Beautiful Losers (film)

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Beautiful Losers
BL poster.jpg
Release Poster
Directed byAaron Rose
Joshua Leonard
Produced byJon Barlow
Rich Lim
Noah Khoshbin
Chris Green
StarringThomas Campbell
Cheryl Dunn
Shepard Fairey
Jo Jackson
Chris Johanson
Margaret Kilgallen
Harmony Korine
Geoff McFetridge
Barry McGee
Mike Mills
Stephen Powers II
Claire E. Rojas
Aaron Rose
Deanna Templeton
Ed Templeton
Music byMoney Mark
CinematographyTobin Yelland
Edited byLenny Mesina
Release date
  • March 1, 2008 (2008-03-01) (SXSW)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States

Beautiful Losers is a 2008 documentary filmed by director Aaron Rose and co-directed by Joshua Leonard. It was produced by Sidetrack Films in association with BlackLake Productions, and stars several artists including Harmony Korine, writer of independent cult films Kids and Gummo[1] and former graffiti artist Stephen Powers II

It premiered at South by Southwest on March 9, 2008[2][3] and later in general release on August 8, 2008 at the IFC Center in New York City.

Subject matter[edit]

The film focuses on the careers and work of a collective group of artists who since the 1990s began a movement in the art world using D.I.Y. aesthetics from skateboarding, graffiti and underground music such as punk rock and hip-hop.[4] The artists discussed and interviewed in the film include Thomas Campbell, Cheryl Dunn, Shepard Fairey, Harmony Korine, Geoff McFetridge, Clare Rojas, Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Steven "Espo" Powers, Aaron Rose, Ed Templeton, Deanna Templeton, and Mark Gonzales.

A series of interviews with these artists explains their reasoning behind their "do-it-yourself" style of street art. As some of these artists discuss their growth in popular artistic culture they explain how becoming renowned and admired in the art world was something that never occurred to them from their various roots in street culture, or simply creating art for themselves. As many of the artists began to be recognizable and sought after they discuss their series of commercial success: creating advertisements for popular products, designing products themselves, working in film and being hired to paint and create artwork in well known locations. The personal feelings and convictions of some of the artists and how creating work for corporations compares to their beginnings in street culture is also discussed. The film portrays the artists as outside the realm of contemporary art.

Cover of Beautiful Losers art book

Art book[edit]

The film was preceded by a published art collection titled Beautiful Losers.(ISBN 1933045302) The book was co-published by Iconoclast Editions and Distributed Art Publishers, and edited by co-curators Christian Strike and Aaron Rose, who directed the film.[5]

Traveling museum exhibition[edit]

The publication of the book was to complement and commemorate the traveling museum exhibition, which itself was one of the settings and subjects for the film. The exhibit is a large scale group exhibition featuring the artists from the film as well as others, and which continues to tour around the world.[6] Opening in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Contemporary Arts Center in March 2004, the exhibition was in Europe through 2009. The exhibition was conceived and produced by Iconoclast, where founders Christian Strike and Aaron Rose also acted as co-curators of the exhibition, and as the editors and publishers of the book.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2008-10-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Beautiful Losers World Premiere At SXSW". Sidetrack Films. 2008-02-20. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  3. ^ "Beautiful Losers". South by Southwest Festivals. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  4. ^ "SIDETRACK FILMS / Beautiful Losers". Archived from the original on 26 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  5. ^ Wells, Meg (2008-03-14). "Who is Aaron Rose". Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  6. ^ Valdez, Sarah (January 2005). "Thrashers and taggers: "Beautiful Losers," a traveling exhibition that includes established, emerging and accidental artists, examines an esthetic sensibility inspired by various subcultures, from skateboarding to hip-hop". Art in America. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-04-01.

External links[edit]