Brooklyn-based Mac Premo aptly self-identifies as an artist and a “stuff-maker.” Peering into his studio reveals that the latter is surely a description he lives up to on a daily basis. Premo recently invited Dutch filmmaker Bas Berkhout (now based in Brooklyn) into his studio and home to learn more about his work, life and inspiration. Berkhout—largely known for his Like Knows Like series—paints an intimate portrayal of Premo, deftly capturing the RISD graduate’s sensibility and journey as a professional artist.
Delicate is not the word to describe Premo—who counts his family, steak, skateboarding and the ’80s DC music scene as inspirations—or his work. There’s a DIY-punk-meets-rad-dad sensibility to the artist and his creations, himself a father and husband. Premo’s collages combine light, images and sound with illuminated lightbulbs shattering as part of the sculptures’ performance. “The best way to explain Mac is as a multidisciplinary craftsman who, despite the medium he is working in, makes original and genuine art,” Berkhout tells CH. “I seriously have never ever seen anyone putting so many different mediums, styles and forms into his work and make it a style on its own.”
The personal nature of Berkhout’s profile caught Premo by surprise. “In interview scenarios, I’m usually on the other side of the camera (the side Bas was on that day) so when I first saw this piece I was pretty taken aback with the level of intimacy the piece achieves,” Premo says. “He is very perceptive and he actually listens, a lost art these days. Bas doesn’t conduct an interview, he holds a conversation and he lets his genuine curiosity lead the way,” he continues.
Berkhout’s profile illustrates his continual ability to adapt his filmmaking style to his subjects while maintaining a firm and genuine interest in what drives artists to create. A strong believer in the power (and potency) of a good story, learn more about the life and times of Mac Premo in his one-man show “The Luckiest Arab in Belfast.”
Images courtesy of Mac Premo and Bas Berkhout