Outside In video portraits with DAO

As part of DAO’s Diverse Perspectives programme, funded by Arts Council England, film-maker Ivan Riches was selected to produce a series of short, moving image, digital works with Outside In artist Paul Bellingham.

During a period of negotiation Outside In artist Paul Bellingham agreed to collaborate with Ivan. Ivan’s brief was to capture a flavour of the working process of the artist, incorporating his imagery into the production of a short ‘video portrait’.

The intention was to showcase the artistry, skills, ideas and creative process of the artist in the spirit of a joint creative collaborative journey. The resulting digital artwork provides an exciting response to the Outside In artist’s technique and creative process. The work will be shared on both DAO and the Outside In websites in order to give a deeper insight into the artist’s working practices.

For more information read this blog by Editor of Disability Arts Online, Colin Hambrook: 


Ivan Riches collaboration with Outside In artist Paul Bellingham

My working process with Paul had a gentle approach. We spent a lot of time just looking through his work and talking about it and what it meant to him. From this cautious introduction Paul decided on what sort of questions he would like to answer. He wanted mostly to talk about how important art was to him and how his creativity as an artist was what kept him from being very depressed.

We then worked out how he wanted his paintings to be seen through the camera and he selected the work he wanted to show. He also asked for feedback and I told him that the work had a profound effect on me.

I love his paintings. To capture the thick textured paint and layering of the images and to fully realize the sculptural effect of the work meant I needed to take close ups and slowly zoom the camera shots in and out. Paul asked me to do this when filming his paintings and he checked each shot with me to see my idea realised. We also talked about music to enhance the effect, something hypnotic in structure with a reggae like rhythm and beat.

Another idea we came up with was for selected paintings (by Paul) to be mixed with the image of him talking to camera. He was particularly keen on this idea because he felt that his paintings of faces were a direct confrontation to the viewer. He felt that this process for showing his work would empower his work in the most directly effective way.

The final work is haunting. Paul’s input, alongside his artwork, has the effect of exploring the human condition head on. The painterly skill, bravery and honesty in Paul’s art work is equally matched by his direct speaking to camera. His belief in art and creativity as a human necessity to life and his approach to painting is deeply touching.

I learnt a lot about Paul and his work, but also something about myself. Interpretation of an artist’s work is a 2 way journey, one for the maker and one for the viewer, but if the viewer is an artist interpreting that work those journeys are doubled. This commission from DAO has enriched my artistic processes in filmmaking and approach in working with disabled artists.