Film Journey in the Now

Curve Talk About Art

If straight talk is what you’re looking for, you may, or may not, find it here. Art takes many forms. In some cases, it is formless, as it is with conceptual art when the concept is as yet unrealized. Ideas are immaterial things, and concepts are sometimes abstract, along with algebraic formulas. But an abstract acrylic on canvas can have solid appeal. Touch it with your fingertips and let your vision follow its pathways until your senses are absorbed in the two-dimensional realm of optical illusion. Eye candy is delicious, but too much of it, and you run the risk of rounding an eye tooth. Straight lines can stabilize your composition with economy. Straight lines can also derail an art critic’s ability to look straight at your art. Contemporary architecture often bends the strict rules of structural integrity in an effort to add in a curved or crooked line, an arch or a floating stairway. A stairway that theoretically leads us to a horizontal heaven, and it gets us there vertically, on a diagonal. In my own practice of art, I’ve heard the square folks lamenting in my ear about the inability to even draw a straight line. My reply, usually non-verbal, is ‘Why would you want to?’.

“Midlife Crisis” Drawn in pastel during my midlife crisis.

Bear with me, I promise to get to the pointillism. Then again, who wants to talk about a million polychrome dots giving the impression of three-dimensionality anyway. Nobody does. Everybody does want to talk about Leonardo DaVinci though. He was an exemplary master of all dimensions, proportions and abstract scientific concepts. Leonardo and Michelangelo often behaved like oil and water when in close proximity, but being the art giants they were, they were rarely in close proximity. There wasn’t enough space in all of Europe for that.

“Inside Outside”

Then there is sculpture. As big as David or as small as Venus of Willendorf, the contours comparable. Just this morning, I loaded a ridiculously heavy bronze sculpture on a truck and offloaded it in the studio that is now my temporary home. I’m very tired, so I’ll write about sculpture the next time I am inspired to talk curves about art.

“Salvador Seahorse” Bronze bench by sculptor Mike Elwell. Me, stranded in Saint Petersburg, Florida, for the moment.
Film Journey in the Now

Update on “Return to Hope” (Film) and the “Case of the Missing Blog Author”

Once again, I’ve neglected my commitment to those of you who are regular readers here. In a previous journal entry, I wrote about my intentions to document the making of the “Return to Hope” film in real-time on this blogsite. A few days after setting that intention, I realized that it was non-sustainable with regard to my energies, at least for now. The motivations I had for setting the intentions were sincere, in that I wanted to practice the process I intend to use for future filmmaking upon graduation from Savannah College of Art and Design. To be more specific, the process I intend to use for the “Grand Providentia Projection – A True Story, as Yet Unfolding…”, is directly related to what I was attempting to do here with “Return to Hope”. This post-graduation, master work, will be produced and promoted as a real-time documentary series that follows the progress of creating and installing, major collaborative art projects around the globe. These “Projections” will act as focal points for raising awareness of the conscious connection that exists between all sentient beings on our planet, and furthermore, how that conscious connection might be used to set positive collective intentions to restore and preserve our environment and heal divisions and discord within the human race. As this rolling documentary is being produced, there will also be a fictional version of the same story being filmed simultaneously. Eventually, the two stories will be merged and integrated into one production – a surreal documentary, with elements of both fact and fiction. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve been studying, and living by, many of the philosophical explorations that are the basis for metaphysics and the metaphysics of science, so I am convinced that this film format, the surreal documentary, will be the most powerful way to present the “Grand Providentia Projection – A True Story, as Yet Unfolding…” I must admit that it’s true, this endeavor is an enormous undertaking, but having worked on it for many years now, I know that its potential for realization is eventual, and quite possibly, inevitable.

