UP THERE, a Short 2010 Documentary Flm by Malcolm Murray for Stella Artois
In 2010, Up There, a short documentary film by Malcolm Murray for Stella Artois and Mother NY was released. The full film is available online. at Vimeo
Content is from outside sources.
Up There is a short documentary about the sign painters who still work in cities like New York, hand-applying mural-style ads to brick walls. In this short preview clip, you see an accelerated version of a series of murals painted over three weeks to advertise Stella Artois. Each image is drawn cartoon-style onto paper, holes are burned through the cartoon, and charcoal is applied to pattern the brick wall. Then the painters fill in the mural, mixing their paint as they go.
It’s truly humbling to see such skilled painters, able to fill a wall with a proportional, almost photorealistic mural in a matter of hours, while hanging on a window washing scaffold above traffic. May they never be out of work.
Trailer of UP THERE
Directed by Malcolm Murray, based on an original concept by Mother as a promo for Stella Artois beer demonstarting the ritual of the perfect pour.
Shot high above the streets of New York City, UP THERE reveals the dying craft of large-scale hand painted advertising and the in-told story of the painters struggling to keep it alive. Capturing a trade that is equal parts artistic precision and grueling labor, the film presents a painting tradition pre-dating modern advertising. A craft that today finds itself dangling precariously on the brink of extinction. UP THERE is directed by Malcolm Murray, based on an original concept by Mother. It is produced by Mekanism with music by the Album Leaf. Enjoy!
An aside: Like many people during the "shelter in place" phase of the Covid 19 pandemic here in NYC, I bunkered down this past spring to wait out the surge. Then George Floyd was murdered by the police in Minneapolis. Thousands of demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd took to the streets of New York City. More than a dozen stores in Lower Manhattan were also looted after some folks disrupted otherwise peaceful protests following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Then the plywood went up on many store fronts around the city. It was initially chilling to see. However, many enterprising artists utilised their skills to create amazing art on the plywood that covered many store fronts to protect businesses from the random chaos. One of my friends, Adam, is a mural painter and he contributed to the store front art. He is a big fan of Malcolm Murray's Up There, as am I.
Fall has arrrived and NYC has opened up considerably more over the past month. I just got an email from the Guggenheim Museum saying that they would reopening in less than a month. I celebrate each time hear more of the institutions and businesses are opening back up. Recently I called a rug cleaning company that I usually use each Spring to clean my carpets. Obviously is was put off this year. I was concerned that they might have gone under as many smaller businesses have. Fortunately Agara Rug Cleaning NYC weathered the shut down and are now accepting requests. My neighbor recommended them several years ago when I was looking for someone who could retore antique rugs. I had just inherited several beatuitiful Persian rugs when my grandmother died but the fringe needed repairing and they definitely needed cleaning. Agara Rug Cleaning specializes in cleaning / restoring oriental / hand woven antique rugs. I'm glad to say that the plywood is down and the store fronts that were damaged have new windows. Life is not back to normal. Who knows when, but we are all slowly getting use to the new normal.
A film by Malcolm Murray for Stella Artois and Mother NY
The mini-documentary 'Up There' gives a fascinating look at the dying art of hand-painted advertisements. In the documentary made by the advertising agency Mother in collaboration with Mekanism, you can see a number of talented artists at work for the 21-day 'Ritual Project' of the Belgian beer brand Stella Artois.
The film directed by Malcolm Murray is about professionals working for Sky High Murals, one of the last remaining mural companies in New York. You hear the painters talking about the risks that the profession entails and how many years it takes before you have mastered the art completely. Partly due to the music of The Album Leaf, it is a great movie to watch. The next time you come across a beautifully painted mural of meters high on the street, think about these guys for a moment and hope that this art will never disappear.
Concept: Mother NY; Production Co: Mekanism; Director/DP/Editor: Malcolm Murray; Music by The Album Leaf; Painters: Colossal Media/Sky High Murals/Bob Middleton; Presented by Stella Artois
COMMENTS FROM VIEWERS ON VIMEO as of 2018
Marco Houston / 8 years ago
great work, both filmmaker & artists!
Elissa / 8 years ago
2 days an alien in New York, visiting from Melbourne for 12 days.
This video is changing the way I experience this dazzling habour town and I love it, thank you!
I'm also a documentarian in learning, hoping to hone my skills and tell beautiful and raw stories such as this. So far I have made just the one little clip which you can see on my vimeo page.
Are you making anything new at the moment?
Allan Cerbelli / 7 years ago
This is coming from a signpainter (Wall Dog) of 40 years who feels like a dinosaur in the sign business with the introduction of vinyl and technology. I feel the creativity, passion and heart oozing from these brave men's pores. To risk your life everyday for the love of sign artistry is inspiring. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up on the ability and talent of these men who dazzled me as a young child on Times Square and all around the city.
I have the utmost respect for this trade and I could relate with everything that was said in this documentary. I have been having a hard time within the past few years getting steady work. I was let go from a great position with a major corporation. I love what I have been doing for a living these past 40 years, but I was complacent and didn't see how the thechnology end of the business would leave me in the lurch if I ever lost the job I loved.
I was emotionally touched by your film and I give you my thumbs-up as a "Signtist" who could feel what these men in the trade feel. As I said, "Signpainters" are considered dinosaurs these days and I wanted to convey my feelings on your film and "thank you" for bringing life to a great subject...."Imagination unrestricted by reality."
eatTVPLUS / 7 years ago
Beautifully done. One of my favorites!
Valentina G / 7 years ago
Michael Campbell / 7 years ago
I hope my work is this good one day!
Torko / 7 years ago
Amazing and beautiful doc. Great soundtrack too. Thanks for sharing it.
Sam Stanistreet / 6 years ago
Beautifully shot and a great insight into the people that still do it and love doing it.
John Contreras / 1 year ago
I seriously have been looking for this Godly video since summer started. The whole video had me in my seat and in complete awe! Super curious about the whole process.