Film Review: Beautiful Losers

The film, Beautiful Losers, directed by Aaron Rose tells the story of a group of young, contemporary artists from across the nation with no formal art education who would later become the artists behind Alleged Gallery and many well-recognized commercial products. The title, Beautiful Losers comes from the shared feeling among the artists that they identified as outsiders throughout their childhood and early years.  This montage of documentary footage of art and interviews discusses the influences of punk and skateboard art on this group of contemporary artists, who began their friendships long before they were famous. These artists interviewed and/or discussed in this film include visual and performance artists Twist, Mark Gonzalez, Shepard Fairey, Thomas Campbell, Jo Jackson, Ed Templeton, Barry McGee, as well as filmmaker and visual artists Harmony Korine, Mike Mills, and Cheryl Dunn.

The film moves from the artistic influences of punk and skateboard art to the influences of graffiti, punk rock art, and sign art on contemporary artists. In particular, the film follows the tragic story of Margaret Kilgallen, a contemporary artist who died at a young age. The film captures Kilgallen in her most vibrant times, creating art and working with her close-knit group of friends. In particular, the film focuses on Kilgallen’s dedication to public and community art, which is now the style in which her husband is working. All in all, the film covers issues of classicism within the art community, the rise and popularity of art on a commercial scale, and artists struggles to balance personal artistic pursuits in a supply and demand society.

Beautiful Losers captures the most popular contemporary artists on film and gives perspective on their careers. The film is well-produced and is definitely a film to watch for those who are interested in the influences of today’s contemporary artists.     

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