Gallery America


Where Are They Now?

Gallery America celebrates its 20th anniversary by returning to a few past episodes and reconnecting with artists. We see where sculptor David Phelps' biggest piece, American Beauty, ended up and how he caught the attention of golfer Greg Norman; and learn how Hollywood actor Timothy Fall's 2009 film bootcamp changed his career – and inspired one of his 14-year-old students to make her own movies.

AIRED: April 01, 2021 | 0:28:17

Next on gallery America. We reconnect with a few Oklahoma

artists from past episodes in 2012, David Phelps created his

biggest ever sculpture. Now he's working on a very surprising


Skull was always on top of the cabinet. I grew up with before I

was born. That's pretty cool. In 2009, we attended Timothy falls

movie making bootcamp turns out one of the students fulfilled

her dream. I remember like onset when I was directing it saying

my idea that had been in my head for a few years, coming to

fruition. It was really cool.

Hello, Oklahoma. I'm Robert Reed. Welcome to gallery

America. The show that gets you behind the scenes and in the

studios of great artists in Oklahoma and around the nation.

Now next month marks a pretty big milestone, the 20th birthday

of us, and to celebrate, we're going to do something we wanted

to do for a really long time. We're going to revisit some past

episodes and reconnect with the artists that made them great.

First is David Phelps. David is a sculptor that first came to

Oklahoma in 1984 decades later. He's still here creating iconic

sculptures, like American beauty, which he was working on

when we met up with him in 2012. Now we're going to find out

where American beauty is now and what David's up to. But first

let's take a quick look back at a snippet of the original

broadcast of deep roots.

This is my day job. So this is where my income comes from. And

if I don't produce, I don't get paid. So I have to treat it like

a job. Well, I've got, um, molten oil clay in this pot. And

what I'm doing is I'm laying down a first coat of oil clay on

this, uh, styrofoam armature. And this'll be the base that I

sculpt from. I don't really consider myself, uh, an

anatomist. My images are concept driven. So I'll have an idea

about what I want a piece to do. Typically I'll have a model come

in and sit for me for a body cast. And then I use that to

look at it. So that becomes my reference for sculpting the

piece. I'm very slow at my sculpting process, and it's not

comfortable for a model to come in and sit for me for whatever

it takes. It could be two months, it could be six months.

And so it's usually easier to, to have this static object as a

point of reference to sculp from then a live person. The way I

approached this one different was I had a Kim come in and sit

for a body cast and it'll make it good. After we decided on to

pose, we put a plaster bandages, cut up into manageable sizes and

dip them in water, warm water, lay him on and rub them out. And

as you rub it, it pushes the plaster in the bandages, down to

the skin. If you do a good job, it picks up really great detail.

It's so exciting to be at this stage where it's becoming a

physical reality and it works. Pushing the oil clay on the

armature, and we'll get this, get this uniform color on here.

And then it'll, it'll be a lot easier to see where we need to

make adjustments and carve away and add on areas. It's, it's

hard to see on the white, This isn't the finished armature. So

I've still got a lot of carving to do on the armature here to

make this look like it should. That's why I'm, I'm working on

the hair on the on the small one right now, so that I can

figure out all the form on that. It's a lot easier at that scale.

So then once I get that form figured out on the little one,

it'll make it a lot easier to carve the four times life size

reclining female. I don't think I do my work because of a

love of the human form or I an idealized version of the human

body that I'm interested in, but I'm really interested in

communicating an idea or a feeling to other people. This is

the part, this is like the craft of it to try to make the piece,

realize the idea. So this is where the skill comes in. In the

way I handle that surface. I am trying to convince someone that

there is flesh. There is skin muscle bone underneath that

surface. Oh, man, feels so good to be this close. We've got

about a week left of work. And then it goes off to the Foundry.

And then, uh, six months later, that should be in bronze and

ready to install. I've been trying to nail this kind of an

image for a long time. And, uh, I think I've got it. Everything

seems to be working. This is the biggest piece I've done so far.

I'm pretty, pretty happy with it. Real happy with it. The work

has been a transition from all my experiences on the farm. It's

evolving. The images are evolving, but they've all got

their roots back on the farm. And sometimes it's not obvious

at all. And only in hindsight makes me laugh. And I realized

the connection.

So David finish American beauty. Was it all that he had hoped it

to be? Well, of course it was. It's amazing. A couple from

Houston bought it, but as David explained to us recently, it

ended up somewhere else.

