ALERT: If you are in Los Angeles on July 7th, make sure to Check out The "New Games Tournament" Art Exhibit, presented by Jon Clark. Watch this Vimeo Video to find out more about the Exhibit. If you decide to go, tell Jon that The Hypnotic Visionaire sent you. With all of that out of the way, enjoy the Article down below.
What is the hardest flaw of any given Artist? Well, that answer obviously depends on the Artist you talk about. To some, it's sheer Creative Skill. To others, it is the dedication to one's craft. But for a lot of us, it's trying to find a purpose or reason to do what we want. Despite Pre-Conceived Notions, Artists live Pretty Rigorous Lifestyles. You lose Trust in the World Around You; you always doubt your decisions. It seems like every day you see the world that never seems to change or progress. And you always question your purpose on this planet. I assume some Artists are Courageous & quite content. But for most of us, a constant shadow lurks behind our minds, shoving our craft into doubt.
That is where our tools come in. For me, that tool is, of course, my computer (and Software that allows me to write Scripts & Articles). No matter how hard it is to admit, my computer is my muse. It's always there to give me hope when the rest of the world doesn't. For Painters, this is a Brush, for Musicians, it is an Instrument. We gain deep passionate bonds with our tools as it helps us express ourselves. And what are tools at the end of a day? Well, that answer is Objects (which I hope you already knew).
The Human Race has a long, complicated History with how we use objects. For some, Objects represent the progress of Humanity. For others, they feel like our obsession with our objects has become our downfall. But nobody can deny that our Objects are just as Vital to Human Civilization as the People who use them.
Despite this undeniable facts, however, Objects are never talked about outside of Manipulative Advertisements. And that is because a lot of our understanding as a species comes from the emotions from one another. You look at Storytelling as an Art-Form, and most of these Stories have to deal with Human Emotions, Conflict, Social Orders, etc. In other words, Humans like to write Stories about themselves. In turn, these Stories ignore the importance of our objects just as much as Humans do in the real world. If you look at the generic Hollywood Landscape, Objects are mainly used as McGuffins in Stories about people (take the Ring in Lord of The Rings). This is unless the Story is about the Inventor of an Object (Steve Jobs), which is again, about a person.
So why is this a big deal? Well, our objects transform our characters than any other earth-like entity. They aren't just Background Noise; they are one of the humanity's defining traits. And rather that's a Cool Fact or an Inconvenient Truth, we all must agree that Objects are part of our belonging. So why don't we ever focus on Objects in our Media?
And I don't mean Objects that come to life (like in Toy Story) or Objects that have an emotional connection to a Human Character. I mean a Stationary unhindered look at how Objects operate in the real world. Well, that depends on a bunch of clues. But the biggest reason is that Objects aren't interesting to watch. How can you make an engaging film about an unmoveable object? Well, not only is it possible, but it's quite enchanting once you see it for yourself.
Meet Jon Clark, an Experimental Film Director who has made it his goal to focus on how Objects affects Human Beings in the real-world. So far Jon is the first (and to my knowledge, only) Director who focuses on the Objects in his films more than the Humans (at least that I've seen).
I had the Pleasure of interviewing Jon & his process on how he conducts himself in the real world. His Story is Quite Inspiring, spanning a Career that goes from Troma to Tim & Eric. But the most interesting aspect of his upbringing was how it affected his work in his career.
You see, Jon grew up in a Suburban-Like Town in Louisiana. For those outside of the United States, Louisiana is not a great State to find People who are into Arts & Crafts. In fact, according to Jon, it is almost non-existent. So he turned his Attention over to Video-Games & Movies to teach himself the value of Creative Artistry. Or, in other words, he turned to Objects. Now don't get me wrong, Jon is a Creative Mastermind who found his own voice & vision. But he also made it clear that without those Objects, he would have never been inspired to find that Voice & Vision. There lies the Seed that would create a Career dedicated to promoting the Value of Objects. And the rest, as the old cliche goes, is history.
Now naysayers might be asking how does Jon achieve showcase these Objects in his films. Well, the approach is quite easy, honestly. I already mentioned that in Most Films (Hollywood Especially) the human actors are the most important element of the movie. Most Filmmakers feel like we need a Human Connection to care about the Movie. But Jon shows all of those Filmmakers that we can change the way Movies are perceived, even to a fundamental level.
