Expression Through Painting
In a letter to Theo in July 1890, van Gogh said, “We cannot speak other than by our paintings.” Painting was the truest form of expression for him. van Gogh’s particular style was full of expressive lines and vibrant colors. He used his art to communicate his feelings, speaking through the paint. Ever since, his iconic pieces and inspiring quotes have continued to spark creativity in many artists.
Van Gogh almost didn’t become an artist. He didn’t pick up a brush until his late 20s. He was the black sheep of the family and relied heavily on his brother Theo to help support him.
Even through this despair and hardship, he still found the energy to keep trying and keep creating. In just eight years he became one of the most influential and well-known painters of all time.
Even those who aren’t consumed by the art world, know van Gogh’s name. Director and painter Dorota Kobiela wanted to celebrate his life. This desire sparked the idea for the film Loving Vincent. She wanted to show how hard work and chasing after what you want can lead to creating something amazing.
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what other people have achieved and put it down to their natural abilities: Put it down to them being geniuses, like Mozart or da Vinci, but Vincent proves that if you have the focus and the energy you can achieve extraordinary things, and that it is never too late,” she explains. “But you have to be willing to put in the work.”
Loving Vincent: A Six-Year Project
Loving Vincent is a feature-length film that features 65,000 frames made by 125 painters over the course of six years of work. It is the world’s first fully painted film. Kobiela took on the monumental task of orchestrating this project. She wanted to combine her passions of film and painting to create something new and unique. Van Gogh was the perfect subject for the film.
According to Kobiela, van Gogh’s life and his letters were key inspirations for the film. “I was 30 when I came up with the idea to do Loving Vincent, around the same age that Vincent was when he started painting,” she says. “More than his paintings, which I love, it was the example of how Vincent lived his life that inspired me.
She continues, “I have battled with depression all my life, and I was inspired by how strong Vincent was in picking himself up from similarly terrible life setbacks as a young man in his twenties, and finding, through art, a way to bring beauty to the world. His letters helped me at a low point in my life, and inspired me to make this film.”
Kobiela imagined a series of interviews with van Gogh’s paintings. She found a cast to resemble the people in van Gogh’s pieces and shot live-action footage of them saying the script. The live-action footage was then used to create the oil paintings, frame by frame. That all came together to create a gorgeous and unique stop-motion film.
Loving Vincent is a massive labor of love. The film premiered in the U.S. recently, getting excellent reviews for its amazing visuals. You can keep up to date with the latest news about the film on their website and find a screening near you.