Inspiring art documentaries and movies that you need to add to your bucket list
If you are a keen artist, there are probably various things you do to find creative inspiration – like going to art galleries, reading art books and magazines and watching art films and documentaries.
However, while those gallery visits and books could require some big monetary spending on your part, many of those films and documentaries could be available on TV services to which you already have access. Here is some of that content that comes especially recommended.
Mr. Turner (2014)
Set in the early Victorian period, this Mike Leigh film casts Timothy Spall as a cranky, aged version of the English landscape painter J. M. W. Turner.
The film is also fascinating for its attention to historically authentic detail – and the unflattering portrayal of the hanging committee of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition makes the movie even more watchable.
In this Aisling Walsh-directed biopic, the Canadian folk-artist-turned-painter Maud Lewis is played by the deservedly well-rated actress Sally Hawkins.
There probably wasn’t a better choice of actress to vividly depict Maud’s trials and tribulations, including poverty and losing a child to adoption.
The Mexican artist Frida Kahlo painted Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair in 1940, just after divorcing from the mural-painter Diego Rivera – and their difficult relationship comes under focus in this biopic.
Salma Hayek takes the title role, and the Royal Academy of Arts has praised the actress’s “cheeky, provocative and highly believable portrayal”, calling it “essential viewing”.
Abstract: The Art of Design (2017-19)
In this documentary series commissioned by Netflix, various well-known figures from the design world – and that’s an undoubtedly broad world – are interviewed. They include illustrator Christoph Niemann, stage designer Es Devlin and automotive designer Ralph Gilles.
Highsnobiety says that “viewers will notice shared theories, as well as dramatically different approaches based on the individual medium.”
Finding Vivian Maier (2013)
What motivated Vivian Maier to capture the “mundane” with her street photographs, over 100,000 of which were discovered in 2007? This documentary provides something of an insight, helping to clarify the genesis of the now-respected genre of street photography.
The unearthed Maier photographs were shot on a twin-lens Rolleiflex camera and included glimpses of American, European and Asian life in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, making her work something of a time capsule this documentary eagerly explores.
Saving Banksy (2017)
It’d be easy to initially mistake this documentary for a simple profile of the elusive street artist Banksy. However, Country & Town House reckons that Saving Banksy should actually be watched “for its compelling exploration into the ethics of making and removing street art” – and financially gaining from it.
So, you’ve now seen a list of films about artists – but, if you still feel short of inspiration, you could consider also reading what the art world itself has to say about films. The art collector Charles Saatchi, for example, has used his website to publish his opinions of various noted movies – whether or not they are clearly associated in any way with the art world inhabited by Saatchi himself.