'Art of Post' Art Show Features Creativity After Delivery
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When I moved to Los Angeles, "show my art in a gallery" was as much of a realistic goal as publishing an autobiography or being including in Forbes' "30 under 30" list (there's still time!).
So when I saw the Art of Post event featuring art created by post production professionals in Los Angeles and New York, I knew it wasn't just a new idea, it was necessary. And that's why visual effects producer Lauren Ellis decided to put this event together with assistance from her company The Molecule, which has locations in both cities.
Lauren Ellis and Andrew Bly
Lauren got her start in the business as a producer in advertising -- and hated it. Thinking she hated producing, she went back to school for motion graphics and animation and discovered visual effects though a history course. From there she fell into compositing, and eventually realized it wasn't producing that she hated, but the lack of a visual arts aspect to her previous roles. "I still had a knack for producing that I tried to stifle because I thought 'you came all this way, you need to be an artist,' but really I was just a producer in the wrong industry!" Now she works for The Molecule's LA office, seeing projects through from start to finish in visual effects, motion graphics and virtual reality for television and features.
The Art of Post was born from Lauren's observation that like herself, many people working in post production, especially those in purely managerial or technical roles, are artists and craftspeople on their own time that seek a creative outlet. Whether it's an inherent need to be creative or a way to relax away from the stress and cynicism of the job, people in post are creating traditional (and non-traditional) art every day, often in secret. Partnering with The Molecule's partner and executive producer Andrew Bly, events were put together on both coasts that brought together these artists from various post disciplines in gallery events filled to capacity. "I wanted to do something that fed my [artistic] desire, and put something out there that was part of my natural ability to draw."
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And the LA event included my art: a selection of portrait photography I've taken over the last few years. I enjoy staying indoors when it comes to filmmaking, and I could never really grasp moving images. But I've spent the last 6 years on the side having fun as a stills photographer, shooting weddings, newborns, engagements, and just for fun. My photos have gone from Facebook profile pictures to mantle centerpieces, but a downtown LA gallery was never in reach. Photography was my "creativity after delivery," as Lauren described this event, and it was good to see I'm not the only one that seeks an alternate creative outlet from post production.
Me and my portrait photography.
The Los Angeles Art of Post event was held on May 12 at PYO Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, while the New York event happened on May 13th at White Space Chelsea. I talked to Lauren at PYO Gallery after I spent some time looking at the paintings, photos, drawings and sculptures that represented life after post in LA -- and watched strangers observe my art too.
The PYO Gallery was filled to capacity.
Creative COW: What's the mission of The Art of Post? Where did the idea come from?
Lauren Ellis: I thought to myself 'I can't be the only person that does this for their day job but goes home at night and sketches in a sketchbook.' I know I'm not the only one because I've met other producers, editors, all kinds of people who are sculptors or design clothes, and all these different things. I realized that same idea of channeling your creativity outside of your day job was probably something everyone could relate to. When I pitched [the idea] to Andrew, he had actually already been thinking of doing something like this too!
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The mission is to celebrate who we are outside of work. We are the finishers and the make believers of film and television. We take that energy and apply it in so many aspects of our lives. Whether that's painting, other films for outselves, motion design work, or any other kind of media. I wanted to celebrate that and build on that energy, because I did feel like in LA there are so few events where we come together in that way. I think that's because of tax incentives changing things around or people being disillusioned on some level. This is just a night to help us remember that we have other stuff we can do -- let's focus on that for a second.
The Law Offices of Farmington Associates by Cindy Segura, motion designer.
Why is having a creative outlet important?
Art only informs what you do. As a VFX producer, if I don't have my hand on the visual, I don't really do my job as well as I could. I can't advise a director very well if I don't have a handle on how things are done. And there's something about the meditative nature of taking a pencil to paper that keeps me calm, and teaches me calmness under pressure when we're in those late nights in post.
A colorist we had in the gallery tonight, she's working right now. She's working late because that's typically' what happens. We had people that RSVPd to attend that couldn't make it because they're working tonight. too That's how it happens. Art is an outlet, it informs what you do, keeps your mind clear, and gives you something else to pour any negative energy into.
Wizard of Oz Colortime by colorist Aurora Gordon
What kind of people participated? Where do you see it going from there?
It was a little VFX heavy this go around which is to be expected, but we had editors, online editors, assistants, VFX coordinator, post coordinator, associate producers, colorists, so many people. I I thik this go around people wanted to see what it's all about, and I beat the drum on the idea that it's whatever your creative expression is! We want this to be annual. And I think we'll get people from all areas of post production next time. It will be especially exciting to get producers and post supervisors or people with jobs like that you wouldn't connect with the visual arts.
PYO Gallery in downtown LA
The Molecule was the sole sponsor this year, and I think in the beginning you have to get the ball rolling yourself and you use it as an example for the future sponsors. I hope that it goes beyond traditional arts and transforms into a craft fair if it can expand to that. We have people in post that make all kinds of things -- hot sauce, bitters, crocheting. I want [Art of Post] to grow to whatever your form of expression is outside of work once we deliver -- creativity after delivering.
Sketches by VFX Producer Lauren Ellis