Jordan Belson Biography


Jordan Belson is an abstract artist who has greatly influenced film history with his unique works and great talent. Belson was born in 1926 and he is still alive today. Belson is not only a filmmaker but he is also an abstract artist. He studied fine arts at UC-Berkley and he obtained his BA in 1947. Belson first started off as an abstract expressionist painter and later found his interest for film. He first found his interest for film after seeing the works of Oskar Fischinger and James Whitney in 1946 at the Art in Cinema Festival held in San Francisco. This experience at the Festival inspired Belson to begin making films. He soon created his first film Transmutation by using cut outs and animation. This film was shown at the second Art in Cinema Festival in 1947. Fischinger was so impressed with Belson's work that he recommended him for the Guggenheim Fellowship. Belson soon traveled to New York and began studying at the Guggenheim. There is where he learned a technique known as "color-morphing" from Thomas Wilfred. Wilfred's art opened Belson up to new ideas and techniques. He learned to concentrate less on geometric effects and more on the effect of blending colors. When Belson returned home to San Francisco, he began to use and work with the new techniques and ideas that he had acquired while in New York. He worked on many films and was also commissioned by Henry Jacobs and James Whitney to work on a piece that was going to be presented at the Morrison Planetarium. The piece combined music with visual effects that were projected onto the dome of the planetarium. It was so popular that these concerts were featured in 1958 at the Brussels World Fair.

From 1966-1968, Belson focused on himself and his inner consciousness through the practice of yoga. He began researching Indian philosophy and became devoted to the religion of Buddhism. These factors greatly influenced the work that he created. Belson's beliefs and thoughts are shown in his work. During this time Belson worked on the first clip of the film Samadhi. He also created other similar films around this time. Some of these films are Re-Entry(1964), Phenomena(1965), World(1970), Chakra(1972) and Light(1973). These films all contain a sense of spirituality and mystical experiences. All of his films came from visionary experiences he had during meditation and other spiritual exercises. In 1978 Belson choose to withdraw his works due to problems with distributors and financing. The last film, and also the longest, is entitled Mysterious Journey(1997). Throughout Belson's career, he has made 33 short films, one 22-minute program and one 30-minute program on video. In recent years Belson has concentrated on his continuos love of drawing and painting. Fans often forget about these works, yet Belson believes that his paintings and drawings go deeper and further into life experience and will achieve what filmmaking will never be able to achieve. Whatever form Belson's work is in, film or drawings, it will continue to touch and fascinate people. Belson is definitely a talented and gifted man who's works will never be forgotten.

--Erica Ferry

Jordan Belson