by Massimo Salvato
A documentary about artist Jonathan Sherwood, one of the most distinctive voices within community art in Wales.
When Jon told me that twenty artists, as consequence of urban planning, were going to be evicted from the empty shop that they were using as a community art studio in the town centre of Newport, Wales; that at the same time Jon was going to be evicted from his house; that he suffers from bi-polar disorder and keeps himself alive through the creation of his art and through heavy medication, I decided I wanted to make a documentary.
Since I started filming, the artists' collective charity Artopsy, created by Jonny, moved to an ex-MFI furniture retail store, through the help of the charity Healthy Planet, outside the town centre. The place attracted a big number of artists who had there the space to create paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and performing art pieces. The experience came to an end this year in July, when a possible agreement between the landlords and a big retail chain basically kicked Artopsy out of the building...
At the moment Artopsy artists (increased in number) and Healthy Planet with their project Books For Free, are looking for a new studio in town. In the meanwhile paintings and artwork are stored in our private houses and shops' back rooms thanks to kind shop owners; installations and construction work had to be dismantled. Private possessions, equipment, artwork and tools have been lost or destroyed during the moving out. We hope that this film will also give enough exposure to this remarkable experience and will help a group of artists to find a permanent studio.
This is a film about:
• The personal journey of an artist and the world surrounding him
• The mini-Diaspora that a group of artists is stuck in since their formation as a collective and eviction from the ‘regenerated’ town centre.
Since last year I have filmed about 90 hours of footage, and I am at the stage now where I have to start editing. Post-production in a studio is expensive. We are talking about at least £10,000 for the picture edit based on 90 hours of footage and 6 weeks of work (likely to be more because this is an experimental work).
If we reach £3,000, we will:
1 - achieve a rough cut of the film
2 - fulfill your rewards
3 - pay Kickstarter fees.
Some of the artists involved have also donated some of their artwork to the project’s backers! see below.
We’ve managed to get the film through one year of production. We need more - a good deal more - to finish the project, which includes online editing in a post-production studio with final picture cut, colour grading in order to achieve the film's organic look, and post-production sound. But we are sure that if we reach this £3,000 goal, then we will have a very interesting product to show for further funding.