Stevens Point native and resident Alexander Landerman is the subject of “What Would Bukowski Do?”, a four-minute short film by Madison-based Vidwest Media that will be featured at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival.
The film shows Landerman drawing a portrait of the late Charles Bukowski, a famous American poet and novelist. It will be part of the 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, program at the Lettie W. Jensen Community Center in Amherst. Landerman plans to be part of a talkback session after the screening.
The program repeats in Wisconsin Rapids at the Gilbert and Jaylee Mead Auditorium on Saturday.
Landerman, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate, has displayed work at various galleries, coffee shops, art events and small businesses in central Wisconsin and at different galleries across the country. For information about his art and upcoming shows visit www.alexander-landerman.com or search “art of alexander landerman” on Facebook.
Landerman recently sat down with The Gazette to talk about his work and about being the subject of a short film.
Gazette: What is your artistic medium?
Landerman: I work in what’s called mixed media, so I work with a lot of drawing materials. Charcoal, Conté, ink, watercolor, letterpress. All on paper. I mix in teas, wines, coffee, dirt, beer, I’ve used Kool Aid, anything I can find to get the color I want.
Gazette: Why Bukowski?
Landerman: First my buddy, Frank Slowinski, wanted to make a song about my artwork and then Clay Niemi, who is the guy that edited it and filmed everything, he owns Vidwest Media… Clay wanted to do this thing, and Frank wanted to do this thing, and I wanted to do this thing.
We just sort of thought how could we put this all together and Frank said ‘You ever hear of Bukowski?’ He’s got that face that looks like it’s been kicked in a few times. He’s got terrible skin and lots of wrinkles; he’s an old wine drunk essentially so he didn’t fare well…
So he said, ‘You think you could do a drawing of him and I can take his poetry and make it into a song, and then Clay can put it all together?’ So that’s just sort of how it all came up.
I was working more with portrait work at that time. I had been working a lot with wine before that in work, but I guess for different reasons. That piece was kind of the epitome of my portrait work, when I’d really figured out how to work with water and wine in order to make colors stay… over time it’ll actually turn more of grey color as it oxidizes.
Gazette: You also give a nod to Point Beer in the film, was that a conscious choice or was it just what happened to be around at the time?
Landerman: It’s always a conscious choice… We’re from Stevens Point so we drink Point Beer, if we were from Ireland we’d drink Guinness, but we’re from Point.
Gazette: You worked with Vidwest Media on a video project before?
Landerman: Vidwest filmed one of my openings here in town at Scarabocchio (Art Museum). And I’ve know Clay since – his grandma and my grandma are best friends and his mother and my dad were like 5-year-old sweethearts – so we’re third generation.
Gazette: How long did it take to make the video?
Landerman: The actual, not including my prep time, because I had to get images printed and I had to do multiple sketches to make sure I could do the drawing when all of the sudden there’s a camera on me, but if we count just the film time there was at least eight hours of footage. There’s probably 12 hours in the song and another 12 hours in the editing.
Gazette: What were your plans for the finished film?
Landerman: We didn’t really have an intent for it other than to just have some fun. It wasn’t expected to be anything more than this thing we were going to do for fun, and then people liked it.
Gazette: Are you excited to see it in a film festival setting?
Landerman: I think it will be really interesting to see it big. I think it’s going to look really cool to be massive. It’s going to be beautiful.
Gazette: What are you working on now?
Landerman: Currently I’m dealing with issues of my generation’s disconnection with the food they eat. I’m 24 and walking into a grocery store growing up we saw cellophane-wrapped meat and meat in a deli. We never saw a cow hanging in a butcher shop like generations prior to ours and a lot of our families aren’t hunting anymore…
There’s a big disconnection that kids have with what they’re eating. They don’t realize that that is a rabbit or that is a cow, so I’m trying to make that connection again in my new work. It’s an image of an animal with a recipe behind it so when you look at it you realize, Oh, that’s in there…
I just wanted to remind people that what they’re eating was once living, it wasn’t always deli meat.