The plan was for them to put it in their backyard, in their

place in Houston, between their original plan and getting the

piece finished. They bought property on the beach in

Florida. It's right on the ocean. It's on the beach. So

she's there reclining on the beach in Florida.

Now David is known for some pretty unforgettable sculptures.

Maybe you notice that one twirling behind him. It's

actually based on a real skull. He grew up with

Most of what I do in art has this roots, literally in the

farm I grew up on. My grandfather bought the homestead

in the forties, 1940s. The skull was on the property when he

bought it. And so I grew up with it. It was there before I was


And so he turned it into a portrait.

There was a school that you grew up right here at the farm. Yeah,

that's pretty cool.

It's not all skulls though. A couple of years ago, David got a

call to create a different type of portrait of golf legend, Greg


Greg Norman, and his wife, uh, Kirsten have property up in

Colorado. And they liked my work that they saw at the gallery in

Kirsten wanted me to do a quarter, a bust of Greg. We did

a body cast of him to use as a visual reference. And they're

very happy with it. What is it

Putting a body cast on someone as famous as Greg Norman?

He is an extremely focused person. We told him, now you

need to hold still for this. He never moved a muscle. He was the

perfect model. It's, it's not a necessarily easy experience. Um,

some people get claustrophobic, it can kind of freak you out.

Some people are fine with it. Um, I know it's not going to be

hung over and do it. How do you know this? Cause I had a model

hung over and did it and passed out

That usually keeps his ideas in a filing cabinet. But the plan

for his next project, he found somewhere unexpected.

Okay, Robert, this is Anna Maria. This was a friend of

mine. She's modeled for a body cast back right around 1990.

Then I kind of lost track of it. I asked my wife, uh, Patty, do

you know what happened to that head? And she said, well, I

think I'd put it out in the front yard for a Halloween

decoration. I think someone stole it. So I, I just didn't

even think any more about it. But then at the ice, when the

ice storm hit, I, it, the foliage all got screwed up and

I saw something there I'm in the backyard and it was Anna Maria's

head. Now this is what happens to Hydrostone. After 20 years in

the weather, I'm going to do something with this. I'm not

sure what,

By the way, do you recognize the figure and this sculpture? Yep.

That's David himself. So he puts himself through the body cast

process too. And just so you know, he passed out. You can

keep up with David's work on his unforgettable Instagram feed at

David L. Phelps, or check out his website at Phelps sculpture


Next let's go to the movies. Now you may have noticed that the

Oklahoma movie industry is booming lately film industry

programs like the Oklahoma film and television Academy are

training hundreds of locals to be ready to work on film sets in

state in 2020, 39 feature films were shot locally, but as we're

about to see movie-making, Oklahoma is nothing new back in

2009, we documented dead center films. Movie-making bootcamp.

The instructor was actor Timothy fall, who had 20 years of

experience in Hollywood, where he worked with people like Clint

Eastwood, Dick van Dyke, And Bob Newhart,

Bob you dog,

Tim moved to Oklahoma city to keep acting and try something

new teach film to 14 and 15 year olds who had one week to write

shoot and edit a movie from scratch. Let's take a quick look

back at sunspots,

Never really had done any kind of, um, movies or anything. Me

and my friends would play around. Well, I have a camera at

home that I use a lot and I like to film my friends. And so my

mom thought it'd be fun to send me to the film camp like me and

my brother will do skateboarding videos. My dad will video tape

it. So I've had a little bit experience in front of a camera.

So w we're gonna make sure that your picture is big enough.

I'm really interested in movie making because I want to be a

movie director when I grow up,

Look at these guys. And you can look at, you can look at me.

I've become very interested in teaching now that I've moved

back to Oklahoma with my family from Los Angeles. And so this

was a great opportunity that was offered to me to develop, cut

very good, um, an entire curriculum, and to execute that

and to work with kids. I started out the first day, um, with a

bunch of blanks, I didn't come in. I'm thinking we're going to

make a movie about this. I'm going to impose something on

these kids so that they can movie. And they, of course

didn't come in with any material. They, uh, so we had,

uh, we had absolute, uh, uh, square one from which to start.

I wish I could always sing and dance because high school

musical is my favorite movie. I wish I

could always sleep in and not be late

And I wish I never had to do the dishes.

