Tommy Hartung is our GoPro Hero

GoPro on TH's Head 001

New York Close Up just made good on one New Years resolution:  see how we’re getting in better shape by checking out Tommy Hartung’s latest film, Tommy Hartung is Off and Running.

And I’m only partially joking.  While Tommy jogged, yours truly shot all of the interview from my bike – one hand on the handlebars and the other cradling a GoPro Hero brand camera.  It’s that little box Tommy is wearing on his head in the above pic.  Super compact and HD-capable, it’s become the go-to camera for any reality show car interior shooting (and the various real housewives are incessantly in their cars.)  It’s also become a standard part of the New York Close Up production tool kit.  Shooting POV in tight spaces?  Check.  See the spray painting shots in Keltie Ferris Spray Paints in Solitude.  Time lapse?  Check.  Watch Eddie Martinez’s antic moments in the Year Two Trailer.

And for don’t-try-this-at-home-I-am-a-professional mobile interviews we’ve got this latest episode.  The trickiest part wasn’t keeping Tommy in frame but not totally wiping out over the insidiously varied Queens terrain Tommy ran us thru.  From Ridge potato chip-like residential streets in Ridgewood to the uphill/downhill/dirt/sand/gravel/manure combination paths of Forest Park.  Fortunately no one was seriously injured in the production of this film.  But it was damn close.

CAPTION:  Artist Tommy Hartung in Forest Park (Queens, 09.11.12.)  Production still from the series “New York Close Up” © Art21, Inc. 2013.  Cinematography by Ian Forster.

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All I Want For Xmas . . .

SONY DSC

is one of Keltie Ferris’ paintings from her latest exhibition at Mitchell-Inness & Nash (Chelsea, Manhattan.)  And maybe while he’s at it, Santa can throw in an Eddie Martinez work from his recent three-person show at Zach Feuer (also in Chelsea.)  Both New York Close Up artists are making big, hot, gorgeous abstractions at the moment.  And both shows are up til January 12.

CAPTION:  ++++****)))) by Keltie Ferris (2012.)  Oil, acrylic and pastel on canvas.  80 by 100 in.

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Smack Mellon Could Use Your Help

No doubt many of you are aware of the damage Hurricane Sandy wrought on a significant number of Chelsea galleries.  Maybe a little less publicized but no less important (or sad) was the damage done to the Smack Mellon residency program in DUMBO.  It was bad.  Per the Smack Mellon website –  ”all the aritsts’ studios were flooded with six feet of water, destroying all contents including their artwork.  And the studio program’s media lab, kitchen, and wood shop also sustained severe damage.”

Fortunately, Smack Mellon resident – and New York Close Up artist – Shana Moulton came out relatively unscathed; she lost her work space there, but her art (video media especially) was safe at home.

And even more fortunately, the good folks at Art Fag City are dedicating this year’s Wienerfest & Fundraiser to Smack Mellon’s recovery efforts.   It’s this Sunday December 16, 3 to 7PM at Postmasters in Chelsea.  Fifty percent of full price ticket sales will go to Smack Mellon relief.

So if you’ve got the cash, Smack Mellon could really use your help.  Thanks.

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NYCU at the Apple Store Soho NYC December 11

Hey folks, I’m excited to announce that my New York Close Up co-producing partner Wesley Miller and myself will be part of a screening and discussion at the Apple Store Soho, New York City.  It’s this Tuesday, December 11 at 7PM, free and totally open to the public.  The event’s entitled “Creating the Portrait of an Artist: New York Close Up and Etsy,” and along with Etsy’s Senior Video Producer (and NYCU project friend) Tara Young, we’ll be talking about the pleasures and perils of producing short form arts documentaries for the web.  We’ll be screening films from the New York Close Up and Etsy catalog, and the discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A.

This is really the first public discussion of the New York Close Up series from the producers’ behind the scenes perspective.  So if you’re in the New York City area and want to learn more about the project’s whats, whys, and hows straight from the source, this is the time to do it.

And if you don’t already know about them, Etsy produces some great documentary shorts highlighting their (extremely large) roster of artist vendors.  Best way to check them out is to visit their blog.

Hope to see you there.

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Degrassi vs 90210? Erin Shirreff takes a stand

CAPTION:  Artist Erin Shirreff with Justin Martin in her studio (Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 04.20.12.)  Production still from the series “New York Close Up” © Art21, Inc. 2012.  Cinematography by Rafael Moreno Salazar.

Folks, our latest film is live – Erin Shirreff Takes Her Time.

One of the many pleasures in producing this one was getting to know Erin Shirreff and uncover her not immediately obvious Canadian-ness.  After our initial shoot in her Greenpoint studio – when she was still in the process of creating the video work Lake (the central focus of today’s New York Close Up release) – Erin passed along a YouTube link for a series of short films, produced and broadcast in Canada in the 80’s, that depict various Canadian national parks.  Films that Erin saw many, many times on television as a child (and judging from the YouTube comments, a whole generation of Canadians did as well.)  Films that are a loose but still significant inspiration for not just Lake but Erin’s general sensibility.

Un-Canadian as I am, I was totally hooked by the shorts’ instantly recognizable, early 80’s film to video texture, and the oddly melancholic tone.  Fortunately we were able to bookend our film on Erin with excerpts from a couple of the Parks Canada shorts.  But we were only able to include just a small portion of the interview detailing Erin’s unexpected history with these films.  So for the Canada-ophiles among you, below’s a more extended excerpt from our original interview:

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