Topic: Brickfilm of the Week: The Artist (Mar 27, 2015)

This week’s Brickfilm of the Week is The Artist by Mirko Horstmann.

Instead of looking outward toward the wide world, many films turn inward to examine the process of filmmaking, artistry and creativity. The Artist, by Mirko Horstmann and released in 2007, is one of those films. This quiet film follows the struggle of a sculptor attempting to get into an art gallery, and probably resonates with any creative person who’s had to deal with trying to get their artwork accepted. The Artist won Best Film in Steinerei 2007 (a German brickfilm film festival) and first place in a contest simply known as the TTC Contest (a contest designed to promote the Theora video codec). Mirko Horstmann was a well-known German member of, and also made a few other brickfilms, including Greedy Bricks and The Fisherman and his Wife.

Watch The Artist on YouTube


The story of The Artist seems to the be a fairly simple one: an artist wants to get into a gallery, but each work of art he produces is rejected until he makes something that everyone likes, and he is applauded. However, I can’t help but see a darker interpretation to the story. I see an artist who is forced to compromise their artistic vision and churns out what the world wants to see, instead of what the artist wants to make, in order to get the recognition the artist craves. Perhaps I am reading too much into The Artist. But I think that’s the beauty of this short film: in only a few minutes, Mirko Horstmann has told a timeless story that offers depth and insight and possibilities for a wide range of interpretations.

What are your thoughts on The Artist? What did you like about it? How did you interpret the story? Did you have a favorite moment?

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: The Artist (Mar 27, 2015)

I really liked that brickfilm. The story was great. I too see the "deeper meaning" about how the artist was forced to compromise. Who knows if that was intentional. The lack of dialogue leaves us thinking, which I really like.

I like the technical aspects of the film too. I like how the clay was sculpted, the look of the art gallery, and everything else. No complaints here! I also like the little touches, like the LEGO Mona Lisa. I also like the use of the tissue for the blanket. Very creative. mini/smile

"Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31b

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: The Artist (Mar 27, 2015)

This is a great Brick film. I use a lot of clay in my movies and its hard to work with, but this guy did it really well. And the story is great.

I do not brickfilm anymore, but you can see my live action stuff here.

Re: Brickfilm of the Week: The Artist (Mar 27, 2015)

I really enjoyed this one. As an artist who has had some pieces in a small gallery showing I can relate to this story. This story shows the main actions and some of the feelings that go into it, but it doesn't approach the more complicated perspectives involved. It's all told from the artist's perspective.

  • Galleries try to get people to come look at artist's work, but to do that, they have to show work that people will like, or more broadly what people will come view. It's a catch 22.

  • Some artists' work simply doesn't have the time effort and work put into it that others do. Others have insightful concepts that will get them into a gallery even if it doesn't show time and thought in their work. These artists can turn out to be one hit wonders, or they can go on to make a living off of shoddy work with an insightful idea behind it. The "art world" is fickle.

  • The art movement right now is about showing one's own self and style. The idea is, everything under the sun has been done, except your personal view. So the current trend is letting the art come out of who you are as a person rather than the art achieving some new mental understanding of what art can be (impressionism, cubism, etc).

  • In my opinion this has developed into pigeonholing artists into one specific repetitive art style (branding). Singularly encouraging self-identification and simultaneously stifling artistic freedom. To be a "renaissance man" in this day and age is almost looked down upon.

  • If I had to guess, I suspect that in the next generation or two, popular art will swing (again) in the opposite direction and art will be about exploring ALL the facets of one's self, instead of maintaining stylistic uniformity.

Even institutions that teach art have to be critical of someone's work in order to get them to grow.

This idea in particular is what came across to me in "The Artist." After each rejection he expands himself to new heights, so he as an artist is growing, but at the same time in order to be accepted he is being pulled into what is popular. As long as the artist grows, but doesn't forget the lessons from past experiences he truly will become a great artist. Which is exactly what he does by keeping the "failed" pieces for himself. He doesn't throw away his past work believing it to be garbage, continuing to chase popularity. He hasn't compromised himself, because he still values his prior work.