Making Revisions Update (29/8/16)

I’ve just taken down Laying Tracks (2016) from the members show. After seeing some work yesterday that which included in the title “Revised” should I be revising this piece? It’s not something I would usually or want to do as I believe that once a piece is out in the world it is up to the viewer to determine it’s future.I thought I’d take the opportunity to see what the piece would be like minus the train, would it be less literal? Was it literal to begin with? A part of me says yes, I’m really undecided. I took some quick photos of hoe the piece would look, taking into account the other portion of the piece, the Bismuth camp.

I feel that there’s something more to the piece minus the train and riders, however It would have to be re-positioned in the space to have more impact.

I must say that the crit-group has been playing on my mind. Considering which direction to go down, so far I have written a survey to gauge what public perceptions of what is essentially the American Holocaust. So far I have had the some interesting responses, some raw and honest, whilst others more predictable such as where we get our history of 19th century America.

I have decided to animate the last sequence this will bring closure to the production allowing a wider more dramatic piece for whatever’s produced, animation, children’s book or even faux politically correct play set. The animation could accompany it. I have also contact the Federal dept of Education to ask what aspects of Native American history is taught in schools for greater understanding. I’ll probably get a few more ideas, which lead to questions being asked.

Hour of the Gun (1967) Revisited

Hour of the Gun (1967)All I really remembered from The Hour of the Gun (1967) is mainly the blue skies and the train scenes which inspired a platform shelter I made a few years ago in the studio. After revisiting The Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957) I knew I would ultimately be taking a look at the later take on the Wyatt Earp biopic’s that was also directed by   John Sturges which I’ve never known why.  John Ford never thought to return to the town of Tombstone after My Darling Clementine (1946). Maybe it was a chance for Sturges to rewrite what he made a decade earlier. Feeling he could have served the legend more respectfully. I suppose he could have also wanted to carry on the legend beyond the gunfight at the infamous corral where the Clanton/Earp war came to a head.

I wonder what these two films would be like if played back to back? As one finishes at the gunfight, the later begins just before, no bravado, just silent build up, no dialogue, a few meetings of the eyes as both sides meet. Already the second half is more mature, we lose the big screen personalities of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas for actors who can really be lost in the roles. James Garner (Earp) and Jason Robards (Doc Holiday) who are more suited, it’s not about the image of the actor, more about the legend which is being retold and extended. Going into more detail to the events after the gunfight that up to that point had been forgotten. That’s one thing film can do, draw on forgotten parts, all with a touch of Hollywood magic of course.

The first real attempt at full of realism of the events in both films comes in Tombstone (1993) and Wyatt Earp (1994) I still can’t decided which is the better film. Back to John Sturges gunfight we are now looking at the consequences of what was ultimately a questionable act by lawmen, who killed the Clanton’s with such force, the gunfight is over before you even realise it’s begun. We do still have Ike Clanton (Robert Ryan) who is out for revenge and power throughout the film. Even thought Ryan comes from the golden age of film, due to his age he’s better suited to the, never quite making it to the star status of his contemporaries but could easily act the socks off of them.

Looking at this as part of two the Wyatt Earp legend the characters are paired down to just a few brothers. We loose Holiday’s mistress friend Laura Denbow (Rhonda Fleming), written out completely, not even being mentioned. Its all about that important relationship and seeking revenge for the deaths and attacks on his family. Using the framework of the law to get revenge, loosely called justice, or his version of justice. Holiday becomes Earp’s conscience as Earp is more ready to release the lead from his six-shooter. And you can’t blame him. The law and order he has built up is being under-mind. His family at the receiving end of violence. What started out as a cattle war becomes a family war, there’s more at stake, more drama when blood is involved, both sides have been hurt here.

If I’m honest, this is not my favourite incarnation of the legend, however it does start to really explore what these two iconic men of the Wild West. They are not just cooped up in the towns the helped bring law and order to, We explore their lives beyond, as they travel the Arizona territory, trying to stay alive and settle the wrongs that have been made. The Hour of the Gun (1967) is a maturer take on a historical figure that he had not yet received. There are not great big set-pieces in this film that focuses more on character and fact which works in it’s favor. Maybe Sturges has matured also as a director, wanting to bring more truth the legend that has become that facts that everyone takes for granted.

