Tag Archives: film

Formerly Blocked Artist

by Anne Flournoy


For decades, I lived a life of intense frustration as a blocked artist, only occasionally able to get past my inner critic to finish a project.  Ambition and high expectations combined with the fear that I was ‘not quite ready’ kept me in a state of almost perpetual hemming and hawing.  Instead of working, I usually found a million ways to distract myself and became increasingly jealous of artists who were working and making names for themselves.  I heard the suggestions that ‘perfectionism’ and ‘procrastination’ might be my problem but knew that wasn’t it.  I had standards for God’s sake.

And then, in 2007, Delta Airlines gave me my lucky break.  A suitcase, filled with all the notes for the final rewrite of the feature film script I’d been rewriting for 17 years, vanished.  I didn’t know how to proceed without the notes collected from the best scriptwriters I knew.  And in that moment, I remembered that the only reason I had ever wanted to make a feature was to have a career.  Shorts were where my heart had always been and I’d recently heard that this might be a new golden era for short films- that they were even starting to make money on the internet.  With some regret and even more relief, I put the script for my second feature on the shelf.

It was 2007 and YouTube was teeming with videos of cats on skateboards.  No self-respecting filmmaker was putting their work on YouTube but I was going to do just that.  Picking up a camcorder, l began shooting everything in sight.  Birds, cats, my kids…  I’d seen Charlie Bit My Finger with its 50 million plus views and knew that I could match that.  Three months later, embittered by a summer of just-missing every great moment, I heard a producer-friend’s suggestion: “It’s easier, Anne, with a script.”

And so, my 17-year effort went under the knife.  I gutted it of its juiciest moments and began shooting Season One with friends.  Seven years and three seasons later, we have forty two episodes online for free and without ads, with three more launching before December.  It’s called The Louise Log, and it’s a comedy web series, the story of an insecure New York City wife and mother who’s an emotional train wreck.  Her over-active inner voice keeps you up-to-the-minute on her anxieties, resentments and over-the-top expectations which, of course, alternate with doomsday scenarios.  If you like it, please subscribe at http://thelouiselog.com and or on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/anneflournoy  Here are some of my favorite episodes so far:  













Before making her award-winning, crowdfunded, comedy web series The Louise LogAnne Flournoy wrote and directed shorts and a feature film which played in festivals from Sundance to Berlin. She’s a Guggenheim Fellow and can be found on twitter as @anneflournoy and at http://thelouiselog.com.

social media links:

The Louise Log website         http://thelouiselog.com

The Louise Log on facebook  https://www.facebook.com/TheLouiseLog?ref=ts

The Louise Log on twitter          https://twitter.com/TheLouiseLog

Anne on twitter       https://twitter.com/AnneFlournoy

tumblr        http://anneflournoy.tumblr.com/

Postcolonial Thoughts: Review of Simon Schama’s Power of Art series: Picasso

by Christopher Hutchinson

Mr. Schama justifies the title of his series by showing how these artists transformed and transcended their times; he rests his case with “Guernica.” That painting shatters even the thickest complacency and breaks what he calls “the habit of taking violent evil in our stride.” Mr. Schama is a passionate and persuasive docent, but unfortunately there is no “we” in art appreciation. Plenty of people can remain unmoved by all kinds of great work. “Power of Art” succeeds not because of the power of the chosen masterpieces but because Mr. Schama masterfully weaves engaging mysteries around each artwork. And he walks and talks viewers through it all in a “History Boys” style that is so chatty and disarming that even the flintiest museumphobe wants to stick around to find out what happened next-Alessandra Stanley http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/18/arts/television/18stan.html?_r=0

Simon Schama’s documentary on Picasso’s Guernica 1937 was 59 minutes hero worship claiming that Guernica 1937 to be Picasso’s finest achievement. In this wasted hour, Schama uses intimate detail to add to the fictitious legend of Picasso. These details that Schama is so excited about are exactly the details that prove how remedial Guernica 1937 is.  The 59 minutes mainly state that  Guernica 1937 is genius because it is large and familiar. Large scale and familiar icons are common tools uses in the infancy painting. Large scale paintings and icons are used by painting infants to hide the obvious flaws present in the painting. This trick works mostly on non-art folk who value scale and equate that with enormous labor that they could never achieve, but Schama is an art historian who should know better. Art work qualified as genius often has nothing to do with how large it is.

“Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is so familiar, so large, so present. It’s physically bigger than a movie screen. But what is the painting about? Is it an account of the Spanish town obliterated by Nazi warplanes – a piece of reportage? Is that why it’s in black and white?

This is the reason why the painting has such an impact. Instead of a laboured literal commentary on German warplanes, Basque civilians and incendiary bombs, Picasso connects with our worst nightmares. He’s saying here’s where the world’s horror comes from; the dark pit of our psyche.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/powerofart/picasso.shtml

Probably Picasso’s most famous work, Guernica is certainly the his most powerful political statement, painted as an immediate reaction to the Nazi’s devastating casual bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during Spanish Civil War. http://www.pablopicasso.org/guernica.jsp

History paintings

A ‘history painting’ is one which has a serious narrative, or includes exemplars of actions which are intended to have didactic overtones. In this sense the word history relates to the Italian istoria, meaning narrative or story (and not the accurate or documentary description of actual events). History paintings are often large in scale. Their subjects can be taken from the Bible, from mythology or other forms of secular literature, from historical events; or they can be allegories. Noble themes are seen as being particularly worthy of depiction. History painting was viewed as the most important of the genres from about the 16th century, and the climax of an academic painter’s training. It was the equivalent of Epic or Tragedy in literature. http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/glossary/history-painting

The Third of May 1808 Francisco Goya 1814 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Goya

The Third of May 1808
Francisco Goya

At every level Picasso’s Guernica 1937 is an appropriation of the past, a past mainly embedded in Romanticism. Being a romantic isn’t a problem, except that Schama repeated over and over again that Picasso is a Modernist. Modernism and Romanticism are definitely not the same things. Modernism did its best to destroy the narrative of the history-painting genre. Schama tries to smooth this over by calling Guernica 1937 a “modern history-painting.”

After a conversation with Professor Jason Sweet, Sweet pointed out that Guernica 1937 has the same composition of Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People 1830. It is obvious that Picasso is appropriating famous history-paintings to create Guernica 1937. The outstretched hands present in Goya’s The Third of May 1808 are in the right hand corner, the dead standing underfoot is also present in Liberty leading the people 1830, the terrified horse in David’s Napoleon crossing the Alps 1801. Guernica 1937 amounts to a hodgepodge of icons present in art history roughly 100 years before Picasso. Schama wants us to believe this is Genius. Schama wants us to believe that Guernica 1937 is more present, terrifying and had more of an impact than Goya or Delacroix-Why? What is the motivation behind this? Is this true?

Schama, in the documentary, makes reference to the fact that Guernica 1937 was on display at MOMA in NY for 30 years as validation to its genius, to its significance. There is a fact that Picasso is still the most paid artist due to labels such as genius still heaped upon him. Schama is among many who believe Guernica 1937 is Picasso’s most important piece. Guernica 1937 is actually a 100year step backwards from modernism. Not genius.

Genius & Modernity

Modern Art painting, sculpture, architecture, and graphic arts characteristic of the 20th century and of the later part of the 19th century. Modern art embraces a wide variety of movements, theories, and attitudes whose modernism resides particularly in a tendency to reject traditional, historical, or academic forms and conventions in an effort to create an art more in keeping with changed social, economic, and intellectual conditions. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/modern+art

Guernica 1937’s step back into history painting is an indicator of how much Picasso actually believed in modernity in the first place. It is easy, comfortable and ultimately conceptually lazy to appropriate history the way Guernica 1937 does. Modernity does its best to get rid of narrative and genius, both of which served God, supremacy, and innate ability. Modernism reduces to formal elements, where we can now just focus on the artwork, allowing anyone to attain “genius.” Schama is using “genius” in Picasso the same way as God, supremacy, and innate ability.

