Film Review: John Van Hamersveld CRAZY WORLD AIN’T IT
Created by Dave Tourjé and Christopher Sibley, "Crazy World Ain't It" is a short documentary that celebrates the life of John Van Hamersveld’s seminal art career, viewed through the eyes of many artists and innovators he has influenced. Van Hamersveld, an American artist who designed artwork, posters, and album covers of The Beatles, Blondie, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, has been an inspiration to many artists over the years, and finally, his legacy is showcased in a film that appeals to people who grew up in the 60s and 70s, and to any artist, adult and young.
Van Hamersveld is described as a living legend ("His work is like frozen in a little time period - you could always go back to it and it still hits"). The interviewees are respected artists, educators, journalists, and innovators, who appreciate his creativity and unique approach to art, being involved with so many different sub-cultures. Some of them testify that as children, they collected many records of the leading bands designed by Van Hamersveld.
In terms of structure, the film is divided into two: the first part introduces the artists who tell about John's legacy, and the second part introduces John himself, telling in first person about past experiences and the inspiration he himself received as a surfer and art student.
The decision to split the film this way turns out to be the right approach, in that it helps the viewer first get to know John and his works through the eyes of other artists, then finally see John's worldview through his own perspective.
Finally, John talks about the differences between traditional and modern art, wondering how an art student today, in the digital world, can maintain uniqueness and creativity ("they have to work hard"), and concludes with a sentence he created in one of the most famous designs of the hippie era - "Crazy world ain't it – that's the world we live in."
This is a beautiful piece about an artist, presenting artists, created by artists, for artists.