The titular Man In Camo is artist, filmmaker, writer, punk, father, husband, publisher, co-founder of the Antagonist Movement, and all-around provocateur Ethan Minsker. If that sounds like the man must lead quite the full, if exhaustive, life, that is because he does. Oh, did I mention that he has dyslexia?
Ethan Minsker was born on August 25, 1969, with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. Luckily, the doctor and nurses were able to save his life, though he was in an incubator for several days afterwards. Before high school, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, but that did not stop his boundless imagination or drive to create. Minsker began making short little films, first with Betamax. Then with a hand-cranked film camera, a family member gifted him.
“…artist, filmmaker, writer, punk, father, husband, publisher, co-founder of the Antagonist Movement, and all-around provocateur…”
As the punk scene exploded in Washington, D.C., where he lived, he got enthralled. He started up a fanzine for the local bands, which also showcased his artistic skills. In 1997, he directed his first feature-length documentary, Anything Boys Can Do, about the female-fronted punk bands in the area during their zenith of 1992-94.
Eventually, a music video Minsker directed wound up on MTV, which excited him and his friends to no end. While these are the good highlights, the artist’s formative years also had several downs. Throughout his school career, he was bullied and picked on relentlessly due to his learning disability. It got so bad that, coupled with other factors, he had contemplated suicide. While I hesitate to claim things are perfectly fine for Minsker now, they at least improved a bit, as he is married to the feisty and hilarious (based on her interviews at least) Un Lee, and they share a daughter who shares her father’s passion for the arts.
Man In Camo, directed by Ethan Minsker himself, is his biography but distinctly told through his distinctive art style, which makes this the perfect time to discuss his bold, in your face styles. The film mixes interviews, animation, claymation, clips from his old movies, and a non-stop pace that is dizzying, dazzling, and works without distracting from the personal and engaging story at hand.
"…only a handful of sequences where the bells and whistles of Minsker’s style are not onscreen"