Last month I attended the first screening of Muralmorphosis, the short animated film documenting the mural project of the same name curated by Sean Stoops (and organized by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program) at 2nd and Race Streets during the 2009 Fringe Festival last September.
The mural (which I missed, I’m afraid) was painted by Eve Biddle, Joshua Frankel, Bonnie Brenda Scott and Mauro Zamora, and rather than collaborate on developing and executing one design the artists painted over one another’s work so the mural evolved over the two weeks of the festival.
The film is incredibly witty, lively and fun; quite the opposite of the proverbial watching paint dry. It was edited by Frankel and directed by Stoops with a score composed from the music of Planet Y with Charles Cohen and Yanni Papadopoulos. Sean told me he’s entering it in upcoming film festivals, so watch for it! It’s as good as any film on art that I’ve seen.
Joe Fig ‘Inside the Painter’s Studio’
I was sent a copy of Inside the Painter’s Studio (ISBN 978-1-56898-852-8), which I’ve been dipping into slowly. It’s a perfect book to read short bits of at a time – hence when your reading time must be grabbed between other responsibilities. Fig is an artist who’s created a series of miniature representations of other artist’s studios in obsessive detail, down to the last, squeezed tube of paint. I saw an exhibition of his amazing work at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach some years ago. Most of the constructions are 8 or 9.5 inches high, although the largest reach 4 feet.
In researching the project he had many conversations with the artists and at some point realized that they were worth recording. The 24 artists range from the renowned to the little-known and cover three generations. Fig developed a series of questions, mostly about the studio itself and the artist’s working habits, so that he asked more or less the same information of everyone. And each of the interviews is accompanied by numerous pictures of the studio and preceded by Fig’s miniature version.
It’s a wonderful book for artists and for anyone who’s a voyeur of other people’s work spaces. For art historians, collectors or other art lovers it has the same appeal as paintings that show studio spaces: it brings us closer to the artists and hints at their working habits. Some studios resemble industrial spaces while others have a domestic feel. One artist lines up paint tubes like toy soldiers and another assembles chaotic arrays. We get to see the photos, post cards and ephemera that artists tack to their bulletin boards. It’s a secondhand intimacy, but seductive nonetheless.