I make documentaries about subjects that have touched me or had an effect not just on my life but on lives of viewers who will view my productions. Being an artist has been a huge part of my life. It seemed only natural to make a documentary about art and the life of an artist. My first documentary, The Artist-A Documentary, was filmed in the thriving art community in Dayton, Ohio, It explores the life of an artist through conversations with people passionate about what it means to be an artist, the challenges they face in this digital age and the importance of the support of the art community.

The Artist – A Documentary

To purchase or rent watch the trailer below:

From the Director of The Artist – A Documentary, Peter Tompkins

As an author, photographer and songwriter I have enjoyed many aspects of the creative process. Even though my work has received some notoriety, one common theme keeps recurring in my world, a lack of serious financial gain from my creations. This leads me to ask,

“Are other artists having the same experience or are they just raking in the cash?”

Prior to covid19, my summers were spent traveling to different art fairs where I would display and sell prints of my photography. Much of my time at these events is spent haggling with potential buyers of my work while standing inside a boiling hot pop-up tent.  As one person after the other attempts to talk my prices down, it feels like I have been transported  to a  street market in Mumbai.

“Sir, I can not give you $250 for your print of the skyline of Cleveland. Would you take two goats and a sack of rice.”


This leads me to ask an additional questions:

Does the general public know what it’s really like to be an artist?

Do they have any idea how much time and money each of us spend on our craft, regardless of the medium we work in?

Do these people haggle with their plumber or their dentist?

Is the general public’s perception of being an artist based off of a  preconceived idea fed to them by Hollywood?

Do they have an understanding of the time, money and materials that go into a any given piece of work?
 

It seems that  our culture does not perceive that being an artist is a legitimate career path.  It’s even more apparent when they cut art programs from local schools when a tax levy does not pass.  It appears that In the general public’s mind that art is just a frivolous thing that should be free to the world to have, hold and possess but why?

How did we get here?

What is it like being an artist?

I will attempt to answer these and many other questions within the context of my film, The Artist – A Documentary llc