Mimsy – Sylvanian Families get radicalised

I’m still looking at how toys have been used to make a political point, and this is very biting and for the artist – Mimsy, very dangerous. Using these Sylvanian Family toys from the 1990’s which are very innocent,

“I was inspired by the theocratic barbarism of ISIS, the obvious fear of terrorism in the west, and the neo-liberal denial of any actual threat.”

The staging of the work is that of an advert that you can find in a catalogue, which is something I have been thinking about in the last few hours, set the pieces up as part of a larger set, the work would take a photographic form.

Mimsy - MICIS (2015) 2 Mimsy - MICIS (2015) 1

Santlov – Woody and Buzz

I’m starting to regroup after yesterdays crit which I am starting to understand where things may possible go. A revisionist western may not be the way forward now. I might have had the blinkers on. It maybe the presentation of the piece in the current show that maybe at fault – I don’t know. Anyway I’ve just found an artist who works with toys – Santlov; a Miami based artist. I’ve found a few inspirational pieces from his ToysRLikeUs series. Placing toys in everyday modern situations. I’ve focused on the Toy Story pieces, (this is just a selection) as they are Toys originally, even though they are characters from a film. It’s an interesting complication of the work. This early research as I look into the idea of politically correct play-sets which I have in essence created. The Animation becomes an accompaniment which I like the idea of, as it would tie up the work without wasting it, as if they are small adverts or shorts that go alongside.

Making Revisions Update (24/8/16) crit group

I’ve not long got back from this months crit group that was held during the members show. I’ve come away initially feeling I’ve wasted a year of my creative life on this piece that I was told could be read as literal. It hurts when I’ve put so much work, time and what I thought was thinking into this animation. I have to share what was mentioned otherwise I wont be able to process it for myself. This blog/website is an open sketchbook.

  • Have I carried out a survey to find out if the general public, UK etc are aware if what my work is about. The American Holocaust is what I am talking about, dumbed down for the Western, or an aspect of it. Are people as aware as I think or am I underestimating them, that I really don’t know. A survey maybe something coming in the near future.
  • Could the work be a politically correct play-set? That could be a way forward to save the work. However I would need to work on the present the work.
  • At the moment it looks like a conventional narrative, which is fair comment as it is.
  • Considering playing the narrative from the enemies point of view, now that means it should be the the traditional Native American, which I hope I already have which are generally just an obstacle, which I’ve said on numerous occasions. Maybe its about the viewpoint visually too so we are looking at the Westerner, the pioneer attack the audience.
  • The truth is out there already – am I just repeating what is already known to my audience? I’m really unsure now, I don’t know what to think.
  • Make more buffalo, increasing the number from 9 to say 100 or even 1,000 etc. They slowly disappear over the course of the piece. This could be a video or installation piece, not sure how it would take form at the moment. This could be a powerful piece.
  • Take a step back and look at the basic questions, what am asking, investigating, what is driving the work originally. This is something I will be doing by course now to see what is going on in my head.
  • Look at the Chapman Brothers, who I am already aware of in more detail, their model pieces.
  • The concept needs to come before the mechanism, meaning the model miniatures which are at the centre of the work at the moment. Should they really be there, I’m willing to give them up if I can hold onto something, the idea whatever it is.
  • Look at a LOT of political art, this is, should and will be a political piece that needs refining if I am to save it.
  • Design a workshop, which is the most appropriate thing to use the model miniatures for.

You can see I have a lot to consider, I’m not looking forward to it but it has to be done before I move forward again with this piece.

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

The Good Dinosaur (2015)I rarely review Pixar films, as I have said before when I came to Inside Out (2015) which really fired me up to review. A very successful film that explores a the emotions of a girl on the cusp of puberty. A very relatable film that was both thoughtful and very fun for all young and old.  Turning the other film that was released by the studio last year – The Good Dinosaur (2015) I come away very frustrated and ultimately cheated by the genius studio who rarely under deliver on their out-put.

