Stan Vanderbeek Biography

EAI Entry

Stan Vanderbeek was born of Danish and Dutch ancestery in 1927. He studied Art and Architecture at Cooper Union College in New York and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. It was at Black Mountain College, were he became obsessed with global communication and technology's potential to elevate and ennoble people. He began making his first film in 1955. In the 1960's he and his wife moved to an artists colony in upstate New York, called the Land, in Stoney Point. He did most of his work at home. At his home he built a Movie-Drome dome. Inside he surrounded the dome with projectors. He had people lay down on their backs to view collaged projections of slides, film loops, hand-drawn animation, collage animation, live-action footage, and video images.

On one of his video documentaries, he talks about his interest in collage, and the reason he created the dome. He called it, " An intense audio video workshop." He wanted it to be a spiritual focal center for his community, by creating multiple projector shows. His other interests were building machines for the use of film technology, and he discovered new techniques, and enjoyed rebuilding old machines. He later became involved with electronic color collage, with the use of graphic displys from computer programs, all done by a process called Computer Generation.

Stan Vanderbeek had a habit of working on at least six films at a time. One idea always triggered the next idea, and many times one part of a film would show up in a later film. Vanderbeek also produced theatrical and multimedia experiments. He worked with live animation techniques. He also worked with live shows and incorporated many chance coincidences of imagery.

Jonas Mekas commented, " Stan Vanderbeek is one of our few genuine film artists - a poet, a clown, a laughing man of the Bomb Age."

William Mortiz said, " His wit and romantic love of humanity shines out of his texts. "

One of Vanderbeek's students, Steve Estes, of the University of Maryland mentioned, " His enlightening soul filled with mirth and genuine enthusiasm for his art and his students. He was a gifted artist, he was also in touch with real people in the real world. Many former students of his, who have successful careers in the film and video fields owe their start to the experience gained by working on real projects that Stan brought to UMBC. "

--Azizi Kaiama, 2003

Stan Vanderbeek