and compatible in any sequence. Sometimes a seemingly absurd concept eventually leads to a better resolution.

I am absorbed and devoted to a process of discovery. What catches my eye? What makes me laugh, cry, scream… and most importantly… think? What matters and what doesn’t? The more things you are capable of “observing” the more potential connections there are to be made. I often think of editing in terms of chemistry, conjuring images and/or sounds as “particles”… having what a chemist would call “valence,” or what the dictionary defines as the “relative capacity to unite, react, or interact…combining power.” The combination of a specific sound with a specific image, or the juxtaposition of two images, becomes a kind of cinematic “molecule,” itself… capable or bonding with other image and sound aspects to form longer string of molecules… or perceptions. They, in turn, can be combined to form more elaborate cinematic sequences, compounds of thought.

Whether documentary, dramatic, or experimental, it’s all a kind of chemistry. And it all begins with one person alone with a camera who can find beauty, meaning and metaphor in the world simply by immersing in the flow of daily life, and looking around.

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~ by upbeatmag on December 14, 2008.

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