GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Greenville native artist Natalie G’NAT Wetzel and her studio mate, photographer Mark Andrus, have been very busy.
Together, they operate the multidisciplinary create space, The Moon, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and are in post production on a number of film projects. Some are live performances filmed at the studio, most recently with bands including Los Angeles (L.A.), Calif. – based Vinyl Williams and Cleveland, Ohio – based mr Gnome. Two other films: “EXTREMOPHILIA” and “ORB WOMB”, each about 15 – minutes – long, have more developed narratives and were shot in a variety of international locations, Wetzel said. They just finished a trailer for “ORB WOMB”, premiering through a United Kingdom publication, “Tribe Magazine”, in its upcoming March issue.
According to Wetzel, “ORB WOMB” is informed by astronomy evidenced in Anasazi architecture at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.”Iohc, an otherworldly, pregnant, horned creature in space heels, struggles to discover why it has mysteriously emerged in such an unusual and harsh landscape, where the observer is the observed in infinite, layered realities.” It was filmed using special cameras that captured footage for compatibility, with the shape of domes, Wetzel said.
“We approached cinematography differently, because of how visitors to domes experience visuals,” she said. “Mark and our collaborator, Joe Ashi, were operating the cameras and lights in Chaco Canyon, while also playing two spacemen as part of the narrative. It was so much fun watching them juggle those responsibilities; I would be cracking up as they tweaked any technical concern before hopping in front of the cameras to play out a scene with me.
“They took on somewhat of a Bennie Hill vibe,” she added. “Emily Hromi, manager of the Chaffee Planetarium, in Grand Rapids, helped guide us on the process, because she knows current technologies, in dome projection, and has produced shows specifically for them, including an updated (and celebrated) “Dark Side of The Moon” show.”
“EXTREMOPHILIA” is a project that began last July, during an event on The Moon, then continued filming while on tour with the Memphis, Tenn. – based band Spaceface. They toured to shows in Toronto and Montreal, Canada; Brooklyn, N.Y and Philadelphia, Pa.
“I then branched off with L.A. – based videographer Anthony Ferrara, aka Bokeh Monster, for a month shooting around Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark; Berlin, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Amsterdam, the Netherlands and London, England),” Wetzel said.
Now, back on The Moon, they are developing more scenes using constructed sets while editing the captured footage, Wetzel explained.
“This film is intended for viewing in a non traditional way, but we’re keeping the presentation a surprise while we harness the technologies to make it happen,” she said.
Wetzel is a transdisciplinary artist working in collaboration with visual artists, musicians, composers, architects, physicists, engineers, and the global community. She is: a creative director, an object maker, a performer, a U.S. Correspondent to “Tribe Magazine”, an operator of multidisciplinary create space, The Moon, and is an Assistant Professor at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.
When asked what role film plays in her art process, Wetzel said, “I believe in using whatever methods, materials, and presentations best convey a concept. These components not only represent a concept, but work in harmony to be the manifestation of it. I see video as a medium to be pulled, twisted, blended, cut and polished in the same way I view manipulating other materials that are stereotypical of sculptors, such as: stone, clay, wood or steel.”
To visit the recently released article in Tribe Magazine, “The Moon on Desert Daze” visit https://readymag.com/tribe/649117/91/.