Before the days of pixels and vinyl printers and lots and lots of waterproof glue, there were hand-painted advertisements, scaled with care and painted by hand on the facades of buildings. A few handpainted ads still go up each year in New York and L.A., and “Up There” catalogs a bit of their experience.
It’s a lilting film, with lots of super shallow depth of field, plenty of color processing, and a evolving soundtrack by The Album Leaf, and there’s no hiding the involvement of Stella Artois. But its commercial overview is handled quite well, really, and it’s kinda of nice to see a major corporation sponsor a piece of art that at least SEEMS like its not totally meant as an ad itself. And it clocks in at just under 13:00, which makes it perfect for an inspiring, mid-day distraction.
“Hand-painted advertising is a dying craft, equal parts art and labor. Shot predominantly in Lower Manhattan in the Fall of 2009, ‘Up There’ is the emotional story of a few generations of men — some working on Stella Artois’ ‘The Ritual Project’ wall, others reflecting on the lives they’ve lived – who continue to keep this form alive despite changing economic conditions.” From MotherNewYork