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Blog . Beautiful Losers


Beautiful Losers

10/06/14  |  Posted by Leah Yochman  |  Posted in Digital Creativity

A documentary I love, Beautiful Losers, is about a group of artistic outsiders who connected at a little gallery in New York City in the 1990’s. They came from the subcultures with the do-it-yourself mindset, and with that mindset they made art reflecting their personal lifestyles and thoughts. Their art was developed with little influence from the high art world. They were inspired by street art, graffiti, and the people around them. These things combined to create a movement transforming pop culture. The artists in the documentary are Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey, Jo Jackson, Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen, Harmony Korine, Geoff McFetridge, Barry McGee, Mike Mills, Stephen Powers and Ed Templeton.

Watching this documentary gave me a lot of hope because the artists described what they went through, how they made their art, the way it's important to them, and the fact that they started from nothing and managed to gain a lot of international fame and recognition. They became successful by doing what they felt was good and doing what made them happy. What was considered to be good or trendy didn't matter. You can see the passion in their work. Artwork should embody the right to be who you are, express what you want to say, and have it be raw. I often forget, and I know others do as well, that art is a way to say things you did not get to say. To let out what needs to be released. Sometimes you have to just make work to get it off of your chest, and not focus on what others think. I really connected with the part about the importance of being able to have fun, enjoy yourself and make work that will impact others. I want to have others feel something and own it, whether it is physically or mentally.

One of the artists, Mike Mills, talks about how he thinks it is more important to look at work and say it is good, instead of looking at it and saying it is bad. Sometimes in art school people can be trained to do that. There is a lot more power in positivity than negativity. If you encourage the artist to keep creating the art, then they will continue to pursue their artistic goals. If you are not positive in your reactions to artistic progress, the artist will falter and may be reluctant to continue. Art is a healthy release that needs to be reinforced in a positive light in order to continue growth and development.

This documentary was very inspiring and got me thinking about what’s important in my art and how it impacts my life. The strongest message that I picked up on in this film is that the artists were creating to fulfill a personal need to create. These artists were not concerned with being famous, or any monetary gains that they would receive as the end result. This mindset ended up being what people who came across their work were drawn to and is what made them so successful. I highly recommend this documentary to anyone who is feeling unsure about themselves being a part of the art scene, being an artist, or needing some personal inspiration. This documentary shows how art can impact lives and change society.

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CIA’s Pre-College helped Karl realize art school was the right choice for him. If you know of a rising high school sophomore, junior or senior who might also benefit, they can learn more about—and apply for—this summer’s program after reading Karl’s Q&A.

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