VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

O’Sullivan, Richard

Richard O’Sullivan (UK)


  • artist biography
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    Interview:10 questions

    1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
    I grew up in south Wales in the U.K., and then studied at Warwick University and U.C.L.A. Film School, where I studied Film Directing and Production.

    2. When, how and why started you filming?
    I made home videos as a teenager. After that, I spent a lot of time writing screenplays. At U.C.L.A. Film School I eventually understood the kind of films I really wanted to make, mainly thanks to my mentor Marina Goldovskaya.

    3. What kind of subjects have your films?
    I make landscape videos, which explore the textures and meanings of place. I think this reflects my upbringing in Wales, which has a very dramatic landscape, and my time in California, where the landscape is a shocking contrast of man-made ugliness and natural splendor.
    I also have a strong interest of the portrayal of everyday life and the spaces in which everyday life is lived. I’ll probably produce more work in this area in future.

    4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
    My projects usually begin when I discover a landscape with some significant visual quality or meaning. As I begin to film this place, the material itself will usually suggest some problem or strategy that will determine how and what I shoot. By the end the piece has become coherent, but the process is organic.

    5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
    I’ve shot most my projects on a prosumer mini-DV camera and I’ve edited mostly on Final Cut Pro. In future, I will probably use High Definition video for my work, because it looks better on a large screen.

    6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
    and you personally?

    I think film and video have a very bright future as a means of personal expression. Video is one of the dominant forms in contemporary art. But there is a bit of a risk that the work of a few well-connected artists, skilled at PR but not particularly probing or original in their work, will continue to dominate the scene.

    7. How do you finance your films?
    I self-finance a lot of my films. I’m not sure if this will be possible in future because the films are getting more complex. The main investment is sometimes just time in large quantities.

    8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
    if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
    I work individually. My practice is very solitary, which suits the production of this type of work. There is usually nothing much for anyone else to do, and I find that the presence of another person can break my concentration.

    I’ve also worked with a small film crew for fiction films, an arrangement that definitely works best for narrative production. There are so many distinct craft areas and they need the dedicated attention of someone skilled in that field.

    9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
    It is a bit of a cliché, but Bill Viola has been a great influence. I have also taken a lot of influences from experimental cinema.

    10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
    I want to go on making more of the kind of work I make now, though I’d also like to made another feature-length film at some point.