Getting into art is a risky business. Griffin House remembers taking a career assessment test in high school and told his final scores indicated that he would find success as a homeless person. Almost every person was encouraged to have a “Plan B” backup. But it wasn’t all discouraging. Jeff Nishinaka’s father told him that if he were to go to art school, he should choose one thing and be the best at it. Don’t be a Jack of All Trades.
The documentary then covers stories of the risks in moving to New York or Los Angeles, finding the big break, and how following one’s passions often superseded a personal life. Nishinaka calls art a “curse” that follows him everywhere.
“…designed to encourage, assist, and support aspiring artists to not so easily to give up on that dream.”
I’m sort of torn on how I feel about Somewhere In The Middle. On the positive side, Ives documentary is designed to encourage, assist, and support aspiring artists to not so easily to give up on that dream. I love that. My personal road has been balancing feeding my family with writing reviews and performing comedy several times a month. There’s navigating the tension between surviving and following a dream. If you’re in this position, you’ll find a vast amount of wisdom that can be gleaned from those who have gone before you.
One the other hand, it’s a pretty rudimentary documentary. Each artist sits on a chair and tells their story. Visually, the interviews were all done in one sitting and visually it gets stale over the hour-fifteen run time. The discussions are interspliced with a healthy amount of the artist’s work, songs, demo reels, but then cuts back to the same, stale images. The way the stories are organized is perfect for telling a cohesive tales of five artists. It’s almost too perfect, which admittedly is a horrible criticism. Ironically, a documentary about art should feel like art and maybe being too structured and methodical works against that idea. OK, I’m being super-nitpicky.
If you are sitting at the crossroad of taking the safe road of personal and financial security or following a risky dream, Somewhere In The Middle is a must-see. While it’s clearly designed to push you to follow the dream, it is practical in pointing out the obstacles you may face and the personal satisfaction you’ll feel.
"…the journey is the same, while at the same time very different."