VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Wells, Leigh

Leigh Wells
US videomaker


Interview: 10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and educational background
I grew up in a small town in Kentucky. As a kid, I spent a lot of time writing and
taking pictures. I studied photography and literature at Northern Kentucky University, where I received Bachelor of the Fine Arts and Bachelor of the Arts
degrees. After finishing university, I worked in Mongolia for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. As a result, I’ve spent even more time there and done quite a bit of photography on the subject of Mongolia. In 2006, after finishing my service in Mongolia, I moved to New York to study for my MFA at the School of Visual Arts. I graduated in 2010 from the Photography, Video, & Related Media department. Since then, I’ve continued to work as an animator, photographer, web designer, and educator in New York.

2. When, how and why started you filming?
Most of my creative work has been in writing and photography. After a while, I became very curious about time-based media, specifically sound and adding sound to photography. As a result, many of my project ideas began to move quite beyond still images. Since then I’ve been working more in live action video and computer animation.

3. What kind of subjects have you filmed?
Subjects of my films include: Atlantic City (Fortune Cookie), the still and moving image (Newman’s Yellow), and the nature of the art object (Looking for Lucretia). The project I’m currently working on broaches the digital age as a diorama.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
The style of each film is dictated by the nature and subject of each film.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
The equipment I use is quite minimal generally. At this point, I generally need little more than a DSLR, lighting equipment, sound booth, and computer. A great deal of the work is done in Maya and digital editing software.

6. The field of “art and moving images” (one may call it video art or also differently) is manifesting itself as an important position in contemporary art. Tell me more about your personal position and how you see the future of this field (your personal future and the future of “art and moving images”)

At this time, moving images are a vital and pervasive form of art making. The use of moving images in art work (whether in installation, combine, online, or theatrical form) will continue to grow. It will be interesting to see how video artists negotiate issues of money and consumption during a time when online accessibility is key. Many video artists, including myself, don’t really know if we should make our work available online for free. For the near future, my own work will continue to explore sound, still images, various forms of animation and live action video.

7. How do you finance your films?
As I do most of the work myself, little finance is required. And thankfully, any talent I’ve hired agreed to work for trade, free, or very little.

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.

9. Who or what has had a lasting influence on your film/video making?
There have been a great many influences, too many to name really. Every mentor, book, art work, and life experience has left some kind of mark. They cycle in and out of the foreground.

10. What are your plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
There are several things in the immediate future I’d like to work on. The project I’m working on now will be a series of at least four or five videos to be viewed in installation. There’s also a script and vision of a feature I’ve been working on for some time that I think I’m ready to start pushing for production.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on CologneOFF or VideoChannel? Where?