The concept of Beautiful Losers, which has come to represent a pop cultural movement, started from the detritus of urban art, skate, punk, hip-hop, and DIY attitude which many attribute to the artist/writer, Aaron Rose. Similar to what Stacy Peralta and Craig Stecyk did with defining the birth of skateboarding with the movie “Dogtown and the Z-Boys,” and images of the “Birth of the Now” capturing key innovators in the new sport of skateboarding and street culture back in the ’70’s, Aaron captured a loose-knit group of outsider street artists that had a common thread in terms of the meaning of their artwork starting with a little storefront gallery in NYC in the ’90s.
These artists, including Barry McGee, Ed Templeton, Mile Mills, Shepard Fairey, Thomas Campbell, Margaret Killgallen, Chris Johnson, Jo Jackson, and shot and filmed by Cheryl Dunn, are captured in the documentary “Beautiful Losers” through their personal stories and why they created what they did outside of so-called established art enclaves. The movement has since turned into a touring art exhibition which appealed enormously to disenfranchised youth culture globally, as it traveled throughout 2008. Since then it’s become a popular book, and the film segments have turned into a heartfelt and moving documentary, which is being released this month on DVD and iTunes.
To give you a sense of the importance of the Beautiful Losers movement, it’s one of those multi-dimensional projects that’s grown beyond the scope of it’s original focus in the telling of personal artists stories because, as the film press describes, “It speaks to themes of what happens when the outside becomes “in” as it explores the creative ethos connecting these artists and today’s youth.”
That outside that’s now in also delves into the questions of why and how corporations tapped into this scene and hiring these artists in their quests to become cool and gain street cred with today’s youth culture. For artists who never thought what they were doing was something they could do for a living, it’s an interesting struggle to contend with when it comes to getting paid, which follows the spiral of how street artists have become the new cultural icons of a generation and it’s brand followers.
The DIY ethos of today’s youth marketplace also comes to the surface in many other ways, including through the creator himself: Aaron Rose has been hired for many projects from brands such as Nike, to core streetwear brand RVCA. He’s a commercially successful artist that also co-edits the very cool quarterly, oversized art magazine called ANP which is produced by RVCA as part of its non-profit initiative the Artists Network Program. If ever there was a brand that was highly connected to street art and youth culture, it would be RVCA for this very reason of seeing the beauty in “beautiful losers” and how it resonates across so many other cultural landscapes.
In honor of the release of the DVD, Beautiful Losers will host a short films series by associated artists from this scene, including RARE films by Mile Mills, Spike Jonze, Thomas Campbell, and Harmony Korine at Cinefamily in Los Angeles on December 5th. We expect a who’s-who of street artists to attend.
Beautiful Losers in its DVD form now means that everyone can watch just how a part of the subculture of street art, DIY, punk, skate influences created a cultural movement that continues to have a ripple effect globally.
Check-out the trailer here: http://vimeo.com/1324674
Beautiful Losers book gives an insider look to the movement.