Belinda's Bash

Belinda Naylor-Stables

Turning your Art or Craft into an Xtreme Sport
If you are looking for the excitement of Xtreme sport but too scared to snowboard down an advanced slope or jump off the top of a mountain – or if you’ve failed to nail your ollies in the local skateboard park – then the relatively safe excitement of producing an Xtreme art video may be the thing for you.

It all started when I had this brilliant idea for Open Studios – a video demonstrating how I paint. I watched the amazing feats of the Top 10 Most Xtreme Sports on YouTube for inspiration Then I bought a very cheap and cheerful headcam via Amazon (from £14.00). Mine has a simple vidcam with an off-on switch which sits on my forehead. It is threaded onto an elastic sport head strap that makes me look like an aged hippie. The three AAA batteries cradled in the little battery pack at the back of the headstrap provide about 3 hours of filming. Insert the little chip card from your smart phone – and you have all you need to create a video of yourself making art. No need for expensive kit.

Most extreme sports are about some sort of board, ski, bike or wing and the rough surface or scary void below you. So you would expect the tilt on the lense of this type of camera to be focused on your feet. Unfortunately I found that the lense on my forehead tended to look skyward. Therefore to create a video of what your hands are doing you may have to make a wedge that tilts the lense downwards. I've discovered that with a neatly rolled piece of kitchen towel or cotton wool taped to the back of the headcam you can achieve the perfect angle.

You then become producer and director of your own art video. The challenge is to put the excitement of Xtreme sport into your demonstration.  I've found the cocktail-making genre on YouTube often gets the right balance of useful information and excitement. For a moody gothic approach look at Anastasia Gvak’s film entered into the Bacardi Legacy Competition 2013. Or for fiery flamboyance look at Leeroy Petersen’s Cocktail Flair. If you can shift like Alexander Shtifanov, El Mejor Barman del Mundo, then what are you waiting for? Alternatively for understated cool consider the video by Tao Logy, contestant of the Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year 2014 award.

These examples have led me think that lessons in the art and gymnastics of bartending would be a good idea. You could then increase your audience’s excitement as you throw at least five tools or paint bottles in the air, juggle them, catch them in the bend of your elbow, or roll them down your arm, while dancing with abandon on your table or round your studio. Then follow this with a demonstration of your art or craft and you have the material for an Xtreme art video. Using free downloadable video editing tools you can add a film title and credits, add effects and background music -  and cut out the boring bits. So for under £15 (excluding the cost of cocktail athletics classes) you could produce a great video that you can put on YouTube, or other video sharing site, to boost your art sales.

I haven’t produced a finished video yet – but when I do, I’ll put it in the web newsletter so that you can have a look. I just need to attend my Xtreme Ninja Bartender Class first - or should I go to the fire eating and breathing one instead? Tricky.

If you find any more inspiring video examples let us know.