Here’s Looking at You!: Documentary Films about Artists

An artist’s life can be as compelling as the work they produce. A documentary, at best, strives to render a portrait of the artist as honestly as possible. This, of course, is as close as any of us will get to being in the same room with a person whose life and work draws us in.  What will you find that you do not, already, know?  Will this new view enhance the experience of the art or detract from it?

Have you ever wondered about the lives of the musicians who provide the soundtrack to your excursion through Pike Place Market? See Find Your Way: A Busker’s Documentary for an inside scoop. Here’s another scoop, Jimi Hendrix Park is the newest park in town! See the park and see the film Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train a Comin’.

What if the street is your studio? It is for street photographers and some painters like Kehinde Wiley and the photographers in Everybody Street. You’ll learn, in Wall Writers, about artists for whom city walls have become their canvas.

Trimpin: The Sound of Invention profiles the Northwest sculptor and sound artist who makes music out of non-musical objects. In Bezango WA you’ll meet Northwest cartoonists and comics, past and present, with a focus on the alternative community. A touching portrait of WWII internment survivor Jimmy Mirikitani is rendered in The Cats of Mirikitani.  Learn about the city which inspired and formed playwright August Wilson’s iconic plays in August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand.

Planning to see the Yayoi Kusuma: Infinity Mirrors show at the Seattle Art Museum? Gain insight into the artist’s life by viewing Yayoi Kusuma: I Love Me. Then, fall in love with all of your selves in those infinity mirrors! Some documentaries are, of themselves, works of art. Take Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog or Pina: Dance, Dance, Otherwise We Are Lost.

A documentary can be about the pursuit of hidden knowledge, as in Finding Vivian Maier and Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson. Films such as Enter the Faun, The Barefoot Artist, Bone Shop of the Heart and A Man Named Pearl bring to the screen the stories of people who make something extraordinary in spite of life’s challenges.

Artists employ art to protest, confront vital issues and to raise awareness. Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry , Mercedes Sosa and Isang Yun: In Between North and South Korea are such examples.

From Misty Copeland’s A Ballerina’s Tale to Furious Beauty dance defines a life. You and I know two can tango! Our Last Tango, and Carmen and Geoffrey explore artistic partnership through dance.

Check out the resource list Here’s Looking at You: Documentary Films about Artists. Discover compelling stories from far and near; as near as Seattle and Washington state and as far away as Korea and Russia. Find these films, and many more, by conducting an Advanced Subject search under Biography and limiting your search to DVDs.

~posted by Chris

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