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Tin House Reels: Noah Saterstrom

Noah Saterstrom knows that wonderful things can often come from rushed processes. In 2010, he challenged himself with a “Work-a-Day Page,” his blog on which he posted a new painting every day or so. “The discipline of daily [postings meant I was presenting] works that I might be tempted to see as too incomplete, peculiar, half-baked or difficult. Of course, some of the most poignant imagery falls into these categories.”

Four years later, Saterstrom has posted more than 800 works on his blog. He is in the process of carrying a similar notion–of expressing instincts before they are codified by too much technical deliberation–into filmmaking. Using tools like animation software, which he is not formally trained in, he is making art that is rough around the edges but rich in impulse.

“A lot of new media work now,” Saterstrom said, “is made by artists whose natural medium is non-video-related, who speak in the heavy accents of their native medium, whose technical abilities are poor, but enthusiasm high. I don’t know how videographers and animators feel about it, but the flood of new media work is exciting to me.”

“As a painter, I long to make images that seem to move as time passes. But what I actually make are still images. There is a similar longing for writers, I think: They use language, alone, to cast images for the screen of the eye, or wall of the mind, or however Ezra Pound put it. Movement is outside the bounds of painting in the same way that images are outside the bounds of writing, but the longing for those qualities are there, strong and nagging.”

With love of those impulses, we are pleased to screen Saterstrom’s Babboo’s Moving Pictures. “Creating the movie was trial and error,” Saterstrom told us. “I tried chalk boards, dry erase boards, and different stop motion apps.  Since each frame was being painted on the same surface, there was no room for mistakes. If I got something wrong, I’d trash it and start a new painting.”

Babboo’s Moving Pictures is primitive. I painted an image, say, of a cannon. Then I photographed it. Then I painted over the image on the same canvas, photographing twelve shots per second of film. The whole action is finally captured in a single painting. I find that very romantic.”

So do we……

A visual artist and founding editor of Trickhouse Magazine, Noah Saterstrom grew up in Mississippi and was educated at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. His paintings, drawings, installations and animations have been shown most recently in Seattle, WA; Brooklyn, NY; New Orleans, LA; Tucson, AZ; and Glasgow, Scotland. He has collaborated on books with Anne Waldman, Laynie Browne, and Kate Bernheimer. He lives with his wife Julia and daughter Vivian.

Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are forming interesting new relationships between images and words.

We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to tinhousereels@gmail.com. You may also send us a file directly.

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