Blake Bogosian is a commercial editor and filmmaker based in San Francisco who works across all forms of filmmaking from documentaries to branded material to narrative shorts. He arrives on Directors Notes today with I Lied About Being An Artist, his new short doc about Scottish-born San Francisco native David Fullarton. Visual artist Fullarton is known for his off-kilter artwork that blends text and imagery, and which Bogosian chronicles in his film by capturing the artist both in the working habitat of his studio and against the backdrop of various San Francisco vistas. He also incorporates animation inspired by Fullarton’s work within the film which elevates the doc into a celebratory mosaic of a defiant artist’s unique viewpoint. DN is delighted to premiere I Lied about Being An Artist today and joined Bogosian for a chat about his introduction to Fullarton, the technicality behind his wide-framed and cinematic aesthetic, and the challenge of incorporating animation into the mix.
Where did you first get introduced to David Fullarton and his work?
I work at Beast Editorial as a commercial editor in San Francisco and was introduced to David Fullarton through another editor at Beast, Tim Brooks. Tim actually produced the film with me. We had an industry party at our office and featured his art on the walls, it was rad. I found his work so fresh and funny.
We decided to do a handful of audio interviews and from there I built out the structure of the film.
What was David’s reaction to you pitching a film about him and his journey as an artist? Did you work with him to establish how you would form the doc?
David has worked as a copywriter in San Francisco for years and we actually crossed paths on a gig. I took a chance and just asked him what he thought about Tim and I making a film about him. He thought it was a terrible idea! Just kidding, David was extremely supportive during the whole process. We knew he wasn’t really into being interviewed on camera so we decided to do a handful of audio interviews and from there, I built out the structure of the film and it help inform certain setups I knew I had to get. For example, we asked him about his painting about joggers so I shot my wife running through frame with our two poodles during that line.
How did you approach that initial interview with David?
My approach to the initial interview with David was focused mainly on what motivated him. I really wanted to know how it all started for him. I find artists so damn inspiring and I’m curious how they become artists in the first place.
Can you tell us about reflecting David’s approach as a creator stylistically through this filmed document of him?
His work is so observational. He has a POV of the world that is raw but also funny. Since he lives in San Francisco, I wanted to film him around the city observing people. We also wanted to dive deeper into David’s process and wanted to see how he comes up with these pieces. We were lucky enough to get access to The Compound in Oakland, where David does all his printmaking and other mediums he works with.
The look of I Lied About Being An Artist is so wide and cinematic. It really gives you a sense of David’s creative world while also painting his approach in such a respected manner. How did you technically achieve that aesthetic?
We shot on a Red Scarlet and rented Atlas Anamorphic lens to give it that wide sexy look. I approached Jeremy McNamara about shooting this project and he was onboard right away! His style complimented the film in so many ways. He has a docu-stye but it’s so damn cinematic. I think he’s one of the best filmmakers out there! Look him up!
Given that you were shooting this in your spare time, how long did take to put together as a project from start to finish?
We started shooting right before the pandemic started so when the stay at home orders hit that kind of pumped the breaks for a while. I still needed to do pick up shots so I shelved the project for almost a year until we felt like it was good idea to get together and wrap the last of the setups.
His work is so observational. He has a POV of the world that is raw but also funny.
There are two other really intriguing aspects of this doc, the animation and the music. The combination of those with the footage of David is what really embeds you in his perspective. Who did you work on those parts of the film and what were you looking for from them?
Shout out to the Composer Johnnyrandom, he was very very generous with his talents and I can’t thank him enough, his fingerprints are all over the vibe of this film. The animation was headed up by another Beast colleague of mine, Joe Macken. His opening animation is killer and helps us just dive in head first into David’s world. I also worked with Isaac Olsen on the mix and sound design. He is incredible and mixes all my stuff. He mixes the 100 Percent Human series that I make, you guys interviewed me about it years ago.
How challenging was it to incorporate animation into the footage? What software did you use?
As far as the animation is concerned we didn’t want it to be to too slick. It had to feel in line with his style. We worked in After Effects to deconstruct the pieces and animate. David actually worked with us on providing cool titles that we used through out the film, that was incredible.
What do you have in store for the future, project-wise?
Future project-wise? Yeah, that’s a good question! I actually just finished cutting a doc on the artist Butch Anthony, Chasin’ Butterflies. As far as my next directing project goes, next year my dad celebrates 50 years of owning Bogie’s Liquor store in the heart of Hollywood. So I’ve been writing a treatment for that and want to try honor my pops with a cool short doc on the craziness of his journey.