Art Is…

When you work in a creative field, certain questions present themselves over and over. Where’s the line between staying true to your vision and selling out? What does success mean and how does it affect your work? How does one work through roadblocks in the creative process? How do the demands of family, friends, colleagues interfere with or inspire your work? And why does everyone seem to have so much advice to give?


A few weekends ago, I got a chance to view an indie film called “Art Is….” which tackles many of those questions. The main character (played by the mesmerizing Emily Beecham) is a young painter on the eve of her first big exhibition at a trendy London gallery. She is both thrilled and terrified by the prospect, and the people around her–a devoted boyfriend who is struggling with his own creative endeavors, an obnoxious American agent, a father with health problems–don’t seem to provide much guidance.

The movie is termed a musical, and various characters do voice inner monologues in song, but as unlikely as it may sound, it works. There are plenty of parts that made me laugh out loud, and I found the movie visually very arresting — so many beautifully composed shots.

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The film was directed by someone who knows lots about the creative process: Barry Bliss (um, you may be familiar with his wife, knitting designer Debbie) and son Will Bliss plays the main character’s boyfriend (brilliantly, I might add). If you’re sharp-eyed, you might even see Debbie and daughter Nell appearing as extras in a scene. “Art Is. . .” will be shown at the Tate Modern in London, this Saturday, July 13th, at 12:00 in the Starr Auditorium.


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