Christian Rex van Minnen says he’s missed the mark if he can explain his painting with words
21st December 2019 by Will Stewart
MadeGood – Please give me a bit of background on yourselves as film makers. Do you always work together, and is this film about Christian Rex van Minnen the sort of film that you usually make? Tell me a bit about your working process as co-directors? How did you assemble the rest of your team for this film?
Alexander Nicholson – The two of us met working on some projects for Juxtapoz Magazine where Alex works as a contributing editor. Justin got his start making skate films in the pacific northwest before moving to San Francisco. Alex’s background is in photography and writing but he has been expanding into film and video. We now share a studio together in Oakland where we work on a variety of collaborative and individual projects. We were lucky to have many talented friends that were willing to contribute their time to help us make the film.
MadeGood – Tell me a bit about Christian Rex van Minnen in your own words. What do you think about his work? What drew you to make a film about him in the first place? What sort of person was he like to work with?
Alexander Nicholson – Christian Rex van Minnen ‘s prowess as a painter clearly expresses unnatural talent but that skill is also the product of a life dedicated to the mastery of a process that is as introspective and emotional as it is technical. Aside from being big fans of his art, we were also drawn to his ability to eloquently articulate that process to us. He was incredibly patient and open with us, giving us access to whatever we wanted to know and as much time as we needed to work out our own creative vision for the film.
MadeGood – I love some of the unusual split screen set ups in the film, and the surreal images of him painting on floating canvases towards the end of the film. What led you to this slightly unusual approach?
Alexander Nicholson – We tried to present his studio as both a physical space and a more abstract “headspace.” Adding a split screen of images and the floating canvases helped illustrate his headspace and blur the lines between an inner and outer world. We felt adding these elements helped interpret the story in a more conceptual way then a traditional artist interview.
MadeGood – Towards the beginning of the film Christian Rex van Minnen says, ’The most importing thing is painting, it’s not the painting.’ Does this comment resonate with your own creative work?
Alexander Nicholson – One of the most rewarding aspects of talking to Christian Rex van Minnen is that we were able to learn from and be inspired by him. That line resonated with us very much and heavily influenced the direction of the short. We are constantly trying to remind ourselves to enjoy the process and understand that it is far more important than what we end up creating.
MadeGood – What are you working on next?
Alexander Nicholson – CRvM is intended to be the first in a series of shorts on the creative process, not just with artists but musicians, writers, and other creative thinkers. We are currently working on the next film in the series.