Another aspect of the online class I took with Alyson Stanfield is planning for your continued learning. She gave us a worksheet designed to get us thinking about ways to enhance our knowledge of art in general, art techniques and other topics related to our work. One of her suggestions is to watch art documentaries. Occasionally I'll watch one and I am usually inspired. So we have instituted art movie night in our household. Once a week we watch a documentary or movie focused on an artist or art.
Last week we watched Waste Land, a documentary about Vik Muniz. He is a photographer who creates compositions with unusual objects and then photographs them. He has done work in thread, diamonds, chocolate syrup, soil, dust, junk and trash. I saw his work, Bacchus Astride a Barrel, at a local museum and was fascinated. The documentary is about a series of portraits he created using trash from a landfill in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He spent three years there, getting to know the landfill workers who pull recyclable objects from the landfill. He photographed them and then, with their help, created large scale reproductions of the photos using trash. These were then photographed and put up for auction, with the proceeds going to the person in the portrait.
The documentary was inspiring on so many levels. I enjoyed the glimpse into his approach and methods. It was also moving to hear the stories of the people who work in the landfill. I highly recommend this DVD.
What art documentaries are your favorites?