In Search of Channing Peake
Channing Peake made a significant mark in his own time, but his renown has faded in the years since. As time goes by, ever more details of his life and achievements are lost and his place in the history of 20th century American art becomes more tenuous. It is against this background of fading memories and scattered, often unrecorded works of art that Paul Bockhorst and the filmmaking team will reconstruct the artistic journey of Channing Peake. Their purpose is to create a documentary that will bring Peake alive for contemporary viewers and preserve and illuminate his unique legacy.
To that end, the production team will seek out and interview people with firsthand knowledge of Channing Peake—artists, family members, historians, and other wit-nesses to Peake’s wide-ranging artistic endeavors and his activities as a rancher and leader of the art community in Santa Barbara County.
Channing Peake: Discovering an American Master will trace the artist’s journey across six decades. The one-hour production will inquire into his evolving ideas about art, from his early grounding in representational drawing and painting to a loosening and abstracting of form in response to Picasso and other modernists, from his adoption of an animated style of drawing inspired by Rico Lebrun to his biomorphic depictions of farm implements during his time at the Rancho Jabali, and from his abstract, flattened “jazz paintings” to his non-objective color field works, which explore deep structure and the nature of color and light. At the same time, the docu-mentary will look at a number of people who played important roles in Peake’s life, individuals who affected both his artistic direction and personal development.
The finished production will include over two hundred of Peake’s finest paintings, drawings, and mixed-media works, along with a wealth of historical photographs. It will also feature location photography at places that were important in Peake’s life. Voice-over narration and an original musical score will complete the production.
Budget and Fiscal Partner
Channing Peake: Discovering an American Master is being organized by Paul Bockhorst Productions in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Cultural Development Foundation (SBCDF), which will serve as the fiscal partner and funding agent. The production budget is $150,000. Project underwriting is being sought from founda-tions, businesses, and individuals. All contributions go to SBCDF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and are fully tax-deductible. Gifts may be split over a two-year period, if desired.
Educational Use & Television Broadcast
Channing Peake: Discovering an American Master is intended for public television broadcast, as well as long-term educational use in museums, college and university art departments, libraries, and other cultural institutions. Portions of the documentary will also be made available to a world audience through Vimeo and YouTube. This will complement the previously released A Time and A Place: The Artistic Encounter Between Channing Peake & Elaine Badgley Arnoux, 1956-1962, a short documentary that highlighted an important chapter in Peake’s life. The video was associated with an exhibit of the same name at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.
Another example of a short video designed by Paul Bockhorst Productions for Inter-net dissemination is a 16-minute mini-documentary entitled An American Master-piece: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley. It can be seen on YouTube.
Paul Bockhorst Productions
Paul Bockhorst has produced many public television documentaries on subjects re-lated to art and architecture. They include Pursuing Beauty: The Architecture of Ber-nard Maybeck; Designing with Nature: Arts & Crafts Architecture in Northern Cali-fornia; Beautiful Simplicity: Arts & Crafts Architecture in Southern California; Greene & Greene: The Art of Architecture; Impressions of California: Early Currents in Art, 1850-1930; and Visions of California: The Story of California Scene Painting, 1925-1950. These projects have received grants from such foundations as The Windgate Charitable Trust, The Ahmanson Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Fleishhacker Foundation, and the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, as well as from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Documentaries produced by Paul Bockhorst Productions are used widely as educa-tional resources in museums, colleges and universities, libraries, and other cultural institutions. They have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In California, they have been used at the Berkeley Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Huntington Library and Art Collections, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Laguna Art Museum, and the San Diego History Center, among others.