At Clouzot’s invitation, Picasso made a series of works in a studio in Nice, using ink markers designed to bleed through the surface so the strokes are visible from behind. Clouzot and his cinematographer, Claude Renoir (a nephew of the filmmaker Jean Renoir and the grandson of the painter Auguste), using a time-lapse camera, filmed from behind the easel as the artist worked on the pictures, which were destroyed at the end of production. When the film is projected, the paintings magically emerge from the void onscreen. For collages and canvases painted with standard oils, a stop-motion camera was used: the canvas was photographed from the front after each brush stroke, again giving rise to the illusion that the artwork generates itself as we watch.
The chicken painting scene from above was a last-minute addition:
”I’m enjoying this — I could keep going all night!” the painter exclaims when Clouzot asks him if he’s up for painting a quickie using the five minutes’ worth of film that remains in the camera. Thus begins the most entertaining segment of the film, in which Picasso paints a bouquet of flowers that he spontaneously reconceives first as a fish, then as a chicken, while Clouzot counts off the remaining time as if he were the announcer on an artistic version of ”Iron Chef.”
My working process is no doubt much the same as yours and the same as many other people. The artistic process seems to be mythologized quite a lot into something far greater than it actually is. It is just hard labor… As anyone who actually writes knows, if you sit down and are prepared, then the ideas come. There’s a lot of different ways people explain that, but, you know, I find that if I sit down and I prepare myself, generally things get done.
More than any other graphic novel I’ve read, the book records the process of its own organization; it’s a “metabook,” as Bechdel’s mother calls it. It’s all about patterns, correspondences, similarities that Bechdel obsessively organizes into an archive of (hopefully) meaningful experience (with more telling than showing). […] Are You My Mother? is a material graphic archive, with transcriptions of personal experiences, psychoanalytical reflections, recounted memories of other people, along with excerpts from letters, journals, newspapers, and the writings of Winnicott, Woolf, Adrienne Rich, and others, all rigorously interpolated and neatly organized. It treats life as a kind of research project that, to validate itself, must be perfected, visually and structurally. It’s a fascinating look into a cartoonist’s thought process and a book’s difficult creation…It’s a process memoir, both for Fun Home and Are You My Mother?
the two poets hash out the details of the book’s publication: which poems to consider, their order, the dedication, and even the title. “Do you still like the title Lunch Poems?” O’Hara asks Ferlinghetti. “I wonder if it doesn’t sound too much like an echo of Reality Sandwiches or Meat Science Essays.” “What the hell,” Ferlinghetti replies, “so we’ll have to change the name of City Lights to Lunch Counter Press.”
These are so much fun to read. I love how he’s suggesting additions to the manuscript, and casually describes one of my favorite poems:
as “a little poem about Lana Turner collapsing at a party which I don’t have with me. I will ask a friend of mine to find and send [it to you]…”
Also the contract:
“I like the contract a lot and am very cheered by the movie clause — if Terry Southern gets interested tell him he doesn’t have to stick to the plot at all, just send green”
The NYTimes’ “Measure for Measure” blog, where “Songwriters pull back the curtain on their creative process”
The Guardian’s “How We Made” series where “two collaborators on a seminal art work talk us through their original creative process.” Several of the columns are about songs: the Four Tops’ “Reach Out,” Ben E. King and Mike Stoller on “Stand By Me,” The Kinks on “You Really Got Me,” etc.