North East Artists Films - Series 2 Preview

Aaron Guy at Ashington Open Cast Mines

Aaron Guy at Ashington Open Cast Mines

October will see the launch a second series of artists films from the North East CVAN.

These films promote artists living and working in the North East who are gaining a national and international profile. Gary Malkin gives us an insight into the approach he and the Critical Dialogue group have taken to filming the artists and their practice this time and how it differs from the first series - and don't forget you can watch the first eleven films here.

Cecilia Stenbom directing on the set of In Waiting

Cecilia Stenbom directing on the set of In Waiting

How were the first batch of Artists Films received?

We received some very positive feedback from the first batch of films, which were entitled 11 for 2011. However, we were asked by a number of people if they could be a bit longer. This was a pleasant surprise for me as the thinking at the time was that three minutes was the most people would be willing to spend on viewing this kind of material - although that’s a viewpoint I had never subscribed to.

What differences will we see in the new batch?

In this series we have been less precious about sticking to an exact time and have extended the duration to around ten minutes. The extra length gives us the opportunity to explore the artist’s practice in more detail and not merely focus on current projects. Viewers will find the new batch of films not only richer in content but also in visuals.

Jennifer Douglas in studio

Jennifer Douglas in studio

All the 11 for 2011 films were based on a single interview and captured a singular moment in time. With the new Artists Films we have visited the artists in a variety of locations over a period of several months. Sometimes we have dropped the idea of the interview completely in order to create a film more in keeping with the artist’s work. In Aaron Guy’s film we decided to use a voiceover, which mirrors the artist’s own work.

Paul Merrick in his studio

Paul Merrick in his studio

With Narbi Price, who’s new work focuses on a very personal event, we followed him around the streets of Hartlepool as he searched for source material for his paintings and discussed the reasons behind this journey. We then made visits to his studio to see him take these paintings from gestural underpainting to their almost photorealistic conclusion. One happy accident is that we have captured the exact shot he used in one of the paintings in his camera’s viewfinder as he takes the photo.

Did this involve finding a different process?

There hasn’t been a one-size-fits-all approach, but one reoccurring process has been simply to record the creation of an artwork rather than taking a snapshot. So we watch Cecilia Stenbom directing on the set of In Waiting, and then later see how the scenes are translated into her completed film. Jennifer Douglas takes us through the process of mark making by allowing us to film her at work: stabbing, scratching, filling, painting and composing canvasses and sculptures - the same works that appear in an exhibition at Workplace Gallery in Gateshead.

Wolfgang Weileder in Recklinghausen, Germany

Wolfgang Weileder in Recklinghausen, Germany

We were lucky enough to get a close up look at Wolfgang Weileder’s architectural-scale sculpture on Dunston Staiths, built using Aquadyne (recycled plastic waste). Then we went to Recklinghausen in Germany to see how he used this same material to recreate a huge WWII bunker as part of a major, three floor exhibition. With a longer period to create these new films we have had the luxury of being able to see works created over time, and viewers will be able to see thoughts and ideas develop into finished works.

Nick Kennedy talking about his time-based drawings

Nick Kennedy talking about his time-based drawings

What new insights has this uncovered?

It has been very revealing following such a diverse set of artists and seeing how they approach the creation and exhibition of artworks. The similarities and differences in these approaches gives a real insight into the way artists work.

It’s a very strong selection of north east artists. When they are all released there will be twenty videos that reflect the growing art scene in the region. Hopefully we will be given the opportunity to make more of these films in the future to build an archive of videos that showcase the range and quality of artistic practice in the region.