In this age of information anxiety and technology overload, Of Sight and Sound takes us back to a most essential element of the human experience: our capacity for wonder, imagination and connection to one another.
HELP US STRETCH OUR GOAL!
THANK YOU! We reached our initial goal! Please continue to support the campaign so we can make an EVEN better film!
• $11,750 – Original Goal – A C H I E V E D! Thank you so much!
• $13,000 – One extra day of production behind the scenes to film Ford painting in his studio (not blindfolded) and Brandon composing on his guitar and rehearsing.
• $14,000 – More time in the edit room with our fabulous editor!
Please back our campaign and help us finish this short film!
Three years ago, painter Ford Crull stood on a terrace at night in Rio de Janeiro and gazed out over the city. He set up a canvas and began to paint in the dark. Because his vision was limited, he had to essentially feel his way, relying on his inner awareness. The experience intrigued him. He continued to experiment and soon began painting blindfolded, deprived of all physical sight. The results were unexpected: he felt these paintings were more dramatic, more powerful, more real than his other work.
Ford approached his good friend, guitarist and composer Brandon Ross, and asked if he would join him to create art together. Brandon would build an evolving musical sound environment in which Ford, blindfolded, would paint. Both artists would tap deeply into what they call their “inner technologies of consciousness,” allowing themselves to be in a more intuitive state. In the unfolding process, each artist would influence and infuse the other’s work. For Ford, Brandon’s music would become a form of vision. For Brandon, Ford’s brush strokes would become his graphic score.
The result was Of Sight and Sound.
Ford paints with three colors, one at a time, layering first yellow, then red and then black. His "canvas" is a 20' x 7' sheet of paper which he moves across with his paint brush with each successive color. Blindfolded, he feels his way from one end to the other, knowing only the location and order of his three paint trays.
Brandon begins from a place of pure sound elements, undirected by pre-determined arrangement, key or form. Using Ford’s process as a tool for inspiration and structure, he embarks on a journey of musical revelation. Listen here.
For the viewer, Of Sight and Sound is a deep dive into the collaborative process in which painter and musician create an art experience in unison, merging image and sound. Neither artist is leading the other, though we may be tempted to think so. Instead, each remains entirely vulnerable to the possibilities of the present moment. The performance takes about an hour. When it's over, audience members say they feel a personal connection to the painting they have watched emerge. And though the music has ended, the sound seems present, imbedded in the shapes and brush strokes. The performance gives us a unique experience of seeing and hearing, while renewing our sense of wonder, imagination and connection.
On June 9, we filmed Of Sight and Sound with multiple cameras at the Glass Gallery, an expansive, light-filled space at Mana Contemporary art center in Jersey City, NJ.* With two roving video cameras and three still time-lapse cameras, we captured this intimate performance between Ford and Brandon and his music ensemble, Pendulum.
We would now like to share this experience with you! But we need your help. We are asking you to please support our campaign so that we can complete a short film of this singular performance. While you may not have been with us that day, our goal for the short is to make you feel as though you had been.
When the invitation came to perform and film Of Sight and Sound at the Glass Gallery, we jumped at the opportunity. We worked quickly to bring everyone together - Brandon’s ensemble and a top-notch film crew, some of whom deferred payment so that they could be a part of it.
We’ve now completed production and are asking for your help to finish the film. We can’t begin to calculate the value of the unpaid time and energy donated by our many collaborators on this project, but our campaign goal will cover the hard costs of bringing the film to completion.
These are our primary expenses:
•One day of voice recording with Ford and Brandon
•Editing the film
•Creating title graphics
•Mixing the sound – very important, because sound is half of the performance
• Honorarium for the ensemble musicians
• Costs associated with the time-lapse photography
We are deeply grateful for your support and look forward to sharing Of Sight and Sound with you!
Who we are:
Ford Crull, painter
Ford Crull’s work explores the expressive power of personal and cultural symbols in a series of densely painted and vividly colored compositions. Crull uses identifiable images such as hearts, wings, crosses and the human figure, as well as geometrical emblems and abstract forms whose meanings are less explicit. Words, in the form of cryptic and fleeting phrases, also animate his pictorial world. Ford’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery, Dayton Art Institute and the Brooklyn Museum. His paintings were included in the important 1989 Moscow exhibition, “Painting After the Death of Painting,” curated by Donald Kuspit, and has been shown internationally in cities including New York, Shanghai, London and Milan. www.fordcrull.com
Some art wishes merely to be stylish, to make a fashionable fit with the moment. Other art –as ambitious in its way as Crull’s – would like to help us transcend ourselves, to find a way to some realm of thought or feeling where individual differences are overcome. -Carter Ratcliff
Brandon Ross, guitarist and composer
Brandon Ross is a New York City-based guitarist, composer, singer and songwriter. As a performing and recording artist, Brandon has collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Henry Threadgill, Pulitzer Prize finalist Wadada Leo Smith, multi-Grammy winner, Cassandra Wilson, and Me’Shell N’degeocello, among many others. Brandon is a co-leader of the acclaimed power trio Harriet Tubman, with bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis, and also leads For Living Lovers, his self-described “chamber music for improvisers” acoustic duo with acoustic bass guitarist Stomu Takeishi. He is a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Fellow, an ASCAP Foundation commissioned composer, Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant recipient, NYSCA Composition grant recipient, and an ASCAP writer and publisher member. www.brandonross.nyc
Ross is a one-man atmosphere factory, availing himself of all the sounds—cries, squeaks, cracks, fuzz, whispers, organ-like echoes—that an electric guitar, in the hands of a master, can produce. -Paris Review
A very special thank you to ESKFF, which provided the space for this performance of Of Sight and Sound and for their support of Ford’s work. Ford attended ESKFF’s Artist Residency in the Spring of 2019. The performance was filmed during the ESKFF Annual Fundraiser; No Rules in June, 2019.
The Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation (ESKFF) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit contemporary art and education residency program for artists and students from regional, national and international locations. ESKFF embraces the individual artistic journey by providing enhancement programs that align, elevate, and bridge artists to the larger arts community.
Maia Wechsler, director
Maia Wechsler is a New York-based independent documentary filmmaker. Her latest work, If the Dancer Dances, just completed a theatrical release across the United States. Previous work includes the award-winning films Sisters in Resistance and Melvin & Jean: An American Story, with music by Brandon Ross. Prior to filmmaking, Maia was a journalist in France and the U.S She devoted her early life to dance. More recently, she became a certified yoga instructor and spent two years teaching women detainees at Rikers Island.
Sue Peehl, editor
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge is time.
Not a deadline, but the length of our short film. In little time - less than 10 minutes - we want you to feel as though you were with us that day at the Glass Gallery. To do that, we need to convey the excitement of live performance, the subtle interaction between the artists, and the evolution of the work from the first brush strokes and characters of sound.
But we feel confident that the film will do all of this, thanks to our perceptive and highly skilled camera and sound crew, our time-lapse camera set-up, and our expert editor.
- (30 days)