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The Graffiti Artist


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ruben Bansie-Snellman, Pepper Fajans, Zachary S. Smalls, Robert D. Heath Jr., Rich Clemets
  • Directors: James Bolton
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Blank Stare
  • DVD Release Date: May 3, 2005
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00092991A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,543 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Graffiti Artist" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Biographies
  • Interviews
  • Stills gallery

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2005
Format: DVD
James Bolton ('Eban and Charley') is emerging as a filmmaker of considerable note. As writer, producer and director of THE GRAFFITI ARTIST he is introducing a new realm of American verismo that is beautiful to watch, touching in content, and a creatively conceived film from beginning to end.

Portland, present time. Nick (a young Dutch actor Ruben Bansie-Snellman whose magnetism on the camera recalls the early James Dean) is a teenager who lives the solitary life, committed to his passion of tagging via graffiti art under the tag name 'Rupture'. He keeps journals of his drawings, photographs of his graffiti, and stays alive by shoplifting his tools of spray cans and his vegetarian diet foods. Always on the look out for police who arrest taggers, Nick is a man against the world. He is arrested for his art. Upon release Nick, by happenstance one day, meets a fellow tagger Jesse (Pepper Fajans) with whom he finally speaks (to this point there has been no dialogue from Nick) and follows around, sharing art and tagging. Jesse apparently has some money from his mother and is able to provide Nick with food and shelter. The two travel to Seattle to tag, create some truly beautiful grafitti art, and slowly bond to the point that Jesse invites Nick into his bed. What follows is one of the more sensuous yet understated same-sex scenes on film.

By morning Jesse already has conflicts with the evening's tryst: Nick appears serenely satisfied yet anxious about Jesse's response. They continue to tag, creating a new, partnered tag name 'Elusive'. Jesse eventually distances himself from the guarded Nick and leaves to return to Portland. Nick tries to maintain his lifestyle but is now living in the streets and tagging in dangerous places that result in run-ins with the law.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By dennis ropec on April 21, 2005
Format: DVD
i saw this film at the cinevegas film festival with dennis hopper and some people from sundance and i was blown away. there is much less dialogue than most american movies and the story is told, well...visually. this film respects its audience and does what few american movies can do...show something new. i recommended it highly as it gave me new insight into the graffiti subculture as well as the disaffected youth movement, punk and other subcultures and a great story of the friendship/relationship between two young boys.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A on May 2, 2005
Format: DVD
When I saw this film at the Seattle International Film Festival last year I was pleasantly suprised. The performance of the lead actor was perfect. The way that the the film began, with following "Nick" in his daily routine of tagging, along with the brilliant soundtrack by Kid Loco, made chills flow up my spine. I was happy that the film showed a real side to the world of graffiti, instead of a stylized, glorified interpretation. It was easily the one of the best films that I saw last year.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By interested_observer on August 3, 2005
Format: DVD
Penniless teen Nick (played by Ruben Bansie-Snellman) is The Graffiti Artist. Alone at night he finds walls and spray-paints words (Rupture is a favorite.) and images on walls and similar spaces. There are occasional run-ins with the police, and he supports himself through shoplifting. He gets around on a skateboard. In daytime he takes pictures of his handiwork and pastes them into a scrapbook, helping him hone his craft.

Nick spots fellow-graffi-maker Jesse (played by Pepper Fajans) at work, at what seems to me a lower artistic level. The two do not meet up until later, when Nick spots Jesse from an overpass. For no particular reason, they join up and begin joint operations, making art and fleeing the police. Nick likes them using the word Elusive once Jesse defines it for him. Jesse has some money and a place to stay; so matters look up for Nick.

Undressing for bed, Nick has his eye on Jesse, but Jesse is the one who makes a move. Afterward, Jesse is the one who feels weirded out and grows distant. Jesse, concerned about going too far with both the police and the sex, moves on and away. Nick follows, is rebuffed, and shows his personal growth by now spray-painting Free Art around his graffitied image of spray-paint can.

The film is useful in showing a slightly romanticized view of graffiti-making by a suffering artist. Nick does show above-average talent. The film uses age-appropriate actors, but spares the audience the related dialog. The film relies on body language to tell the story of why they like each other, what the sex meant, and what the long-term impact is likely to be. Although the physical acting is good, the audience still has to decide what to make of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darrin C. Smith on April 2, 2008
Format: DVD
Graffiti Artist - 3 1/2 *'s

The simplicity of this film is inspiring; minimal dialogue, no over the top drama, just an artist creating, a kid "being". I feel the film makers did a tremendous job of creating this believable reality and expressing such emotional depth with such minimal verbiage. An invisible kid living on the streets of Seattle, gifting society with his art that most would consider "worthless" Graffiti.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By boko on June 24, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was the director's most accomplished film. "Eban and Charley" is awkward, and although it's purposeful, it doesn't really work. I was unimpressed with "Dream Boy." But this film, "The Graffiti Artist," has some affinities with certain great cinema--the photography and quiet, solemn feel (Tarkovsky perhaps)--without being cramped by its own style. The scenes of the boys doing graffiti are brilliant, and there's a certain amount of indefiniteness as to how "real" they are. I was a little disappointed to see that Bolton cleared it up in an interview by describing how the film was made. There are some very good scenes that tip over into real-reality here, as opposed to cinema-reality (even if it were some kind of verite one were talking about, which this is well beyond), and it would have been better to leave it alone. The film is not primarily a gay film, either. It seems to me to be more a film about class than anything. The boy that Nick, the main character, meets, is obviously from the wealthier side of the tracks. And Nick leads an estranged, very poor existence. No attachments. No past. He's almost the perfect subject of globalism, and he certainly occupies its landscape: an emptiness filled with emptinesses. At the same time, his exact status is never fully cleared up. By this I don't mean his "job," but rather his exact position to the world that the other boy comes from.

My favorite line in the film: "YOU kissed ME!"
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