Dear Van Neistat,

So I have been trying to write these little fan letters. I use them as a way of researching and understanding those who influence me. But your fan letter. This. Has just about broken me. I have thrown away countless different versions.

Somewhere in the last few years you became a digital ghost. Vanished into the real world and became a recluse from the Internet. I hope you are well and still prolifically making stuff and filming things. I hope you just chose the opposite path to your brother. That man is EVERYWHERE. Search for Van Neistat, and wait what? NO. I want a different Neistat brother. Why have you done me wrong Google?

But you know what is cool? Mr T. SACHS references you as an influence in his self portrait ‘The Sachs Family Crest’. You know what else is cool? Your films made Tom’s work accessible and understandable to me. Someone who has no idea about art. A Love Letter to Plywood is currently my favourite documentary of ALL TIME. The title and content have inspired the format of these letters.

Your Ten Bullets collaboration provoked me into a serious attempt at understanding art. A first for me. It is fascinating and therapeutic. By understanding the processes and ethos behind Tom’s work, it brought me back to yours. Tom’s work allowed me to better appreciate your film making. Combining more traditional film influences with that of Tom Sachs has created your own dapper style. Bricolage and leaving the scars of your labor behind? They bring a beautiful analogue wobble to the hard clean computer generated edges of modern film. As a software engineer, this has challenged how I think about and ritualise my work.

I think this little clip here best shows both your bricolage and scars.

A little hand written scrolling title sequence. A slight tease on what is about to go down on the side of the shot. The title wording hint at what is about to happen. The title concludes and flap around the drill bit to reveal ‘the scars’. A mirror outlining the creation of the shot. Showing off the drill bricolage in full glory.

Your work helped me form an appreciation in the power of showing the scars of labor. Despite disappearing from the Internet, the marks of your labor live on. When your brother films with the overhead shooting rig on the raw plywood background? Bam. There you are. The scars from the Neistat Brothers phase of your career is all on show. This overhead shooting rig has become one of my favourite film ‘characters’. The etched history has a story of its own:

I really want to see A Space Program and the Neistat Brothers. Hopefully they will be shown in Australia one day. Keep creating!

Love,

Clinton Freeman.

Edits:

  • 2015/04/17 - Minor typo. N EI stat.
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