Reel NW


Reel NW Films/Reel NW Shorts: McCracken & Blank

Reel NW: McCracken & Blank
  • Reel NW

McCracken & Blank

Two short films about artists whose work is inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest: sculptor Philip McCracken and glass artist Martin Blank.

About "Philip McCracken"

About "Philip McCracken"

"Philip McCracken" is a film about Pacific Northwest sculptor Philip McCracken. A born and bred Washingtonian, McCracken elegantly and humbly introduces us to the purity of the natural world. With iconic images and forms wrought from wood, stone, metal, minerals, shell, and tusk, and an array of manufactured materials, Philip McCracken shares his connection to the world and creatures around him. His sculptural works are at the same time refined and guileless.

McCracken studied with the famed sculptor Henry Moore in his youth and from him learned the importance of family in an artist's life. Since embarking on his own career, McCracken has staged countless solo shows and presented his work in group shows in the Smithsonian Institution and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1964 he became the first to be honored as Washington State Artist of the Year. In 1994 received the Governor’s Award. McCracken and his wife live on Guemes Island.

About Filmmaker Virginia Bogert

About Filmmaker Virginia Bogert

Virginia Bogert has directed, written, edited and produced award-winning media for 25 years, from features, shorts, and commercials, to documentaries, narratives, and television. Much of her focus is on social concerns, human rights, and the arts. Her many credits include multiple Emmy and Telly winner “Pike Place Market: Soul of a City” for KCTS and the Emmy-nominated environmental documentary “Fields of Plenty." Her narrative shorts “Tootie Pie” and “The Delivery” have both aired on PBS.

Bogert holds a bachelor of arts in English and a master of arts in Media Ecology from New York University. She curates the Post Alley Film Festival, a female-centric shorts film fest, and is President Emerita of Women in Film Seattle. Bogert also teaches independent filmmaking.

Virginia Bogert's Statement

Along with its beautiful landscape and exceptional citizenry, Washington boasts a great art heritage. I had the privilege to be selected by Washington State Arts Commission to profile some of the outstanding artists in the Pacific Northwest. What could be more wonderful than spending time with a great artist and have an opportunity to tell even a tiny story about a great life?

Philip McCracken is one of our treasured artists and simply being in his presence, listening to him talk about his life, his work, and his family, and how all that intertwines to create art, was a gift to me as an artist and filmmaker. This is the kind of project we documentary filmmakers long for and don’t often have the opportunity or the funding to create; but it is the kind of project that is so necessary in all our lives. For the audience to spend even nine short minutes with an artist and man like Philip McCracken is an inspiration and a gift that would not be possible without the support of organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Washington State A Arts Commission. It’s tragic that cutbacks for the arts everywhere threaten to leave us bereft, and frankly, soulless.

As a filmmaker I’ll continue to make documentaries however I can, and try to share the inspirational people and ideas we all would not have an opportunity to encounter in our daily lives. Documentaries enrich our lives as does the creation of art that speaks to us. To quote Mr. McCracken, “Give me just one more day on this earth to finish this!”

About "Martin Blank: Crystal Skin"

About "Martin Blank: Crystal Skin"

Martin Blank approaches molten glass like a sculptor. He gets as close as possible, his body protected in leather and a heat- reflective suit to bend and form the glass with his hands. In "Crystal Skin," Martin finds inspiration in trees. He takes us to a remote lake on Orcas Island where the shoreline is broken with fallen cedars and pine. He then returns with that idea to his Seattle hotshop where he recreates the shapes of these massive trunks in glass.

About Filmmaker Peter West

Peter West is an award-winning Northwest filmmaker. He has devoted himself to documenting artists’ practices since 1999, capturing the work of such artists as Dale Chihuly, Takashi Murakami, and Italo Scang. His film "Chihuly in the Hotshop" aired on PBS and received two Northwest Emmy awards in 2008.

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06/27/12

On a whim this evening I Googled Philip McCracken. My family and I knew him when he was very early in his career and my family and I were vacationers on Guemus Island. (My sister and I knew Mr. McCracken and his wife Anne mostly as the nice people who gave us our first hamsters and just happened to be an artist and wife.!)

My grandmother bought a set of his early sculptures and followed his career closely until she died in 1979. I hadn't thought much about Mr. and Mrs. McCracken since that time, but this evening I became curious to see if he was still around and what he had done with his life.

I was thrilled to tears not only to see some of his works, but also to hear him describe his philosophy of life and relationships.

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