Okay. That's a great one. That's a great

Make my bed. And, uh, like clean up around my room. It's really


An exercise like this develops the technique of people focusing

on each other and working together. You don't like to be

nice because why it makes you feel happy?

That's fine. I don't like to nice to people either.

And this is the way you come up with stories. There's no other

way than to sit around and stare at the sky and eat your snacks

and talk to other people. And I encourage them just to tell

stories about what was going on in their life, professional

skateboarder and a musician. Okay.

It was like, I mean, I do all those things now. Like I'm a

musician or I'm in a band.

You tell me whatever you want to tell me. I wish I never had to.

I don't want to go outside for extended periods of time.

Cause the sun says mean things.


Is that you're not serious one. Yeah. Okay. I like that. But

see, he just, Jackson has just introduced to us a character

that like the character who doesn't want to do her chores or

a character who doesn't want to be nice to people in fact wants

to be mean to people.


In a short film for the writing side of it, we had to keep

talking about the, uh, the character ideas that they'd been

throwing out. Let's see. I like the guy who's walking outside

and he here's the sun, the sun is speaking to him or at least

he thinks the sun is speaking to him. We don't know what to do.

Okay. So this happens first. So then what happens next?

Just wants a skateboard. Yes.

And so if that person does this, what happens after that kid

looks at son

♫ "Blinded by the light" ♫

That could be our soundtrack.

Uh, then we're going to move a camera really close to see you

reading that. You're going to take the note off to read it.

Okay. Uh, then when you, it doesn't look like it's rolling.

And one of the first things I said to the kids when we started

was when we're into the production process, the middle

process, the actual filming part of this phase, there's going to

be, you're holding up at least one thing and probably a dozen

things that go wrong. If action, their job was to clean up the

trash. As we were filming them, they had a lot of fun with that,

picking up junk and throwing it in treads, tripping and spilling

and you're dropping stuff. That's great. Emily, you're

still rolling.

I didn't know that you had so many shots were just one scene.

That's good. And

Just, just move in, close on little actions of

The dune rooms, because we went from a lot of different angles

and I never needed it like that before.

Watch Hunter's broom moving along the floor, it turned into,

you know, it turned into a lot of fun for them. Cut. Cut that

camera. Hi.

When you're shooting, it's not really in order.

Just exactly like you did it before talking to her and

talking to her, just keep it.

I already knew that, but it's just hilarious. You you're like

going from this scene to this scene, to the scene, you got

angry. She's all right. And it doesn't make any sense, but I

know it will like once you put it all together, right? Hey,

like I've kind of thought about it. I'm just saying like, what

if I was an actor, what if I

Did all of this stuff? Like, like all the people I see on TV,

I was like, well, that doesn't look too hard. And I figured out

that it's not too easy. Ow. Got you pinched? Yeah.

I don't even know where to begin. It's been a lot of fun.

Uh, you're going to see the movie today. It's where it is.

It's in a sort of a state of coming together. And that was

great. Cause they were really happy with what they'd done and

they had done,

But they felt like wrap their heads around and, and show to

their parents. And family is something that they're proud of

accomplished. I want them to be impressed with how much work

we've done and with the kind of story that we made out of just

a few kids. I just want them to sit down and have fun and

enjoy it as much as when we had had fun making it. If there's

something that you really like and are passionate about, and

you know that at an early age, then just dive into it and be

good at it and spend all your time at it. That's what tennis

players do. That's what golfers do. This is what gymnast do. So

why shouldn't someone who wants to be an actor or someone who

wants to be a writer or somebody who wants to be a photographer,

a cinematographer. Why shouldn't they do the same thing? If you,

if you know that's who you are, that's what you want. You want

to be at age 16, then get going.

We call it movie sunspots. Can you take down the houselights?

Okay. Now

We're gonna reconnect with a couple of other participants

from sunspots. First, do you remember that 14 year old girl?

They said that she wanted to do nothing more than be a director

of films. That's what she ended up doing. That's Emily C. Gross.

And she recently told us how Tim's bootcamp helped change her


Watching the actual movie that we made, the short film as part

of that bootcamp was really awesome. One of the things I

really got out of that was that when you make a film with a

bunch of people, it's not just one person's vision, it's

everybody's vision coming together. And as a director,

your job isn't just to single handedly, have one vision it's

to bring other people's visions together.

