Throwback Thursday No.5 - two portraits of an artist

02 August 2018

Continuing my look back at some of my work over the years, in chronological order, we reach my first attempt at a genre that was extremely popular in the early 2010s: the artist portrait - and something I’m quite proud of.

Toni Lebusque: my art (September 2010 & February 2012)

The Context: At the height of Vimeo’s popularity and with a new set of affordable DSLRs with video capabilities on the market, portrait videos were everywhere.

They were fast and cheap to make and had great storytelling potential. With a small set of lenses in controlled environments it was relatively easy to achieve the sacred cinematic look.

To see this genre done really well, I recommend watching the California is a Place series and Last Minutes with Oden by Elliot Rausch.

The Story: Keen to join in this trend and with a flashy new Canon 550D camera I resolved to make a portrait video. The subject was the ink artist Toni Lebusque, very handily married to my mum at the time.

Toni was a great subject, patient and open about her story.

The subject of the film is how Toni uses her art as a way to understand and deal with the death of her father.

Looking back: The really interesting thing to do with this film is to watch it side-by-side with this next one. 18 months later I revisited Toni’s studio.

Her mum had recently passed away too and again she talks openly and wittily about how her drawing helps her to comes to terms with grief.

Rewatching them for the first time in more than five years, I find myself very proud of both. But the improvement in my visual and storytelling ability between films one and two is clear.

The second film has a much more sophisticated visual palette.

From the opening shot of blurry white and black shapes, which feels like you’re slipping between life and death itself; to the way I use match dissolves to make a visual connection between the art she draws on paper and that which she draws on herself.

I even notice now that Toni is often framed inside a border (a door frame, a window, her own paintings) to mirror the frames she draws around her own artwork.

Yes, the second film in particular is a good piece of work.

Unfortunately the market wasn’t really there - at least in the UK for these kind of stories, so this never led to anything.

But I am still very early in my creative journey!