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> > > Ivan Riches: Outside In video portraits

22 October 2012

Introduction

As part of DAO’s Diverse Perspectives programme, funded by Arts Council England, film-maker Ivan Riches was selected to produce a series of short, moving image, digital works with two Outside In artists

screenshot from ivan riches video profile of Paul Bellingham showing a highly stylised painting of a face

During a period of negotiation Outside In artist Paul Bellingham agreed to collaborate with Ivan. Ivan’s brief was to capture a flavour of the working processes of the artist, incorporating his imagery in the production of a short ‘video portraits’. 

The intention was to showcase the artistry, skills, ideas and creative processes of the artist in the spirit of a joint creative collaborative journey. The resulting digital artworks provide an exciting response to the Outside In artists’ technique and creative process giving a deeper insight into the artists' working practices.

Outside In is a groundbreaking initiative produced by Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex. From 27 October 2012 Outside In: National will showcase 80 works in the gallery by over 60 artists selected from pieces submitted to the Outside In: National competition over the past year.

As well as the works selected for inclusion in the exhibition, six award winners will be chosen to have a solo exhibition at Pallant House Gallery (in 2013 and 2014) by a panel of judges which include the renowned performance artist Bobby Baker and art historian Roger Cardinal.

Outside In aims to provide a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world either because of mental health issues, disability, health, social circumstance or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as art.

The digital artwork will tour as part of the 2013 Outside In exhibitions starting in March 2013 and completing in April 2014.

Ivan Riches collaboration with Outside In artist Paul Bellingham

My working process with Paul had a gentle approach. We spent a lot of time just looking through his work and talking about it and what it meant to him. From this cautious introduction Paul decided on what sort of questions he would like to answer. He wanted mostly to talk about how important art was to him and how his creativity as an artist was what kept him from being very depressed.

We then worked out how he wanted his paintings to be seen through the camera and he selected the work he wanted to show. He also asked for feedback and I told him that the work had a profound effect on me.

I love his paintings. To capture the thick textured paint and layering of the images and to fully realize the sculptural effect of the work meant I needed to take close ups and slowly zoom the camera shots in and out. Paul asked me to do this when filming his paintings and he checked each shot with me to see my idea realised. We also talked about music to enhance the effect, something hypnotic in structure with a reggae like rhythm and beat.

Another idea we came up with was for selected paintings (by Paul) to be mixed with the image of him talking to camera. He was particularly keen on this idea because he felt that his paintings of faces were a direct confrontation to the viewer. He felt that this process for showing his work would empower his work in the most directly effective way.

The final work is haunting. Paul’s input, alongside his artwork, has the effect of exploring the human condition head on. The painterly skill, bravery and honesty in Paul’s art work is equally matched by his direct speaking to camera. His belief in art and creativity as a human necessity to life and his approach to painting is deeply touching.

I learnt a lot about both artists and their work, but also something about myself. Interpretation of an artist’s work is a 2 way journey, one for the maker and one for the viewer, but if the viewer is an artist interpreting that work those journeys are doubled. This commission from DAO has enriched my artistic processes in filmmaking and approach in working with other disabled artists. In particular, working with Julian has inspired and ignited a fresh insight into my own practise as a disabled artist.