Laurie Lipton is the greatest draftswoman of the 21st century. But she’s humble about it — or at least that’s what she says on her Instagram account.
For those unfamiliar with her work, this may sound like a large claim; however, after watching James Scott’s documentary short “Love Bite,” it will seem like an understatement. The film, which took more than four years to make, chronicles Lipton’s process as she creates massive, detailed, and hauntingly original pencil drawings.
In honor of today’s exclusive online premiere on Vimeo, we reached out to director James Scott to learn more.
On the inspiration for “Love Bite”:
“I came across Laurie’s work by accident in 2011. Her ‘Señorita Muerte’ drawing was on the cover of her book, and it drew me in from across the room. I had never seen images that affected me so immediately; it was a religious experience seeing them for the first time — especially ‘Love Bite.’ I knew immediately that I needed to contact her.”
On filming Laurie for four years:
“For years I stalked her with my camera, including during her move to Los Angeles after 35 years of living in Europe. I watched her drawings expand in size, inconceivably, to over nine feet tall. The scale and magnitude of what she does — alone in a room by herself — is mind-boggling. Her patience and determination in sticking with one drawing for months and months was truly inspiring to witness. In our world of rapid technology, Laurie is taking the opposite approach. I have no doubt she will one day be recognized alongside all the master artists whose work attracts thousands in museums across the world. Her day in the spotlight is well overdue.”
On working as a one-man crew:
“I filmed with Laurie in between editing other feature-length documentaries (my profession). The main challenge was shooting, producing, directing, and editing the film as a one-man crew — self-funded, with a subject who lived across the world from me. When SXSW offered to world premiere the film, I only had a few weeks to complete it, while at the same time finishing the edit of Jerry Rothwell’s ‘Sour Grapes’ for Netflix. This is part of why I am balding.”
On learning from the process — and your subject:
“I learn a lot on every film I make or edit. With this one, I learned to have patience with the filmmaking process; I also learned a huge amount from Laurie herself. For her whole life, she’s had faith in herself and her style. She’s never wavered, despite going through hard times. Black-and-white pencil drawings have always been difficult to crack the ‘art market’ with, but nevertheless, she has always followed her instinct, drawn about controversial social topics, and tried to find the true essence of her Laurie-Lipton-ness. I believe this philosophy has a universal application, and is perhaps the true root of what we call originality.”
On advice for aspiring filmmakers:
“Read Robert Rodriguez’s ’10 Minute Film School’ in the back of his 1995 book, ‘Rebel Without A Crew.’ And it may sound cliché, but trust your gut, invest in yourself, and make films the way you want to make them. Make the films you HAVE to make, and know that every project is a process of circumnavigating a series of failures and compromises. As Samuel Beckett put it, ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.'”
On what’s next:
“The next film I’m editing is a feature-length documentary called ‘After a Revolution.’ It’s about a brother and sister fighting on opposite sides of the Libyan revolution. The film will be heading to film festivals in 2020.”