Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
1. The Wanderers – Guido van Helten. A Film by Selina Miles
2. Leon Keer. “Misfit”
3. Duality: A graffiti story. Trailer
BSA Special Feature: The Wanderers – Guido van Helten. A Film by Selina Miles
We focus today on one episode of a brilliantly human street art-related video-short series on artists called The Wanderers, directed by Selina Miles. Today we follow the muralist/portraitist/photographer Guido Van Helten as he travels to a small town in Australia to pursue stories, personalities, and a 10-car project on the train. Train writing, indeed!
“I am very interested in portraiture in a documentary style,” he says as you watch him almost tentatively introduce himself to new people. “I was a painter first, and now through this style of working, I’ve become very interested in meeting people and photography. Now I’m pushing myself to involve that in the process.”
A young veteran of storytelling, Miles allows the details of the scene to illustrate unique aspects of life and the people here. Without gawking, the subjects and their environments, and their body language are observed with the same respectful eye that the artist has as well. Each person responds differently, each brave to allow the film camera to capture them while Van Helton establishes a rapport. Ironically, he’s not comfortable with the process himself. “Sometimes this is challenging for me to introduce myself to people.”
These hand paintings of his subject’s eyes on the cars of a train may remind you of the photography of JR plastered across surfaces everywhere with a sense of spectacle – but these take such adept technical skill rendered with a unique warmth that it wouldn’t be fair to compare. Van Helten doesn’t even seem sure what his agenda is, aside from connecting in a human way to another.
Each chapter of this short film illustrates the connections, and you are rewarded with sumptuous sweeping views of the final results as well as the disarming pleasure the artist takes from it. “I enjoyed the idea of not knowing what reaction it could have with the people who see it,” he says of the project. “No one has any idea what this is going to do in the town. Maybe nothing, maybe something. Maybe someone will go home and say, ‘You know what I saw today! – Something really strange on the side of a train.’ I think that is exciting.”
The Wanderers – Guido van Helten. A Film by Selina Miles
Leon Keer. “Misfit”
Anamorphic street artist Leon Keer does a special project here at Château du Taureau in Baie de Morlaix France. His 3D floor painting ‘MISFIT’, is a reference to the previous use of this compound as a prison for the aristocracy – or at least certain members of their families who might cast them into dishonor.
“Under the Ancien Régime, most of the prisoners at the Château were Breton aristocrats,” says Leon’s description of the previous residents, “which were put in prison at the request of their own families, anxious to avoid dishonor. Libertinism, misalliance, madness, and an immoderate taste for alcohol or gambling could certainly lead to a forced stay at the Château during those days.”
Duality: A graffiti story. Trailer
A new film striking at the heart of the graffiti practice – the fact that many writers have a ‘straight’ life that doesn’t exactly run parallel to their night-time illegal escapades can in hand.
Director by Ryan Dowling, the stories of many are illustrated by the testimony of a small handful of writers who clearly elucidate the complexities of a form of expression that runs the gamut between criminalized and celebrated. Featuring a cast of DUAL, SLOKE ONE, JABER, MERES ONES, and NEVER – the stories vary, but the narratives return to foundational truths even as the scene evolves. Well produced and executed, Duality will join the list of ‘must-see’ documentaries about graffiti, street art, and everything in between.