Like many others who are animation fans, who have grown up with Pixar from Toy Story (1995) to the present day I have rarely been let down, its been an emotional journey from childhood to manhood with these film. The quality of the work has improved from the simplistic yet for its day sophisticated animation and rendering that has brought these characters and stories to life. When you compare the two films Pixar released last year there really is no comparison, it was a bald move to release both Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur last year. You can see where the creative energy was really channeled. The detail and experimentation that goes into all of their films has been thrown into Inside Out which really benefits from it, requiring everything to create this complex world of a child’s mind as it begins to undergo mental changes during puberty. I can’t find a flaw with the film and if I could I would have to watch the film over and scrutinise it to death.

Flaws are however aplenty with The Good Dinosaur which starts out with potential to be something interesting as we watching the asteroid that’s meant to wipe out the prehistoric creatures just misses them by a mile or so. Becoming just another sight in the night sky. Then 1 million years later we’re greeted by a couple of green dinosaurs, I think Diplodocus’ who are farming, which really doesn’t make sense. Why are dinosaurs farming the land, having the ability to build a hut to live in and a seed store. Just how did they do that with just their take, stumpy hands, legs and head. I just don’t buy it, maybe the kids do because I can’t see it happening. I get it that they are herbivores so are working the land, but why would they do that when they have long necks and just reach up get what they want. A lot of licence has been taken here so the audience can relate.

Looking at the rendered world they inhabit it feels that a lot more time’s taken to work on the scenery and foreground for the film than the dinosaurs who sadly need a lot more work. I feel that during the pre-production stage of the film they had gone through a series of designs, some got lost along the way, probably taken by one if a few directors who were asked to leave, stormed off with the better designs, leaving us with these caricatures which really don’t represent what the studio is really capable off. All they can really do now is get behind a bad job and make the most of it. I feel that these green dinosaurs have not moved on far from one of their earlier shorts Lifted (2006) which is 10 years old and is focused on Aliens which you really can caricature as imagination is more important here.

It shouldn’t be like that the sophistication of a film that’s released 9 years after a short in 2006 should be of a better standard. Even the short accompanying Finding Dory (2016) – Piper (2016) is more sophisticated and heart warming. Nothing in that short is left out. Set at a beach of sea birds as a young chick is finding confidence to find its own food. Another flaw, well niggle was that the three children that are hatched grown at incredibly different rates, Libby, Buck and Arlo who contribute to the family farm. With the focus of the film is little, literally little Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) who is basically a coward. Which is unfair really but its all I got from him and I found it very grating after a while.

In all fairness this is a kids film but even most kids have more about them then to cower away at the first sign of trouble. The scrawny caveman child Spot (Jack Bright) has far more about him, even though he’s seen initially as the pest who causes havoc on the farm. The caveman boy is actually more engaging and enjoyable to watch than the dinosaur, which just shows how good the film is, or not.

Of course it’s about the dinosaur that could, or really tries at least, it falls short for me in most places. As much as its trying to be a few films, at times it’s The Lion King (1994) which it can’t even effectively reference, there’s no power or drama to the death scene that sees Arlo needing to prove himself. This could have been so much more in many departments, the rendering for me is the biggie, if you spend more time rendering the cowboy T-Rex’s than your protagonist, something is seriously wrong. It feels rush as it transposes elements from other Disney films to this “should be still in production” film. It has heart in there somewhere, if only they actually found it and pumped it up.


Laying Tracks (2016)

Laying the Tracks (2016) is part of a larger body of work that forms a revisionist western conceived from the artist perspective of the genre; re-addressing the on-screen depiction of Native Americans. Using the non-PC language of “Cowboy and Indian” figures which is expanded upon to explore the 19th century history that forms part of the Myth of Conquest – the Western which sees the nation reduced to faceless, nameless savages. The history that’s explored is watered down for White consumption and blurred. Laying the tracks (2016) looks at the intrusion of the Iron Horse on the Indian plains of America, with the fictional Bismuth Nation who have moved closer to the now much depleted Buffalo for a summer hunt.


Dont Mind – Two Queens Members Show (2016)

Dont Mind Headerl

Two Queens members show (2016) – Dont Mind, part of the City Festival (2016) August 20-29th

Exhibiting Laying Tracks (2016)

Making Revisions Update (19/8/16)

A rare individual update on the animation today. I have finally taken the plunge and recorded by myself. Narrating two parts of the piece. It’s taken some getting used to, even though I work in customer service and have to listen my voice at times which makes me cringe. I have detached myself to a point that it is in fact me talk. Instead its just a voice which connects more with the animation.

