Michael Smither: Artist in Residence (image 1)

As far as I'm concerned, the artist's place is to take part in society.

Michael Smither, Art New Zealand

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Michael Smither: Artist in Residence 2010

Directed by Tony Hiles

This lively visit with artist Michael Smither marks the second in a series planned by filmmaker Tony Hiles to chronicle one of the country’s most instantly recognisable painters at work through his eighth decade.

40 minutes DigiBeta

Director, Photography, Sound

Editors

Tony Hiles
,
Daria Malesic

Music

Michael Smither
,
Joseph Smither

With

Michael Smither
,
G’ian McGregor

This lively visit with artist Michael Smither is the second in a series of 20 short documentaries planned by filmmaker Tony Hiles to chronicle one of the country’s most instantly recognisable painters at work through his eighth decade. As this film begins, Smither is expressing relief that his final, and less than commercially successful dealer show, ‘Shared Harmonics’, has come to an end, so he can retreat to his home on the Coromandel. There we see him working on a commissioned painting; walking the beach, sketchbook in hand; providing a detailed guided tour of the vegetation between the beach and his house; and pitching in for a local artists’ show. He waxes lyrical about aging, the economic realities of an artist’s life, and neighbours who poison ancient trees to improve their view of the sea; and perplexes potential customers by ascribing pitch to colour and picking out one of his paintings on the piano. A long time exponent of synesthesia in art, he also wrote and performed the score that accompanies this engaging slice of his life. — BG