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Artists at Work: ‘Muralmorphosis’ and ‘Inside the Painter’s Studio’

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January 5, 2010   ·   2 Comments

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle and Scott Frankel, September, 2009

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.

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle and Scott Frankel, September, 2009

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle and Scott Frankel, September, 2009


'Muralmorphosis' by Bonnie Brenda Scott (with assistance),September, 2009

'Muralmorphosis' by Bonnie Brenda Scott (with assistance),September, 2009

The screening was at basekamp and while I was searching for the correct doorway I ran into three students from the Asian Arts Initiative (below) who were also looking for the event.

Sean Stoops at the film viewing, December 12, 2009, basecamp

Sean Stoops at the film viewing, December 12, 2009, basekamp

Linda Saroeun, Suny Uy and Ratha Chea at film screening

Linda Saroeun, Suny Uy and Ratha Chea at film screening

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.

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle, Joshua Frankel, Bonnie Brenda Scott and Mauro Zamora

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle, Joshua Frankel, Bonnie Brenda Scott and Mauro Zamora

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle, Joshua Frankel, Bonnie Brenda Scott and Mauro Zamora

'Muralmorphosis' by Eve Biddle, Joshua Frankel, Bonnie Brenda Scott and Mauro Zamora

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.

Hiro Sakaguchi and Anne Camfield at film screening

Hiro Sakaguchi and Anne Camfield at film screening

Joe Fig ‘Inside the Painter’s Studio’

Inside Painter4'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.

Chuck Close in his New York City studio, all photos © Joe Fig

Chuck Close in his New York City studio, all photos © Joe Fig

April Gornick’s New York City studio

April Gornick’s New York City studio

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.

Ryan McGuinness in his New York City studio

Ryan McGuinness in his New York City studio

detail of Joan Snyder’s Brooklyn studio

detail of Joan Snyder’s Brooklyn studio

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.

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2 responses to “Artists at Work: ‘Muralmorphosis’ and ‘Inside the Painter’s Studio’”

  1. Ben says:

    ….and Sean Stoops will be showing a project of his own work at Rebekah Templeton opening Jan 14!

  2. Sean says:

    Two additional contributing artists from Muralmorphosis didn’t get props here: Rodney Camarce and Seth Turner. They are both amazing artists.

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