In the Movie Spectrum Hunter, the whole film is based around POGS, a trading card game that was released in the 90's. These cards have a Drug-Like Magical Quality to them (at least in the film they do). I think it's Obvious that there are going to be Humans in this movie. But the focus is always on the cards. An example of this is the very first scene. Here we see a Cult worshiping the Cards & placing them in their mouth. Kind of like an Ecstasy Pill. From there we witness a Paint-Bucket turning & mixing Multiple Colors until we get a new color that transforms a man's perception. For those who haven't gotten it yet, this scene is supposed to represent how the Object (The Trading Cards) have levitated the lives of the people who use them. The Objects bring life to the Humans around them, and in turn, we get a Fantastic Film that never bores or unsettles. In fact, it rarely ever confuses either, even for an Average Hollywood Viewer. By shifting the focus over to the Object, Jon made a Film that can be Experimental yet Relatable.
Sometimes the weight & Motion of an Object can change the way a Film Progresses. In Jon's Film titled Baggs: The Movie, everything revolves around a hackeysack. Now the whole movie has a feeling that is bouncy & lighthearted. The Main Actor is fun & unpredictable. What kind of Object would you use to represent those objects? That's right, hackeysack. And this isn't a mistake either.
While I was talking with Jon on the subject of this one film, he wanted the film to flow like a hackeysack. And he perfectly did that by casting a fun-loving dude who goes with a flow. The editing also encapsulates the momentum of a Hackeysack, cutting with the motion of the characters. It's an absorbing film that can be used to Study how somebody else could use an Object to the movies credit.
Now it's time to talk about Jon himself. While the majority of this Article is dedicated to his style & work, I would be remised to speak about the Awesome Personality of Jon & all that he does. First and foremost he his a Great Open-Minded guy. He continuously asked me questions throughout our interview, which led to a 3-Hour Conversation about a multitude of subjects. But he also goes out of his way to help out as many people as possible.
For those who remember my Will Erokan review, I said that he was a leader that could bring The Experimental Film Scene out of the shadows. Well, Jon reminded me a lot of Will with his likable output & Vision to bring everybody together in this Industry. His Day Job is an Animation Teacher that works with Autistic College Students. What makes his Service that much more impactful is that Jon never talked down about any of them. In fact, he was quite encouraged by his Students & thought they all had a Unique Outlook on the world that was refreshing. And how often do we hear about that fresh perspective in our culture?
But he is also very honest & open about his issues. During our Conversation, he talked about his struggles in the industry. He has always been the out looker, not the insider. But this has made his perspective very nuanced compared to most of his peers. And because of this, he was able to achieve more success & accolades from fellow Experimental Filmmakers.
Back in 2008, Jon was a PA on the Tim & Eric Show, Great Job!. And he never complained about any of the guests or crew on the show. He also talked about how floored he was by the Brilliant Comedy that Tim & Eric were able to Produce, and how it inspired his own comedy. Being a PA isn't an easy job, especially on a High-Profile Sketch Comedy show like Tim & Eric. And Jon was very open about how hard it was to work on such a show. But the payoff was that he was inspired by them.
And that is the best word to describe Jon as a person. He is a guy who is always Inspired by something, no matter what the circumstance is. He is always looking for new ideas & wants others to inspire him just as much as he inspires others. A lot of Artists, even in the Experimental Community, are very stuck in their ways. They won't let go of whatever pre-convinced notions they feel their Artwork should be. But Jon is always wondering what could happen next. And because of that, he is unpredictable in the best way possible.
Right now Jon is not the most well-known Filmmaker, but he will get there if he keeps up his Great Attitude. You have to have an Open Mind, which is easier said than done (Trust me I know). But not only does Jon have an Open Mind, his mind was never closed. It was really cool to sit down with a man who was always looking for answers. And those Answers can lead to a Style that can stand the test of time.
To end this Article off, I wanted to mention that Jon has a Unique Perspective. But it isn't his Unique Perspective that defines him. He has a love for Open-Minded Media that spans very far from just Filmmaking. And because of that, he will always inspire those around him. Just as much as our Objects help the human race, we give those Objects a reason to do something. And nobody I have ever met gives our Objects the well-deserved treatment like Jon Clark. He is proof that you can make a movie about anything if you understand the subject matter. The Real Question is, will you step out of the box and make a Movie like Jon?
Thanks so much for Reading my Article on Jon Clark. As I Said, he was a real treat to talk to, and we will be communicating with each other in the future. He wasn't just a Guest; he was a Friend. And I couldn't be happier to showcase such an Awesome Human Being.
REMINDER: If you are in the Los Angeles area on July 7th, please Check out his Art-Exhibit titled "New Games Tournament". The Address is Located in the Picture Above & You'll be able to meet Jon in person. Tell him The Hypnotic Visionaire sent you & Enjoy His Visionary Work.
If you have any spare change, please donate down below. Every Cent will help to keep this Blog Independent so that I can focus on the Artists, not the Ads.
And finally, before anything else, continue to support any Visionary Talent wherever you see it. My name is Felipe Herrera (also known as The Hypnotic Visionaire) and thank you so much for supporting Visionary Discoveries.