Emily ended up moving to Austin where she studied film at the

university of Texas and wrote and directed many of her own

films, including the great Maggie Dupree.

The great Maggie did pre is a science fiction film about a

scientist who lives in an alternate universe who has

developed wormhole technology.

It works, it actually works,

But her superior is not very supportive of it.

There are only a 100,000 people left on this planet because of

stupid foolhardy people like


So the first semester I was at UT, I had like this science

Sci-Fi dream that kind of spurred some of those ideas. And

I started writing about the world and really fleshing out

what I wanted it to be like. I was super passionate about it.

It was, it was really fun, but also very stressful on set. We

had about 50 cast and crew members each day, having that

many people helping out was fantastic. There was a lot of

the effects, but the robot was real. What's this?

I remember like on set when I was directing it, seeing my idea

that had been in my head for like a few years come to

fruition. It was really cool.

And do you think a break is in order? No, we're almost

there. I know it. These days, Emily is based in Virginia, but

she fondly remembers her time creating sunspots in Oklahoma


It was really great to be able to have that experience in

Timothy Fall was a wonderful instructor. Um, and it really

inspired me to continue, uh, pursuing that into college.


Next we're going to reconnect with instructor Timothy fall.

Now, since then he's been teaching film students for 10

years. And one of the things he always champions is to prepare

for the unexpected. Well, when we showed up in 2009 to

documents on sunspots, Tim had no idea that what was his first

ever teaching gig was going to become a television show.

I don't know if the kids knew more about new and advanced.

Like if they had been told when they were signing up for the

class, that this is going to happen or not, but I literally

did not know until the morning. So it helped us to focus the up

as the concentrate. And we knew that at the end of the week, um,

this was going to be, you know, whether, whether we knew it at

the time or not, it was going to end up being tied up together as

a story. So, uh, in a way it's kind of comforting.

I ate this cockroach. It was gross. It tasted salty though.

I started with those students with a clean slate, zero and,

uh, started, uh, you know, just throwing prompts out at them and

asking them to, uh,

I wish I never had to. I don't want to go outside for extended

periods of time. Cause the sun says mean things to me.

I ended up working that way with students at OCU, uh, for years

and years. And we created lots of, uh, lots of films and scenes

angry and full weight fighter pilots and short films. And that

week is exactly when it, when that started for me,

You're looking out at the edge of the thing like this, like

you're trying to hide yourself and looking up, okay, bring it

down, bring the umbrella. That's really glad I taught these


For the last 10 years. I'll tell myself because I honestly am now

better at auditioning. If it hadn't been for like all the

you're down in the trenches, writing things really fast and

pulling things together for classes that I'm doing, where I

don't have months and months working with other writers and a

writing staff, it's like do this this week. So that on Friday we

have something to shoot in class. And then it's just like,

uh, I developed a lot of, um, developed a lot of skills from

my teaching experience that always benefit my, uh,

professional experiences that I'm still, you know, I'm still

having and seeking out all the time

Shot in a beer. Are you well-trained besides teaching

Tim keeps busy acting too. And he's really impressed with the

ongoing rise of Oklahoma's film industry.

I like, uh, being able to work as an actor. Oklahoma's not a

bad place for that. I never really been tempted to. I want

to move back to LA so I can get back into that again. It's just,

LA is a tough place to be. And I kind of did my time there and

I'm glad I did. Uh, when I first moved here and a movie was

filming for a few weeks, once in 2008 or 2009, and everyone was

like, Oh my gosh, you know, a movie has come here, but, uh,

what's, what's going on now is as long as the film making

industry that's growing in Oklahoma continues to push for

and support the, uh, incentives that Oklahoma offers production

producers to come to Oklahoma. I, I don't see any reason that

this is going to stop.

So if we checked in, in another decade, what would you hope to

be able to tell us that you've done at that point?

Uh, we can check in one more time at these regular ten-year

intervals. You know, I'd be happy to do that with you,

Robert, and we'll see, and we'll, we can trace it all back

to, uh, sunspots on OETA. I would be, I would completely own

up to that.

trying to get away from him. Who? The sun. okay. I'm going to

admit that sunspots movie really cracked me up and you can see

it in full right now by going to Gallery America Online's

Instagram channel at OETA gallery, or to see both original

episodes in full visit and click on the

gallery America post. Thank you so much for joining us till the

next time stay arty Oklahoma..


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