I have been an artist even before I could say the word. As a child I would tear the tracing paper out of drawing books and sketch the images freehand. So naturally, when I learned about Somewhere In The Middle, a documentary about working artists, I knew I had to see this movie.
Somewhere In The Middle covers the lives and careers of five artists who earn a living by doing what they love. These interesting subjects include, musician Griffin House, Paper Sculptor Jeff Nishinaka, guitarist Aaron Tap, painter Dan McCaw and actor Jasika Nicole (The Good Doctor – TV series, Fringe – TV series).
As the title indicates, this diverse group of artist are not exactly celebrities, but they are not starving artists either, they are somewhere between. This is an inspirational group of artisans that are not often talked about, which is why I am thrilled this documentary tells their stories.
These interviews, combined with famous quotes and archival materials, paint the full picture of what it means to be a full time artist. It covers the highs and lows, the various backgrounds, the financial uncertainty, even the strain it can have on relationships. It’s about the dream, the pursuit of the dream and how that reverie may evolve over time.
Just a few of the many key moments include, Griffin House talking about going on tour opening for The Cranberries. Or how one artist said their low point was “borrowing” laundry change from a roommate to buy food from the ninety-nine cent menu.
It was great to see Jeff Nishinaka, a highly skilled paper sculptor master an Art I was not even aware of. Nishinaka’s work has been featured in major publications such as USA Today, The New York Times, V Magazine and The Atlantic. The work of painter Dan McCaw was also showcased well. As it should be, he is one of America’s most respected contemporary Impressionists. We are treated to the music of Griffin House and Aaron Tap.
Actors will love to hear what Jasika Nicole has to say. She has enjoyed a fruitful career as a working actor. Somewhere In The Middle shows this nicely by including clips of her acting with noteworthy stars such as Tracie Thoms (9-1-1 – TV series, Death Proof), Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele – TV series) and Jessica De Gouw (Dracula – TV series, Arrow – TV series).
Somewhere In The Middle marks the first documentary for filmmaker Nathan Ives (The Basement), who serves as the Director and Producer. As a rare sign of good faith, Ives made a promise to these artist.
Once the feature was edited, he let them see it to have final approval. Some changes were made based on their notes, but nothing of substance given the hard hitting honestly these people give us in the doc. It is also interesting to note that Nathan Ives interviewed eight different artists, then narrowed it down to the five we get in the feature.
I feel every artist, any creative out there can learn something and be inspired by Somewhere In The Middle, I know I did. At very least it will be a cause for reflection. I am happy to say for over eight years now, I have made all my income from jobs in the entertainment field, all be it from various different gigs. That has never been harder than since I moved to Los Angeles, and yet this feels like the best time of my life. That’s what it’s all about, the great unknown, the sublime and sorted journey of the working artist.
This movie is truly by artist, for artist. For proof of this, you need only look at the post credits. They list the five artist beside their picture, followed by the photos along with each key crew member who worked on the doc. Somewhere In The Middle is due to be released on Amazon, October, 22ed. Please watch it and leave a review, because we artist know how good it feels to be recognized.
Curt Wiser is an author and the writer/directer of the suspense movie Cam-Girl. He is happy to see what fellow working artists do, and share that with the rest of the world.
22nd October 2019
THE QUICK SELL
A documentary about the lives of five working artists, who aren't household names, but who are making a legitimate living through their art.