Paul Clipson

The artist who collaborated with Liz Harris, Sarah Davachi, Jefre-Cantu Ledesma, and others died suddenly aged 53.

Paul Clipson was a San Francisco-based filmmaker and experimental film artist whose work involves projected installation and live collaborative performances with sound artists and musicians. His largely improvised, in-camera-edited films bring to light subconscious preoccupations and unexpected visual forms. His works have been exhibited and performed both nationally and internationally at such festivals as the New York Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Clipson works exclusively in film, which imbues his images of nature, urban structures and streets and the human figure with raw immediacy. His layering of images, which shift in speed, perspective and content, though always adhering to a montagelike logic, collapses the limitations of time and space. The movement of images without an overlay of narrative reflect on the nature of film itself. “It is self-referential,” Clipson acknowledged.

It’s a kind of road trip of the soul – a compendium of meditations, travel and memory that induces a dreamlike state.

“There was never that interplay to make anyone’s music fit the film, and that’s how I’ve worked ever since,” he said. “How the music and images mix together is kind of exciting. There are a lot of internal rhythms in the images. It’s like osmosis. I’m intuiting the method and process of what the musicians do, creating an architecture of imagery that in turn has a percussive and propulsive property.”

A lot of the editing happens when he shoots. “I film as if I’m performing, almost like a musician. I’m more interested in the latent potential meaning, rather than a specific idea. I like that ambiguity: Just as the music doesn’t specify, rather it creates an environment you respond emotionally to.”

Spontaneity is built into his process. “I like a poetic rhyming with a sense of chance, like a skipping stone that changes the trajectory but continues the thread.” He’ll shift from black-and-white to color and back again, and a lot of the expressiveness “has to do with subtleties of movement.”

Paul was an incredibly bright light and source of truly boundless energy, his generous heart and vivid talents touched the lives of countless people. It is impossible to quantify the depth of this connection.