Maryland Film Festival

Maryland Film Festival logo

Brains screened at the 25th Maryland Film Festival. I got to attend a conference of the Film Producers Club of Maryland, which highlighted for me just how far removed I am from the “film industry.” I got to sit between my friends Skizz and Lynn Tomlinson.

Film makers club of Maryland in the Francis Scott Key room
Jim Doran and Skizz

Brains played in two animation showcases, and then I got to do a Q&A with Phil Davis, which was fun (as always).

Brains in the Fred Lazarus theater at MICA
Q&A with Phil Davis

There were some really interesting exhibits involving projection mapping and VR (my first experience with VR). I learned quite a bit.

I watched Secret Mall Apartment. Michael Townsend was on hand to introduce the film, and do a Q&A.

He explained that he and his colleagues in this sat on the footage. After he was arrested, they had at least 30 producers come forward and offer to make this. They decided to work with Jeremy Workman, who they felt could present artists to a non-art community with empathy and clarity.

In addition to teaching, Michael Townsend had several projects involving installing murals with painter’s tape in children’s hospitals, Oklahoma city, and to honor the victims of 9/11.

I was inspired by this. Colin Bliss, Michael’s friend and artist colleague, talks about how it’s not artists’ responsibility to use their talent to try and change the world, but when presented with an opportunity to contribute in some way, it sure feels good.

Another sentiment that rang like a bell inside me is the idea of living an artistic life. It was validating – I had a realization of just how important conscious art-making is in my life. I knew this already, of course, but I reflected back on just how much work I’ve done, and how it has impacted my life, and how grateful I am to have found my path. I’m not sure everyone finds, or arrives at, their most chosen path.

I took Beverly to see Anna Biller’s Viva. So many thoughts about this 2007 film. I’ll say what I loved most is the attention paid to the amazing decor and the soundtrack.

We also attended Skizz’s presentation of Divine Trash on 35mm. Skizz introduced the film, and then brought Steve Yeager on stage for a Q&A. One of the funniest answers was when question about the interview with the Film Censor, Steve mentioned that they didn’t tell here what the interview was for until later.

John Waters made an appearance to congratulate his old friend. What a screening!

I feel inspired and energized, and I didn’t expect to get quite so much from this festival. It was fantastic, and I am happy.


The Art of Accumulation

I attended Tara Gladden’s curator talk tonight at the Cade Gallery at Anne Arundel Community College. This is a really interesting and special show, open from April 24 through May 22, 2024. Chris Mona of AACC said more than 600 people applied, and 20 were selected. I am very honored.

Tara Gladden and Chris Mona

The call for entry contained the following statement:

This exhibition invites works that engage with the concept of accumulation through the combination and exploration of non-traditional materials, repetitive processes, and/or relationships between material, time, memory, and experience.

I’ve been working on scenes in old watches, with the thread of “a persistence of memory” threaded through them. I definitely combine non-traditional materials, repetitive processes, and I explore relationships between material, time, memory, and experience. I was very excited.

My response to this call was this:

As a diorama maker, I make use of discarded materials as the containers for my tiny tableaus, including spoons, Altoid boxes, and most recently, watches. As an artist, I have accumulated large quantities of these materials, and have created hundreds of scenes with them.

The British empiricist John Locke’s “memory theory” states that a person’s identity only reaches as far as their memory extends into the past. Our memory is malleable and imperfect. Using discarded wrist watches and pocket watches, I explore the impermanence and reliability of memory with tiny cut paper dioramas, and consider how identity evolves through time. The viewer is invited to “get close” to the work, both figuratively, and literally, as tiny drawings are alluring. Placing my own real, distorted and dream memories into non-functioning chronometers, a narrative emerges which is intimate, biographic and also a work of sudden fiction.

My approach to the materials I use in my work is aligned with the philosophy of Les Arts Modestes (the Modest Arts). I find immense value in using everyday, ordinary, and humble objects.

Artists tend to accumulate things – most of the working artists that I know do. For myself, I tend to acquire:

  • spoons
  • clocks
  • watches
  • small metal boxes, Altoids, etc.
  • plastic toy figures
  • bread ties
  • Birkenstocks (I haven’t gotten to this collection yet, other than the first protoype).
  • guitar pedals
  • old tape players
  • cassettes
  • guitars
  • drums
  • old books + print material
  • Tyvek
  • Etc.

Tara mentioned something that I have been repressing, which is guilt. We, especially Americans, consume and discard SO MUCH (packaging, plastic, gasoline, electricity, etc.). I try to be mindful of what I acquire, and I attempt to keep compulsive collecting in check. Compulsive creating is allowed. I also think, as I continue to grow older, that time is my most valuable resources. I do not want to squander time.

A Persistence of Memory, the title of this grouping, is also an intentional nod to the surrealists.

This show has a lot to offer – animation, sculptural work, a chair made from spaghetti, and a lot to think about. It’s very user friendly, too, and reminds me a great deal of work found at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM).

Jim and Matt Klos


AACC made a video of Tara’s talk, which was very good. And, here’s a excerpt of yours truly:


Toons at Zekes

Sadly, I missed the reception because we were traveling, but this is a fun show, and I’m glad to have been included!


New Works

Happy to be a part of this. Brains was well received, and viewed in very good company.

People sitting in folding chairs at a screening

Winter Shows

I have work at the Hamilton Gallery on Harford road, and Fleckenstein Gallery in Hampden.

Here are some pics from the Hamilton installation.

A collection of Altoid dioramas hanging on a gray wall
A collection of Altoid dioramas hanging on a gray wall
A collection of Altoid dioramas hanging on a gray wall
A collection of Altoid dioramas hanging on a gray wall

I’ll post the other pics once the Fleckenstein show is up.


Window Projections at the Peale Museum

I made the 1 minute film with characters from The Lunatics universe to be projected across three windows at the Peale Museum in Baltimore. I drew this to have the short story unfold in three panels, like a moving comic/cartoon.

This turned out as well as I hoped it would. The short narrative unfolds over the three panels. Super cool!