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New Film Tells Story of Crop Artist Stan Herd

Steve Kraske talks with Herd about his work, and visits with KU graduate and filmmaker Chris Ordal about his film "earthwork" that captures a portion of Herd's career. By Up to Date


Crop artist Stan Herd's work is best seen from above. Way above...like from a rooftop or a plane hundreds of feet in the air.

The Lawrence, Kansas-based artist has created masterpieces using fields as his canvas - with subjects ranging from trees to Absolut vodka bottles, from American folk heroes to Papa John's Pizza.

An independent feature film starring John Hawkes (Winter's Bone, American Gangster, HBO's Deadwood), tells the story of Stan and a crew of homeless individuals creating one of Stan's most ambitious works of crop art in New York City in 1994. The plot of land Herd created his masterpiece on was a vacant lot owned by Donald Trump. Herd transformed the city-strewn space into an organic work of art that paid homage to famed regionalist artist, Thomas Hart Benton.

The film has recently finished a more than year-long run of film festivals across the country, winning a staggering number of awards, including more than 20 Best Feature Film Awards, numerous Audience Awards, multiple awards for Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Debut Feature Film in addition to an Audience Award and Special Jury Prize from the esteemed SXSW Film Festival. The film was picked up for theatrical release by Shadow Distribution in 2010 and will be released across the United States in 2011.

Additional Information:

After establishing his career in oil and watercolor painting, Stan Herd returned to his agricultural roots in 1976 pioneering an art form called crop art. In addition to its simple yet powerful beauty, crop art also provides a platform for discussing the roles of art combined with agriculture and the demands on our natural resources.

Born in 1950 in the small farming community of Protection, Kansas, Herd cultivated his talent from childhood, eventually landing an art scholarship from Wichita State University in 1969. Along with the attention he's received for his crop art, the artist is recognized for his mural works located throughout the United States. Herd's earthwork projects have been created in locations in California, England, New York, Cuba, and Australia.

Read Herd's complete bio here.

Chris Ordal is a University of Kansas alum whose passion for all things movies has taken him through a great number of roles and responsibilities in filmmaking. Starting at the bottom, Ordal worked for free and did whatever job he could get on shorts and features shot around the Lawrence/Kansas City area. Seeing a need of creative work to shared with an audience, Ordal orchestrated a tour of student and local short films that played throughout the Midwest and raised money for the filmmakers who provided their work.

Read Ordal's complete bio here.

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