What started off as a project documenting the lives of various artist ended up becoming a project on artists who are also educators. This project has been somewhat of a pain in the ass because of a few set backs, but the way I like to see it is that the set backs happen for a reason because the story molded itself into something with more meaning. It’s been a project that started early summer and has recently met it’s completion. One of the biggest mistakes that I believe myself and my group did was relying on an incredibly busy person who was going to grant us all this amazing access. It was too good to be true that we had all this stuff going only for us to have this major bump where he all had to re direct our trajectory to another course.
Originally, the very first plan was to follow Alan Ket to Ecuador for a grand opening of this museum that show cased other writers (graffiti artists). It seemed like an exciting and amazing venture that would result to something new not only in the world of Video, but to our major and our lives as well. Unfortunately or fortunately the plans didn’t fall through. I always thought personally that as amazing as the idea was, it was too vague and not concrete enough; although I had no doubt about the access and credentials Ket has. The project then molded into keeping Ket as the center focus; or host, of a short web series where he exposes the history and different styles of writers in different cities. For a while it seemed like a go, we had connections and a ridiculous amount of access to this world but after a couple of weeks the schedules just weren’t working out and then we came to the realization of how severely mistaken we were relying on someone else for the scheduling and project rather than doing it all ourselves. We were at the mercy of extremely busy individuals.
During the summer we already shot some footage of a writer called ‘Part 1’ and this program he has become involved with where he was teaching kids on developing their own writing identity. We decided to follow up on that story during early fall and complete it and steer the project on artist who give back to the youth. Although we had a vast amount of access and footage on Part, we felt we needed atleast another artist to make the project stronger. We had the honor of then meeting Ryan Seslow through our professor and asked him if he’d be ok if we’d document him. He happily agreed and we had the ball rolling again. Although we were incredibly behind on schedule because of certain inconveniences, we picked up steam rather quickly.
As a co-director I had the responsibility of scheduling everything as soon as possible and be there on every shoot we had to make sure we had what we needed. I feel like we all pulled an equal amount of weight and got some great stuff that we’re excited to present. Lesson learned is to never rely on someone, it’s one of the reasons why I don’t enjoy making documentaries because it’s all based on the availability of your subject and to their convenience. Hopefully the headaches and set backs will result into a project worth while; I really believe so.
What originally started as an idea of writers and their struggle for respect and their routine became something more meaningful to our group developing our series of graffiti. We decided to explore an aspect never really discussed before, having artist teaching in classrooms. Now, the idea may seem basic but we find it fascinating that what was once seen so incriminating (still is) and a form of vandalism is being taught in classrooms!
Having Ryan Seslow in the mix is not only an honor but a wonderful addition. He brings a sense of humility and enlightenment that we never could imagine could be involved in a world that’s seen as so underground and almost grungy. Aside from having Seslow discuss his involvement into the classrooms and how his own art is an influence to his lessons, we follow graffiti writer Part 1 as he too teaches an art course to high school students on developing their own writer identity. It’s a terrific journey that we follow these kids and their mentors as they both fall in this rabbit hole of wisdom, history, and a struggle for respect.