“Urban Isolation:” a 6-Year-Old Skate Film for Today

This hauntingly quiet short film has been all over social media lately, often misleadingly described as “shot in LA during the stay at home order.”

It wasn’t. “Urban Isolation” was shot and edited in 2014 by Russel Houghten. The skateboarding filmmaker created it specifically for an 11-piece video project sponsored by RED and The Berrics. RED makes exceptional professional video cameras and The Berrics is a collaboration by professional skateboarders Steve Berra and Eric Koston dedicated to promoting the sport through web content and their indoor skatepark.

Six years ago, Houghten’s film earned a Vimeo Staff Pick and eventually became one of Vimeo’s ten best films of 2014. Yet its visuals of a lone skateboarder working highway, ramps, and urban architecture of daytime Los Angeles void of other people make it feel incredibly au courant. This is the same kind of eerie prescience found in Bill Gate’s 2015 TED talk on pandemics. But Houghten created his visuals through extensive post effects, not a government shutdown order. You can see a bit of his process in this behind the scenes video, also documented by RED.

I can’t explain why online trolls put such energy into knowingly misrepresenting things online. But in this case, at least it helped promote an interesting creative project. I hope you enjoy the piece.

Just When You’ve Written Off Balloon Sculpture…

No one really expects to be wowed by balloon sculpture, that hackneyed, low-brow artform of a thousand lousy birthday parties. After you pass the age of six, there’s not a lot of fascination left from watching some clown pull skinny latex tubes from his fanny pack and whip it into a poodle/silly hat/mom-safe pirate sword. It’s a tired genre.

And then you see something like this…

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

This is “Spinosaurus” by Larry Moss and as you can see, it is awesome.

Apparently, Larry never got the message that balloon sculpture was tired and silly. No, to Larry, an ex-New York street artist, colored latex balloons are a medium to push to new and amazing places. To Larry, folding air is an artform he calls “Airigami” and as he explains in this charming TED video, a way to bring together communities.

To the rest of us, Larry Moss and his pursuits are a reminder that everyday, every mundanity is another opportunity to create surprise and delight.

God love Larry Moss. May his life be long and free of destructive pricks.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson