John Baldessari: The Ordinary Extraordinary Person

A Brief History of John Baldessari

Rhetoric: The audio in the documentary compliments the speed at which the shots are changing and Tom Waits is speaking. Visually, every shot is interesting and keeps one eyes from getting bored. Shots are always moving very quickly throughout the film and the camera angle always gives the eyes plenty to look at. The content ranged from John Baldessari and his office, to his art, and a map of where he grew up. The documentary seemed to be persuading the viewer that John Baldessari’s art has been very influential in today’s modern artists. John Baldessari himself is speaking and that helps give credibility to the documentary. Viewers trust him and find humor in his down to earth character. The humorous dialogue between Tom Waits and him also helps to draw in the audience and keep ones attention. The appeal to emotion here, I think, is the way John Baldessari is a famous artist but is depicted in a very relatable way. I feel his target audience is young artists looking for inspiration. His message is art can be whatever you’d like it to be. Artists can be inspired by anything; just like the colored dot stickers inspired him.
Aesthetic: There were contrasting colors used in the documentary, in John Baldessari’s office it was plain, neutral colors and the shot would quickly change to colors popping on his artwork. The black and white photographs with the bright dots added contrast keeping the eye interested. Full, medium, and close shots were used and this helped keep the documentary different and entertaining. I feel the full shots were most effective in showing his workspace and always giving the viewer something to look at, whether it was the tree in the window or the books on his messy desk. The rule of thirds wasn’t really used when showing John Baldessari; he was usually centered on the screen. There also wasn’t a lot of panning used, but shots would change every 3-5 seconds. The camera height was eye level for a majority of the documentary, which contributed to John Baldessari being just like the average person. When the documentary first begins camera fixed is used as John Baldessari walks into the frame.
Affective: The audience is immediately left feeling like John Baldessari has had a very busy life. This feeling is acquired from the fast shots, all the art shown, all his achievements that are flashed on the screen, and the fast paced music. One is also left feeling inspired, especially artists. The documentary is aimed to show young artists that anyone can achieve their goals if they work hard and keep trying. John Baldessari is like any ordinary person, but he worked hard to create art that he is passionate about, and that he’s a mentor for anyone trying to do the same thing.
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