Top 5 Art Documentaries to Inspire [Me]

There are a multitude of ways to get inspired. One of my personal favorite ways to do so is to see other artists really kicking ass. Not just working, not just talking, not just exhibiting, but to see them being exactly who they are, and see that manifest itself into something that gives me this excited, jealous feeling in the pit of my stomach.

At least, that’s what being inspired feels like to me.

In any case, here are five films that gave me that feeling; here’s hoping they invoke something for you!

5. Between the Folds

This film will make you feel stupid, confused, and make you wonder what other parts of the art world you’ve been missing out on. Between the Folds showcases what modern origami has become – from traditional methods, code of ethics, to cutting edge artists who use advanced mathematical formulas to make something delicate and beautiful. (My favorite part is when they talk about minimalism in origami, did you know there’s a whole sub-genre of artists challenging themselves to make things using only a single fold?)

4. Yayoi Kusama: I love me.

Yayoi Kusama is perhaps one of the weirdest humans captured by modern film. She loves herself, her work, and constantly brings up what a genius she is and how lovely her sculptures, art installations, and other pieces are. However she is a great example of a modern, successful artist. Her style is very distinct, her mediums are very diverse and despite how much you want to roll your eyes, you cannot deny how talented she is. This film is awkward, amusing, bizarre, yet ultimately inspiring.

3. Exit Through the Gift Shop

This film follows the notorious english graffiti artist, Banksy, as well as American artists like Shepard Fairey and other street artists across the pond. This film is very well known not just among artists, but everyone for its intrigue and accessibility. Yes, it’s very popular and trendy, but I completely stand by it. Why? Because it’s popular for a reason.

2. Born into Brothels

Photographer Zana Briski exposes the children of the red light district in Sonagachi, Kolkata to photography. Providing them cameras, companionship, and mentorship in the art, she exposes the unique and unseen perspective of children of prostitutes in East India. If you ever need a reminder of what significance your art education- or any art education has -this film will do it.

1. Wasteland

This remains my favorite film probably because it deals with my favorite artist, Vik Muniz. The film focuses on the creation of one of his largest collections, his photographs from the world’s largest landfill: Jardim Gramacho, outside of Rio de Janiero, Brazil. This film is especially spectacular because it shows Muniz’s process better than anything. He starts with a photograph. He ends with a photograph. Everything else in between is pure magic. He is thoroughly immersed in the realm of his work first and foremost, interacting with his subjects on the human level, sometimes waiting weeks before even shooting. Vik Muniz is not around for powerful shots and a quick plane ride home, his artwork is the result of an experience, and more often than not, that experience always shines through.

Whether or not these films will inspire you all as they have inspired me I cannot say, however I can only hope you find mediums that give you that same excited, jealous feeling!


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