Saturday, September 15, 2012


This weekend, Art+Practice visited with Iron Necklace: an Ohio based Sioux drumming and singing group performing at a Pow-Wow, in Mohican, Ohio. As celebrations of Native American culture and heritage, Pow-Wows are a place of meeting, where new friendships are made and old ones renewed. The events include singing, dancing, and various rituals. The Necklace family will be contributing traditional music to Art+Practice’s first feature AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Upcoming Episode

On location for an upcoming episode of "The Amerikans," interns Leah Wood and Erin Amlicke, along with assistant director Jackson Bierfeldt, sit with Art+Practice director of photography Micha Hilliard. Hilliard is a graduate of Oberlin College ('11) who has spent the last year shooting videos for non-profits in Palestine, Jordon, India, Nepal, Rwanda, and Mongolia. His work can be seen at and was recently featured on the website DSLR Newsshooter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Location

This month Art+Practice shot on location in California. Pictured below: actress Kaori Mitsushima and production assistant Devin Myers spend time on a windy beach near Davenport, waiting for the fog to roll in. 
Art+Practice would like to thank Tae and Byong Kim, pictured below, for helping with the costume featured in the last scene of AMERIKA, which takes place on a beach. The Kims run "41st Avenue Alterations," a family owned business located in Santa Cruz. We would also like to thank Eric and Marie Johnson for providing housing for us during this shoot.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Human Paint Brush

Join us Friday, at 8 PM, at Summit Artspace in Akron, Ohio, as Akron Film + Pixel and Art+Practice present the World Premiere of "Human Paint Brush": a short film about Don Matis, an artist who paints with his beard. "Human Paint Brush" is episode 10 of The Amerikans, a series of relationship-based documentaries created in close cooperation with their subjects. Previously released episodes of The Amerikans will also be shown. Conversations with filmmakers & Don Matis during the event will take place alongside an exhibition of Don's paintings. Refreshments available.  
Click here to read the press release

Oberlin College Taiko

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This week composer Ryan Lester, a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music (’11), collaborated with eight members of Oberlin College Taiko on music for Art+Practice’s first feature film, AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts. Conducted by Matthew Chamberlain (’13), the Taiko music is part of a 90-minute score which mixes Eastern and Western influences and will continue to be recorded with students from Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music in the fall and spring of 2012-13. Ryan Lester is an internationally performed composer. His music is broadcast daily all over the world on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, for which he composed the currently used celebrity walk-on music. Oberlin College Taiko aims to share an appreciation and understanding of the traditional art form of Japanese Taiko drumming. The group includes Galen Rogers ('12), John Paddock ('12), Amelea Kim ('12), Chloe Dalby ('12), Nattie Chan ('12), Adam Weinger ('13), Nick Loh ('14) and Yue Qiu ('14).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweat Lodge

On Saturday, April 21, I attended a traditional Sioux sweat lodge in Peebles, Ohio, hosted by Parnell Necklace, whose Native singing and drumming group “Iron Necklace” will help score AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts, Art+Practice’s first feature film.

The “sweat,” as it is called, is a ritual of purification that strengthens participants for what lies ahead; it also heals the past and promotes visions. Outside the lodge was a stone altar, pictured above, which is traditionally a buffalo skull placed about three paces from the entrance and three paces from the fire. The lodge itself was constructed of branches, bent over and lashed to form a low-domed framework, approximately four- to five-feet high at the center and covered entirely in blankets.

At around 4:30 PM we stripped outside and entered the lodge, saying “Mitakuye oyasin" at the entrance, which roughly means, "To all my relations." Within, around 20 of us formed a complete circle, sitting comfortably upright against the wall of the lodge. Dry sage was scattered on the floor and passed around to everyone. Large glowing rocks, which had been baking since noon in a nearby fire, were then brought in. As the door was shut, and we adjusted to total darkness, large amounts of water were poured on the rocks to create steam. After much drumming, singing and sweating, the door was opened at intervals to refresh the lodge for a several minutes. At one of these intervals, we passed around and smoked two sacred pipes, both filled with tobacco; during another, everyone in the circle got a chance to pray out loud for guidance and thanks. Everything that was impure was left in the sweat lodge.

After completing the sweat, we gathered inside and enjoyed a feast.

Posted by Mika Johnson

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fairchild Chapel Shoot

On Saturday, April 7th, Art+Practice completed Episode #10 of The Amerikans at Fairchild Chapel, in Oberlin, Ohio, with the help of 19 students who sang Ubi caritas from Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriens by Maurice Duruflé. The collaboration was made possible thanks to Lydia Lane Stout (OC ’12), the choir's director. Other students involved include Eli Stine (sound designer) and production assistants Erin Amlicke, Ben Tobin and Gabe Freed. Episode #10, titled Human Paint Brush, features Don Matis, an artist from Hudson, Ohio, who makes paintings with his beard. The episode will premier on May 17th at Summit Artspace in Akron, Ohio.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Visit with Parnell Necklace

Jeffrey Pence & Parnell Necklace
On Sunday, March 25th, Art+Practice met with Parnell Necklace (Wanapin Gagà Hoksina) of the Ihanktonwan Nakota (Yankton Sioux). Parnell is a drum maker and the founder of Iron Necklace: a group of musicians and artists who tour the US, entertaining audiences and educating people about traditional Nakota culture. Art+Practice has asked Iron Necklace to drum and sing on an audio track for AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts, which is being scored by Ryan Lester. Parnell grew up in Yankton, South Dakota. He now lives in Peebles, Ohio.

The Four Horsemen

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On Sunday, March 18th, Art+Practice completed test footage for its first feature film, AMERIKA: a notebook in three parts. The production brought together the Art+Practice crew, four students from Oberlin College, and cast members from the surrounding communities of Wakeman, Vermillion, and Medina, Ohio. We would especially like to thank Bob Davis (Ranger and Park Manager) and Aaron Harple (Park Service Tech) for making this shoot possible. We would also like to thank Edison Woods Metropark, in Berlin Heights, Ohio, for generously allowing us to shoot in the park. Photos by Jennifer Ray and Grace Lu.