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James Castle: Portrait of an Artist

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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(Jun 23, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Born deaf in 1899 in rural Idaho-- only nine years after that frontier territory was admitted to the Union-- James Castle mined the local landscape of his family's homesteads and his own deeply private world to produce an astonishing body of drawings, collages, and constructions which eventually gained worldwide recognition.

Jeffrey Wolf's acclaimed film reveals Castle's life and creative process, as told by family embers, art historians, curators, artists, collectors, and members of the deaf community. This inspirational story of a true Outsider Artist is a remarkable example of the triumph of the spirit-- and the imagination.

Review

Evocative, beautifully shot and absorbing, with a refreshing lack of sentimentality. --David Ebony, Art in America

Castle's life is truly inspirational, and his art can be sublime: a fierce creative vision fueled by determination and endless patience. The life must emerge in the art, and in this film it does so eloquently. --Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: James Castle, John Yau, Robert Storr, Terry Winters, John Ollman
  • Directors: Jeffrey Wolf
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: June 23, 2009
  • Run Time: 53 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001VEC88G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,637 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "James Castle: Portrait of an Artist" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this documentary about a little know untrained artist who worked with basic tools and every day trash as his media. It was fascinating to see how his art evolved over the course of his life and how it was very much shaped by his childhood exposure to his parents occupation and his years in the school for the deaf. His recurring themes through different media, repetition of shape, and formation of his own letter-like objects are just amazing. You don't have to be an art snob to enjoy this, in fact, I could see art snobs turning up their art snob noses at this topic. It was refreshing to see how a deaf artist who never mastered speech and was, in many ways, shut in his own world choose to express himself. Watch it now!
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Very little coldly academic and overly cerebral deconstruction of the art; but rather a clear-sighted and honest look at a unique person doing unique work. The family members were given as much on-screen time as the collectors and were very helpful in understanding what I saw. I very much enjoyed this film.
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Fascinating look at an amazing artist, self-taught and deaf, he observed and drew his world. He used any surface, even labels removed from cans and other cast off paper. He flattened matchboxes, used soot mixed with spit and sticks to create worlds...observed and abstract.
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Artist Danny Gregory wrote about James Castle in one of his blogs and I was curious to find out more about him. I was excited ti find this excellent video about his life. If you are an artist, regardless of what mediums you use, you will be awed by this mans life. This is a most wonderful video for anyone, artist or not, about human ingenuity and perseverance. I will watch again, and maybe again, to enjoy the creative genius of James Castle.
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A well done documentary about a unique and talented individual that showed the world what art can do. He made use of materials that we usually.throw out. Mr. Castle used this trash as his canvas. Using soot as his medium painted and drew images that told of his wonderful life.
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The artists and curators gave good insight into the drawings of James castle . Seemed to be a compulsion to make his beautiful art giving us a doorway into his mind. His family seemed to love and respect him which allowed him to be so prolific. I was amazed at the sophisticated abstractions. I wonder if his deafness allowed him to see his world more acutely had he not been deaf.
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Terrific video about an extraordinary 29th century artist very few people are aware.
Born deaf and unableto speak thisaelf taught artist reminds all the virtue of observation. His work insightful into his world take us on our own journey of self discovery,if we dare to explore our own relationship to our everydays lives. One of the several messages I came away with, be present in each and every moment.
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This film was a great snapshot into the world of James Castle, what he saw, experienced, and felt. It was also an indepth look into his great talent and art. It is definitely worth watching!
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