March 25th, 2015

Art Basel Miami 2014 saw the exploration of fashion, film and painting in “i feel ya,” an installation featuring work from artists André 3000 Benjamin of Outkast, director Greg Brunkalla of Skunk and painter Jimmy O’Neal.

As part of the exhibition, Brunkalla collaborated with The Mill to create 'Trumpets', a triptych, black and white film graded by The Mill in Los Angeles’ Nick Sanders.

Commissioned by Brunkalla and O’Neal’s alma mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Trumpets surrounded visitors with echoic audio and projected portraits on three screens. The tie-in is André's jumpsuits - the same ones from Outkast's 20th anniversary reunion tour - worn by the photographed subjects and on display throughout the installation.

Brunkalla spoke to us about his experience working with André, the journey of Trumpets and how it all fit into “i feel ya.”

Screen Shot 2015 03 24 At 6.53.13 Pm

Working with André 3000

“I believe André is one of the most inspiring and creatively supportive people I've worked with,” he told us. “We talked several times on the phone before I got to work on a concept. He was clear that this piece would be a film coming from me that uses his jumpsuit project as a jumping-off point. I wanted to make a film that complemented the jumpsuits in the gallery space and, if anything, enhanced the concept and experience. We worked very closely throughout the entire process – he was even on set during the shoot!”

When it came to the color grade for Trumpets, Brunkalla wanted to create a “slightly surreal look that pulled you into the eyes and faces of the different people on screen.” He achieved this with the help of Sanders, a colorist in The Mill’s Los Angeles studio.

Sanders recalls, "It was a no-brainer when Greg, with whom I'd previously worked on a documentary, asked me to grade the project. While the footage itself is fairly simple - locked-off portraits in black and white - there was still the challenge of achieving a consistent level of grey between the images, knowing that any three could be displayed together at any time in the exhibit's triptych format. The end result is a cool, strange and random combination of faces and words that lends itself well to a large gallery installation.”

“We isolated each subject’s face and gave them an almost ghostly look,” Brunkalla adds. “I think it comes across as quite striking when they’re staring back at you in the gallery.”

What's Next?

With the success of his partnership with André and the “i feel ya” film under his belt, Brunkalla is inspired to explore new forms of work in 2015. “I want to try two different directions: tell more stories and make work that is purely visual.”

Brunkalla graduated from SCAD in 2001 with a BFA in Film and Video. He remains in close touch with the university and plans to work with them on future projects.

Watch the film below and learn more about Brunkalla on his website.