You might be wondering why I decided that it was non-sustainable for me to document the making of “Return to Hope” here on the blog, as I produce it? The straightforward answer to that question is that I do not have the level of energy required to complete all the necessary tasks with even a modicum of success, therefore I’ve opted to prioritize my efforts, in an effort to accomplish some tasks with greater success. Since the moment that I decided to pursue a graduate degree in film, I’ve bought and learned how to use a digital film camera, conceived of “Return to Hope” and strategized its visual presentation to an audience (the admissions board at SCAD), filmed on location in Hope, RI, Bethlehem, PA and Savannah, GA, and I am currently editing the film in DaVinci Resolve, an editing software that was included with the Blackmagic Design camera that I bought back in April of this year. It sure has been a learning experience for me, but I can tell you with absolute honesty that I am loving the journey so far!

Photo shot on location at the Steel Stacks, Bethlehem, PA. The Steel Stacks is one of the locations where I filmed clips for “Return to Hope” Worthy of note: This pulley wheel is approximately 12′ in diameter and there were about 20-30 of them lined up in a humongous building!

There is another reason that I decided not to continue with the documentation on this blog. I wanted to introduce the final results, all polished and pretty, of “Return to Hope” to you all, once it is completely finished. So far, I’m super pleased with how it’s coming together! If nothing else, it is sure to be visually compelling. And fear not, you won’t have to wait long for the premier of this film, because I need to have it ready for delivery by 2/2/2023. I’ll be publishing it on YouTube as soon as it is delivered to the college. Stay tuned, dear readers, soon you’ll have more to look at than just still images! I promise.

Danger! There’s always someone trying to keep you from going someplace!
Film Journey in the Now

Return to Hope

Production of a Portfolio Film – Post #7 Concept Development

Confrontation (middle section of film)

The middle section of “Return to Hope” (confrontation) will be executed stylistically as a surreal visual and audio reenactment of the industrial revolution from beginning to end, all within a micro-timeframe of three minutes. Will it be a sped-up historical account of the industrial revolution in general? No. Will it be a shortened historical account of the industrial revolution as it pertains to the Hope Mill? No. What it will be, is an interpretive historic account of the creative processes I’ve used to produce it. So, it will be light on history, but heavy on eye and ear candy. In terms of connecting the subject matter of the mill to the history of the industrial revolution, I will add this bit of historical trivia I found when I was searching for a start date of the industrial revolution in the USA – “The beginning of industrialization in the United States is usually pegged to the opening of a textile mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in 1793 by the recent English immigrant Samuel Slater.” The previous statement is copied directly from The historic Slater Mill is a place that I have enjoyed visiting many times in my early life. The Hope Mill was also a textile mill, and the first wooden manufacturing buildings were erected in 1806, only thirteen years after Samuel Slater opened his mill. This small bit of information raises the historic value of the Hope Mill property significantly, I would say. This fact will also be largely significant during the preproduction stage of the documentary I intend to produce as soon as I graduate college in the spring of 2025. Breaking News Alert! – I’ve already set intentions to film a pilot episode of the “Grand Providentia Projection” in Hope, RI, as soon as I receive my diploma. I’m hoping that we (the Alt Unity) can also produce and install a monumental bronze sculpture somewhere near, or on, the mill property. This monument would be dedicated to the historic significance of the Hope Mill as it pertains to Rhode Island history and the history of the United States of America. It will also pay tribute to the men, women and (children?) of Hope who worked at the mill and made Hope into a prosperous and bustling mill town during the 19th century. I’ll write another bunch of journal entries on those plans once I’m finished with the production of “Return to Hope”. I am duly intent on staying focused!

