Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Film and Collage

Posting my 1979 film ‘Roadside Attractions’ this week on Vimeo got me thinking of my art school days. I was a Painting major, but I spent most of my time there making movies and animated films. I had good timing -- when I enrolled at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, they had just decided that their new film-making course would count as a Painting credit. All through high school I had been intent on becoming a painter. But I found myself uninterested in traditional painting just as I entered a school that was actually trying to teach it. Blame it on John Cage, and Dada, and the bevy of other new approaches to art I was finding out about at the time. But film-making suited me perfectly. My instructor had a passion for the experimental and the conceptual. We were shown early films like “Un Chien Andalou” (not a particularly easy film to see in the pre-youtube days, I assure you) as well as the more-recent films of Stan Brakhage and Harry Smith. And we were given the tools and the time to make our own super-8 films. You can see the Harry Smith influence in the animated cut-out portions of “Roadside Attractions,” and also a collage aesthetic that I would return to again and again, even after my interest in traditional painting resurfaced. From “Roadside Attractions”:

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