The Formal Elements are the parts used to make a piece of artwork. The art elements are line, shape, form, tone, texture, pattern, colour and composition. They are often used together, and how they are organised in a piece of art determines what the finished piece will look like. http://hardleyart.wordpress.com/the-formal-elements-in-art/

The moment that formal analysis is applied to Guernica 1937, the piece crumbles as it relates to genius. When we evaluate Guernica without the sympathy of war, sympathy acceptable in romanticism, it is a remedial painting.

Generic Icons & Universal symbols

The use of the many generic icons and universal symbols is a catchall tool used by artists that are not confident in there own statement. If the viewer does not appreciate the painting, maybe they will like the horse, or the bull, or the crying woman, the obvious universal pyramid right smack in the middle of the piece. Guernica 1937 is just a bad painting, where these icons are cut and paste images surrounding the image without interaction.

Schama makes reference to the history of the icons present in Guernica 1937. Schama explains the use of the iconic imagery is related to the subjects that Picasso has doodled his whole life, which is now galvanized in this triumph of a painting Guernica 1937. Here again Schama is reaching. There are many artists that use popular subjects, especially animals. Using Schama’s rubric all the artists that paint chickens, horses, flags, are now eligible to be genius if those subjects responded a sympathetic political event like 9/11. Is the Mike Brown mural in Ferguson, MO genius? No, neither is Guernica 1937.

A mural in memoriam of Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri was painted on the side of a business in North St. Louis. The tribute was done by artist Joseph Albanese and commissioned by Signature Screenprinting according to the St. Louis Dispatch. It’s a “dedication to the Mike Brown tragedy and awareness of injustice in our communities,” wrote the custom t-shirt maker on its Facebook page. Funeral services for Brown will be held at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Monday. (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork) http://iamturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/ferguson-mike-brown-mural_-600x3371.jpg

A mural in memoriam of Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri was painted on the side of a business in North St. Louis. The tribute was done by artist Joseph Albanese and commissioned by Signature Screenprinting according to the St. Louis Dispatch. It’s a “dedication to the Mike Brown tragedy and awareness of injustice in our communities,” wrote the custom t-shirt maker on its Facebook page. Funeral services for Brown will be held at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Monday. (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork) http://iamturbo.com/mike-brown-rip-mural/


Christopher HutchinsonChristopher Hutchinson is an Assistant Professor of Art at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Archetype Art Gallery Owner in Atlanta, Ga, and Smoke School of Art Founder. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Savannah College of art & Design, Atlanta and his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama. He lived in Alabama for 10 years before moving to Atlanta in 2008.

Learn more about Christopher and his work at Black Flight 144.





Creative Remix – Word in Sound and Image

Marc Neys-Ladder 3

One of the hopes of Creative Thresholds is that different art forms and genres meet and that the convergence inspires creatives of all types, resulting in dialogue and possibly collaboration. In this post, a poem, which had been inspired by a painting, in turn inspires a film. The process and the individual works are…magical.

Watch the film, “Ladder Our Boat,” and read about the process from both the poet, Maureen Doallas, and the filmmaker, Swoon (AKA Marc Neys).

The video is best seen on full screen with good volume.


Melissa, curator and editor

Creative Remix – Word in Sound and Image

by Maureen E. Doallas and Swoon (AKA Marc Neys)



The Poem:

A Ladder Our Boat

after Holly Friesen’s Warrior Canoe

When we make a tree a ladder, we climb
out of the flaming fire, through our fear.
We are each from earth’s guts spilled,
Persephone rising, wild mint lacing
loose braids, sheaves of grain in hand,
spring’s re-welcoming cheered.

When we make the ladder our boat, we sail on
a kiss of wind above the Hades of our making,
spirits water-rocked in Zeus’s arms, seeds
of the pomegranate bursting, our offspring

We strike our fevered blessings on the wood,
water-tight, wave at the moon we circle twice:
the light, our safe harbor, shore.

