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.
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
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
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
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
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?
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 oeta.tv/blogs and click on the
gallery America post. Thank you so much for joining us till the
next time stay arty Oklahoma..