“Once Proud, Now Brooding” From the Hope Mill Collection, June 2022

As most confrontations do, the middle section will start out fairly subdued in terms of imagery and soundtrack. The momentum of the imagery and the tempo of the audio will increase steadily throughout the three minutes allotted, until it climaxes, crescendos, and cuts to black and silence. The sequence of visuals will take the form of a rhythmic montage of industrial imagery. I have an elaborate piece of bronze sculpture that I cast back in 2007 that I’m currently in the process of putting a new patina on. The piece is titled “Trip Downtown/Industrial Revolution”. I created the original terracotta sculpture while attending classes at the Community College of Rhode Island and I added some elements and then produced a mold and cast a bronze from the mold when I was working at Bronzart Foundry in Sarasota, FL. When I was creating the original clay sculpture, all the way back in 1989, it was my intention to honor the Hope Mill and the village of Hope as well. It seems fitting to me now, that this artwork should appear in the film. I will not yet reveal all of the individual shots, or what I intend to do with the soundtrack for this section of the film, but I will say this, the confrontation will be chock full of dramatic sound and visual action. The greater the build-up of tension in this section, the more settling the resolution (end) of the film will be.

“Trip Downtown/Industrial Revolution” Dimensions of bronze – 30″H x 15″W x 12″D

Thank you for taking the time to read the “Grand Providentia United” blog! I really appreciate your prescence here. In the next “Return to Hope” entry, I’ll finish up with any remaining details about the central portion of the film and then I’ll move on to my plans for the ending, thus concluding the overall layout discussion. It won’t be long before I have some film to show!

Film Journey in the Now

Return to Hope

Production of a Portfolio Film – Post #6 Concept Development

Introduction (conclusion)

Before I move on to a discussion of the format for the confrontation portion of this film, I’d like to linger a little longer on the Setup (introduction). It is crucial to the intellectual and emotional impact of this film, that I manage to successfully capture a believable representation of how trees might be perceiving our human behaviors. Human beings have an incredible potential for the formulation of ideologies and philosophies that are beneficial to every life form on the planet. Conversely, humans also have the unsettling propensity to conceive of ways to destroy or dismantle every beneficial creation they’ve ever conjured. I can entirely imagine the trees standing by silently, bearing witness to these two opposing human traits, shaking their crowns in frustration and disbelief, while their human counterparts are building up and tearing down entire empires, sometimes within a few short centuries. It has become obvious to me that the trees are in it for the long run. They would continue to grow and multiply for the good of mankind, if we would simply allow them the space and liberty to do so. The trees and all the other forms of vegetation on the Earth, are acting as one enormous filtering system for our air and water. Shouldn’t we at least express our gratitude to the plant life on our planet by not clear-cutting forests or eradicating entire ecosystems?

“Preservation” Photo captured at Trexler Nature Preserve, Schnecksville, PA (2021)

I was recently gifted a book titled “What We Owe the Future” by William MacAskill. The author is a 35-year-old philosopher who is currently an associate professor at the University of Oxford. The book cover’s bio on MacAskill asserts “At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest associate professor of philosophy in the world.” I would venture to say that it’s monumentally fitting for this young man to have achieved so much intellectual success so early in his life, as it appears to me that the younger generations are growing tired of outdated ideas and worn-out excuses. Young people are increasingly becoming the champions for an evolution of thought and action that may be able to turn this world around; set it on a course that is more sustainable and less self-destructive. Presently, I’m only fifty-five pages into the reading, and with all honesty, I can profess that I have never read a book that was more relevant and resonant to the current state of my mind and spirit than this one is. I’ve read books recently that have quoted certain scholar’s opinions that philosophy was “dead”. That modern philosophers were just parroting the works of the “greats” like Socrates and Aristotle. They went on to opine that there were no new philosophical ideas being generated, and that we had taken the entire pursuit of philosophy to its natural conclusion. In my admittedly uneducated opinion, I would say that William MacAskill has proven these particular skeptics wrong.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who believes we can change the course of this world for the good of all.

In the next online journal entry, I’ll start to describe the content of the middle section of “Return to Hope” and explain how the introduction sets up the confrontation taking place in the second section, which will then be resolved in the third and final section of the film. I also have a couple of artworks to offer up to financial supporters of the Grand Providentia Projection. I’ll be posting those within the next few days. Thank you for spending some of your time reading here. I truly appreciate you all!