© Maureen E. Doallas
Printed with Permission of Author

Marc Neys-Ladder 1

The Process:

Maureen: Nic Sebastian, an excellent poet herself, is the founder of The Poetry Storehouse, which is dedicated to promoting “new forms and delivery methods for page-poetry”; the site has become a terrific repository of poems in text, audio, and video. I submitted five poems, which Nic accepted, with the understanding that any and all would be made freely available for creative remixing. Among the selections is my poem “A Ladder, Our Boat”. The poem first appeared in the Image-ine series at TweetSpeak Poetry; Image-ine, to which I’ve contributed numerous ekphrastic poems (including a series inspired by Lisa Hess Hesselgrave‘s paintings), is a place for discovering and learning about and sharing poetry that is inspired by paintings or other media. “A Ladder, Our Boat” was inspired by Holly Friesen‘s exquisite painting “Warrior Canoe”; I shared the poem with Holly after I wrote it, and she was kind enough to allow us to use an image of the painting at Image-ine.

Marc Neys-Ladder 2Marc Neys aka Swoon, who is a tremendous talent, first sent me a message via Facebook to listen to a soundtrack he’d composed for my poem “A Ladder, Our Boat”. I expressed my delight, and was thrilled Marc was setting my poem. Marc continued developing his concept for the poem, incorporating images from footage he collected.  Unlike some of Marc’s other remixes, this one has no narration. Marc’s completed videopoem is “Ladder Our Boat”. Marc is entirely responsible for concept, camera, editing, and music. I am very pleased with the result.

Ladder 4Swoon (Marc): For my latest video for a poem taken from The Poetry Storehouse I went back to my early days. That is to say, there was a need to create a videopoem without a voice again (and I hadn’t done that in a long while).

I started with collecting a series of images that could either tell a new story or create a different path to go on when combined with a certain line from the poem. Once I had collected the footage and paired them with certain lines, I needed a timeframe. So I created a soundtrack with a lot of background noises (breathing, scratching, squeaking,…).

With these sounds I started editing the chosen footage. I combined the lines of the poem with the images. Giving the words space and time to take root in or react to the images. I love this way of working and I wonder why I don’t use that technique more often… Yes these works need to be played on a larger screen for full effect!

Maureen E. Doallas

Maureen E. Doallas is the author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in the anthologies Open to Interpretation: Water’s EdgeOpen to Interpretation: Love & Lust, and Oil and Water…And Other Things That Don’t Mix; and in Felder Rushing’s book Bottle trees. Her poems also have appeared in Every Day PoemsThe Woven Tale Press MagazineThe Found Poetry Review (special David Foster Wallace edition), The Victorian Violet Press & Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, VerseWrights, Escape Into Life, Poets for Living Waters, Red Lion Square, The Beautiful Due, the sad red earth, The Poetry Tree, and Englewood Review of Books. Her interviews and feature articles have appeared at TweetSpeak Poetry and The High Calling. Maureen writes daily at her blog Writing Without Paper, is an Artist Watch editor for the online arts magazine Escape Into Life, and a contributing writer to Manhattan Arts and TweetSpeak Poetry. An art collector, she owns a small art-licensing company, Transformational Threads.

Social Media: I’m on SheWrites, FaceBook, Twitter, Goodreads, SoundCloud, and LinkedIn.


Transformational Threads:

Another collaboration of mine: http://juancarloshernandezphotographe.blogspot.com/2011/07/night-stalkingcollaboration-with-poet.html

Marc NeysSwoon (AKA Marc Neys) (°1968, Essen, Belgium) is an artist who works in a variety of media; he’s a video-artist / soundscape-constructor. 

“His work is provocative, beautiful and disturbing. Using poems as guidelines, Swoon (Marc Neys) creates video and soundscapes that is instantly recognizable for its dreamlike quality as well as the skill with which the artist extracts new meaning from the poems he illuminates.” (Erica Goss)

Swoon’s work has been featured at film and video-art festivals all over the world.

In 2014 Swoon released his first album of soundscapes ‘Words/No Words’ on Already Dead Tapes. He curates, gives workshops and writes a monthly column for Awkword Paper Cut.




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