About this project
The Life You Make is a documentary film project focusing on artists who make their living primarily from art fairs - street shows where artists set up in booths inside tents on the streets of towns like yours. I am a fine artist by trade.
When I graduated from art school I was lead to believe that the only way to make a living as an artist was by developing some sort of academic fall back or working an unrelated day job while struggling to maintain an artistic practice in the evening. That only %1 of my classmates would be working as artists a decade after graduation was a figure often cited by my professors. Simply put I was taught to believe that real artists didn't really make a living from their work.
In spite of or as a result of all this I was attracted to the idea of traveling and selling my work at street shows. If nothing else it sounded like a great way to spend a summer; seeing the country while paying for it all with artwork. My girlfriend and I decided that it was something that we wanted to try. Fast forward eleven years and it has become for us a way of life. Even at its worst, I cannot imagine trading for any other type of living.
The show scene (I say scene for lack of a better word as it is hard to call a way of life a “scene” in the same way that journalists might refer to a regional group of punk rock bands) is built on a tight knit and remarkably supportive group of artists. Some of the most important relationships of my life are those I have formed through shows. They are a diverse, hardworking, and remarkable group of people in addition to being great artists. I would admire and be inspired by them no matter what venue I was seeing their work in. They are happy to toil away in their studios then criss-cross the country in vans setting up and taking down their displays in all weather conditions sometimes spending months at a time on the road. Not only do some work on the road but there have been those that never go home, making the constant journey, the life itself, the studio.
The ideals of these artists often remain un-corrupted by the need to generate income. If anything it is a necessity that drives them to work harder. It infuses the best of their work with a palpable urgency. These artists prove that producing work to sell is not always selling out.
Most importantly I am inspired by this community because they have found a way to live on their own terms. They are their own boss; they earn their living with their bare hands on their own terms. Making something then hitting the road and turning it into a living, I believe, is the most essential expression of the American spirit that I can think of. It is equal parts Kerouac and old west pioneer vision.
This film takes the audience in to the studios and homes of America’s working artists as well as on the road. It is a story of lives lived to the fullest that can inspire everyone to do it themselves.
Risks and challenges
Due to my being a part of the community described in this film and my willingness to under take the project, which I have already begun, I am in a unique position. As a result I can confidently say that the point of this Kickstarter campaign is itself an effort to address and eliminate the risks associated with the project.
I began shooting The Life You Make in the winter of 2013 with the best used camera I could afford at the time. Over the course of the following year I amassed twelve hours of interviews along with studio visits and glimpses from the road. I took advantage of my own travel schedule and worked whenever it was possible. At this point I have a lot of solid material but desperately need to upgrade equipment and do some additional shooting. My computer can barely handle the processing demands that I am making on it and any kind of HD editing is currently out of the question. As well, a more current HD camera would allow me to expand the visual depth of the film. At this point I have done everything myself and plan to continue working that way as much as possible. This is my story as well and no one will be able to approach the material with the understanding that I can, however, I will need to enlist outside assistance. This is a very low budget production but many things will have to be paid for. Things such as color correction and audio mastering simply cannot be done with my current equipment or necessarily by me personally.
As a working artist I am very adept at making due with whatever resources are at hand. At the same time it is important to me to see the project brought to a certain standard. With no funding, completing the film would become a protracted process and warrant a final product lacking professional finish. Having said that the greatest obstacle associated with this project is time. However persevering through difficult and unfamiliar situations is a reoccurring theme through out the arc of my career and I am fully confidant I can navigate the difficulties associated with stitching together this particular documentary feature.
My funding goal is based on the minimum dollar amount needed to bring the project to completion. If my goal is exceeded, it will simply allow me to spend that much more on the services to complete the film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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