Reel 6: Crappy Magic

Artist Statement

"Crappy Magic is an ongoing series of projects by artist David Hellams, with contributions from an eclectic cast of collaborators. Hellams began by photographing and collecting discarded consumer goods, and now experiments with a variety of innovative strategies for imbuing these materials with cultural relevance or creative potential. These projects function both to challenge and celebrate the very nature and principles of the retail / resale economy that shapes much of our experience of the modern world, as both workers and consumers.

In Reel 6, Mineral House Media visits Hellams in the Crappy Magic Showroom as he produces the first infomercial and sales event in that space: The Tiny Furniture Warehouse Blowout Sale. We also talk with David about the most recent large-scale Crappy Magic Experience event, which featured bins full of unusual merchandise for digging and shopping, special found objects and videos submitted by 30+ contributing artists which are enjoyed via Crappy Magic's video art kiosks, an interactive sand tray play table, and a comedic benefit auction conducted on behalf of Turnip Green Creative Reuse. Finally, we follow David to the thrift store outlet that continues to inspire and supply many of Crappy Magic's productions."


Reel 5: Brandon Donahue

Reel 5 explores Brandon Donahue's work as a visual artist statement and follow-up studio visit to "No Look Past," August 2018 at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville, TN. Be sure to listen to the full podcast below for the in-studio conversation with Brandon where we discuss his process, history of making, the importance of community, and his love of airbrushing and sports.

Brandon Donahue was born in Memphis and lives and works in Nashville. He received an MFA from the University of Tennessee and his BFA from Tennessee State University. Donahue has had recent solo exhibitions in Nashville at Vanderbilt University, Oz Arts, and Seed Space; Wrather West Kentucky Museum, KY; and Athica Institute for Contemporary Art, Athens, GA; and numerous group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. He has received numerous awards, honors, grants, and residencies, and his work is in the collections of nexAir, Memphis; Tennessee State University, Nashville; The University of Tennessee Knoxville, Ewing Gallery, Knoxville, TN; and Toyota of Franklin, TN.


Reel 4: JohnTallman

Artist Statement

“Non-objective Painting is the cultural construct I use as a vehicle to research the following topics: Incongruity, The Everyday, Fluidity, and Free Color. Through my research, I primarily take Non-Objective Painting as a mutable idea and this stance propels me into a perpetual state of inquiry fueled by a fascination with the physical properties of the material and the support. The results of this inquiry are paintings left open conceptually as they simultaneously assert themselves physically. In my personal work am not interested in direct declarations of personal narrative, cathartic release, social statement or the defending of tradition. I aim to create paintings that appear engagingly equivocal, which can serve as an alternative remedy to the often clichéd intent of the artist.”


Reel 3: Eleanor Epstein

This Mini Doc started on a drive with Eleanor. She stated "I don't exactly know where we are going, we have to get lost to find it."  As we drove around, she pointed out various landmarks and operative moments that I could not quite see myself. I became a little frustrated as I kept missing these magical sightings she described so vividly. She says she has trained herself to see in this way. Investigating the landscape is part of her creative practice. She drives around in search of everyday cinematic spaces to capture self-portraits. I turned around to her backseat, and there laid 20 different costumes ready to tell their story. That day, we landed at a gate which opened up to the blue Chattanooga skyline. She had luckily bought a blue jacket the day prior that perfectly matched this skyline. I thought, "You could not warehouse this kind of moment even if you tried." It was as if this landscape was calling to her.  In her artist statement, she speaks of the landscape as having a deeply divine spirituality. I saw this; she unfolded into this nostalgic feminine energy, a mystery of self and ancestry. Fluid, in the way that water moves, is her process and Eleanor as a being. 



Reel 2: Elise Drake

Elise Drake is a sculptor, painter, and performance artist currently based in NYC. Her recent exhibition "Guilty Pleasures" opened at Luperica Gallery in Nashville, Tennessee.



Reel 1: Jonathan Rattner

Jonathan Rattner's short film "The Interior" studies daily life as a dog musher in the depths of Alaska. The film cuts back and forth between sweeping views of Alaska's beautiful scenery, and close up interior moments in the home of a dog musher. The viewer experiences an intimate relationship with Rattner's space, as sounds and imagery layer into a lyrical, poetic flow - it feels like falling asleep in the car, gazing out of the window, but then suddenly being awoken by the brakes. "The Interior" plays with the boundary between intimacy and vast space. It conveys a safe, calm, quiet state of viewing, only to propel the emotions suddenly forward with hyperrealistic, at times grotesque moments.



About Our MiniDocs

Mineral House Media's MiniDoc Series is a project led by curator Claire Bloomfield. Through a filmmaker's eye, Claire mediates an insightful, highly personal point of access to the practice of each featured artist.

Follow the link below to submit your practice for a MiniDoc feature.