After taking a few attempts to record the test piece, working how to use the audio recorder, I have been able to edit, trim and manipulate my voice so it fits with the work. Its more personal, its my passion so it should have my voice on there. I’ll be working my way through the other parts before considering the other audio that’s needed. The narration is a primary part that it needs to tell the story. I’m pleased with the two parts and want to get on with the others, however I feel the external noise is too much now to continue.

Rubber (2010)

Rubber (2010)I remember the first time I saw the trailer for this film, my sides were splitting at the idiocy of the idea of a killer care tyre. I knew I had to see this film eventually. Until recently I had all but forgotten the film even existed which is bad for me. I leapt at the opportunity to catch Rubber (2010) a few weeks ago. I didn’t know anything beyond that I had to see this horror comedy, that all that really mattered. The concept behind the film is quite interesting observation of some classic film’s trying to pull them apart, the tiny pieces that are glanced over by the average viewer. However if you have a questioning mind and time to kill you can ask film-fans, or anyone who will listen in a pub about the banality within these films, the small whys, the miniscule details that really could kill a conversation if you take it too seriously. My Sister is guilty of this at times, questioning a the parent in Ponyo (2008) who drives the children through what is essentially a tidal, saying that she should be reported to social services for bad parenting. I have to remind her it’s just a film and to just go with it. I’m guilty of it too, looking at Big (1988) coming to the conclusion that the young boy Josh when he’s grown is mentally still a child, losing his virginity is practically raped, but that’s just overkill. I know that but the more you think about films, the more you question the thinking, the creative decisions behind them, which we don’t generally question.  Yet it’s not just about that, it’s the little aspects in film that are glanced over such as washing hands, the boring stuff which is edited out, or written out. Of course it’s all played for comedy.

As Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) lays down for us, it’s about all of this, the no reasons, the unexplained that form the foundation of this film that critiques film. We have a live audience for the first act who are each given a pair if binoculars, acting more like spectators to this film, or the events in the middle of nowhere. As a tyre literally comes to life, find its feet. Not the standard premise for a film you would sell to a studio, or trying a get funding. This is the macguffin for all the events that follow.

I was constantly wondering how they achieved that motion of a tyre, was a rolling motor fitted discretely to the interior of the piece, well our main character that causes all the death in the film. It couldn’t be animation; as it was all too real, and probably more costly too. It’s all happening before the camera and the spectators who can somehow work out whats going on from the incredible distance they are kept at. The scene mustn’t be interrupted or broken by the fourth wall which is making this essentially live theatre that edited for mass consumption. As much as this is about the “no reasons” of film the fourth wall’s broken and resealed, placing an audience into the film, the full realisation of what they are seeing is fake.

The makers of the within the film are conscious of what they are doing, unsure if it is working. Early on the audience is all but killed off with a poisoned turkey. Playing on the turkey phrase for poor films which they fear’s being played out, this is anything but that. Leaving only one avid viewer, an older man in a wheelchair watching on. The experienced audience member is able to discern what is going before him. Has he been to one of these performances before? The police who are investigating the killer tyre are at first bemused by how wacky it actually is. Crossing over into another reality where the film loses its façade, becoming something they have to investigate.

Dropping the façade of they realise they have a killer on the loose, not the most convention two-legged, two armed kind with a motive to boot. Instead a tyre using telekinesis causes heads to explode which admittedly look poor. Its that build up to that moment that matter, the comedic climax of how gruesome it looks as a head explodes before us. All pyrotechnics that work in time with a tyre which determination (sounds like I’m a trye salesman) that vibrates with concentration, a force that cannot be stopped.

OK it’s not Hitchcock but it doesn’t want to be a master film, it simply wants to poke fun at film, showing up the “No reasons”. So why not have a killer tyre with no back-story, it makes it so much more interesting. You have the option to either read into it or just go with it. Has an unknown force taken over this car-part that has caused so much death with so much comic timing you are left either speechless or full of laughter. If you want a horror film with twists and turns that conform to the genre then don’t stop by. If you want a horror that doesn’t take itself or the medium of film seriously, up for a laugh then look no further.


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