Mathilde Veyrunes

Posted: October 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: interviews | Tags: , , | No Comments »
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One of your project, a film titled The Run, was shot in San Francisco while you were living there.
How did you end up living in San Francisco?

Seven years ago I started reading a book by Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America, written in 1961. It depicted North California mainly. Then I started to think, ‘I should go there’. I first came in 2009, I was on holidays and I stayed a few days in San Francisco. I was on a road trip, and I drove also to Death Valley, Las Vegas…
But my goal was to come back to San Francisco. Also for its musical scene – both from the past and from today.

San Francisco is also heavily depicted in the movies. Did it play a role?

I think so. I was struck by Norman Foster’s film noir from the 1950s, Woman on the Run. And it influenced me for my project called The Run. It is a black and white movie about a woman looking for her husband all over the city as he disappeared. The more she discovers San Francisco, the merrier she founds herself.
I wanted to create a portrait of the same character today. It allowed me to tell a different story with additional personal content.

When I think about San Francisco and the movies, I end up with the same idea: San Francisco is a character. The city is “the” character.

I see what you mean. San Francisco is one of the main characters of my film The Run. Like many artists I was attracted by its energy, and movies like Vertigo, Zodiac, Chan is missing, The Conversation, The Game…made it in a way. You can’t avoid the background set which is San Francisco. I tried to use it as a set as well.

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You studied at Fine Arts School. I was wondering if you specialized in video.

Yes I focused on video for my diploma, and before that I studied photography and writing.

You write, direct and produce your films. Did you choose to become a filmmaker while studying there?

I think I was 20 something, already in that school. Discovering David Cronenberg and David Lynch had a huge impact on me.
Around the same period, I found out my dad used to love the same directors. So I enjoyed watching a lot of movies at home. From that time cinema became important – as I did not really care before.

So it was obvious: you wanted to direct movies.

Yeah. I remember telling my friends I want to make films. Like a statement you know.
But it mattered for me to complete my studies. I took profit of the video class. I started to do installations with videos. I wanted to learn from that device.

Photography seems important for you as well.

I think so. I studied both photography and video.
And photography is video without motion, right?
My first pieces looked very much like photography: fixed shots, and there were no characters. It took me some time to include characters -or life if you prefer – and possibly tell a story if I can say so.

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How much did you learn from this medium? I mean how much is the training and how much is you?

I was glad because I was not trained to learn technics. I learn everything about video by myself. Except for the editing, we had a studio at school for post production and people who were good at it. And I learned from them. But I wasn’t taught how to direct a movie, which is good I think. I just grabbed a camera and I was trying to do things. In the beginning I did some shots in the dark and there was a lot of noise in my pictures. At first, I was disappointed but then I became more interested in it. These accidents are good in a way.

What kind of camera do you use?

I use a Canon Mark III, I bought it three years ago when I got a grant from the DRAC. My goal was to learn more technical stuff as well. And the challenge is to make images at night. And I use Avid technology for the editing.

When I first looked at your website, I was intrigued by a series of old photographs called The Oversights. Where are they coming from?

I found them while I was in Los Angeles for a few days. It was in a shop selling old stuff and a lot of photographs from the 1950s. There were all disordered in huge boxes, obviously from different families photographs. I took photographs I liked and I guess I was interested in making connections between them. They already tell a story, I am just using them for something different. It is a work in progress as I could get more like these.

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Could one of these pictures become the starting point for a new project of yours?

Yeah sure, why not? I think I bought these in the first place because I was interested in doing a film in Los Angeles. So it was a kind of portrait of the city in that time. Maybe they are the first clues for something. We’ll see (laughs).

You also have an ongoing musical project.

I am writing songs on my own with my guitar before working on the arrangements with other musicians. It is what we usually call folk rock music. I started this work last year with a guitarist, we used to be called Sailor, but right now it is just me.

What about your current plans?

I am still doing research on the 1950s area. The last book I read was Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson. She is a writer from the Beat Generation and she wrote this book about her friends from this period, mainly about Jack Kerouac. I am very interested in the research of identity, like these writers. I would like to go back to San Francisco to make another film.

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Mathilde Veyrunes lives and works in Paris.
www.mathildeveyrunes.fr


Simon Henwood

Posted: September 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »
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I paint my subjects as they are, as they choose to pose. There is no self-awareness; it is a very raw display of their own selves.’
Simon Henwood

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Untitled, from the Cricklewood series

The launching of his retrospective book earlier that year is an occasion to focus on Simon Henwood, multi-disciplinary artist.
He lived in New York City between 1988 and 1992, where he released 11 books for adults and children, such as The Clock Shop, The King Who Sneezed and A Piece of Luck.
He launched Purr Magazine in 1993, which was the first magazine to attempt to combine art, comics, music and literature together. It featured artists’ painting and photography, as well as Henwood’s art. Each issue was accompanied by 10inch vinyl recordings. The magazine was distributed all over the world and become a small cult phenomena before stopping in 1995.
Soon after, he started a publishing company named Purr Books. He then involved himself with animation and started working on an animated series for British TV.
Alice was his second magazine venture. It focused on the representation of childhood in art and the media. It is very rare nowadays to find one issue of the magazine.
Simon Henwood has worked through a wide range of artistic media including painting, 3D animation, magazine production and film. He directed several music videos, for Apollo 440, Devendra Banhart, and Roisin Murphy, who is sexually assaulted in a funny way by a giant lobster in the Movie Star video.

Simon Henwood was born in Portsmouth, England in 1965. He lives in London.

website:
http://www.simonhenwood.com/

book:
Charlotte Mullins, Henwood: Paintings and Films 1998-2008, Stephane Simoens Editions, 2009

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Ruby Blue