King Cuts

'Each character is gentle and accurate, sober. Not sketches or cartoons, but likenesses that are disarming and funny.
Leavitt does scary very well.'
- Pepper Kaminoff

Great film directors get cut up. They take pains with the details, story, money and sacrifices to their vision. Their body succumbs to the pressure. So Mike Leavitt carved Tarantino, Kubrick, Scorsese and more physically consumed by their work. Hitchcock, Coppola and others are cut from blocks of wood like directors cut a take or reel. There's a risk of mistakes with every slice. Directors commit to a story at every cut. Leavitt unmasks wizards behind the camera like Spielberg and David Lynch to get a taste of their own medicine. 'King Cuts' are totems of satire and devotion to the 16 best storytellers ever.


A little context. Paintings were the big picture show for centuries. By the 1800's people thought photography might kill painting. In the 1900's modern art got off on cathartic expression. Then film crystallized individualism. French new wave in the mid 1900's was based on the idea of the auteur. A singular artistic vision is born deep inside an individual. It shouldn't be compromised by politics, economics or any popular sentiment.

It wasn't a battle won by technology. By stewarding the auteur's vision and the magic of storytelling, largely projected moving pictures beat visual art of any size. Art is still alive and well. It's alive on skate decks, snowboards, tattoos, designer toys and sprayed walls of paint in the street. Of all the places where art's alive and well it shines brightest on the silver screen.

Art and film treat my pain. They're magic. They trick me into remembering why this world is so damn beautiful. I assembled an Art Army to defend this beauty. An army defends the battle's front line. A class of king visionaries call shots from behind these ranks. They rule. They see the path. They decide what lives and dies. They edit. There's no longer a secret league behind an army defending art. Their story must be told even if it means relinquishing my own magic tricks. These are the 'King Cuts'.

Telling stories about storytellers. I've worked to remove my hand from my work for years. The trick is good enough that people don't believe a human makes my work, let alone one human. I can sand and paint away every last imperfection until I'm completely removed from the object; completely hidden behind the curtain. This gets me in trouble. I have to reveal my secrets just to convince people that I need to make a living. I have to show my work to prove my result. I have to leave some wood un-carved, knife marks un-sanded, paint un-blended. This is part of the lore. It serves the film director's story. Michelangelo carved stone to remove unnecessary parts. I'm cutting out my ability to hide myself as the storyteller. If smoothing away a chisel mark isn't integral to the story, leave it. If sanding out every saw cut isn't required, leave it. Smoke and mirrors aren't always necessary.