Spyder Yardley-Jones in a Nutshell

This is an oldie, but it’s silly to not have it up here.

I graduated from the Design and Motion Image program at MacEwan University in 2013. The final project was to make a documentary. Because my class only had five people in it, (incidentally the last year the program existed,) we weren’t divided into groups. This meant we each pretty much had to make a documentary ourselves, wearing every hat in the production tickle trunk. It was very educational, but also quite stressful.

I had all year to plan it, but the more planning I did, the more work I’d have to do between all my other classwork and jobs and responsibilities. I knew that in order to make the best documentary possible, I would need to come up with something that basically made itself. As the year wore on, and the due date loomed, and nothing was striking me, I decided to just point a camera at the most interesting person I could get my hands on and hope that a story emerged. Thankfully, my first choice was down for it, and way exceeded my expectations.

Spyder Yardley-Jones is an Edmonton-based artist known for his controversial works. He’s easy to recognize; tattoos all over, a car covered in comic-like art, shaved head, biker beard, broad, confident stance, glasses, muscles, suspenders, and hardly a sleeve to a shirt. His art is similarly recognizable; cartoonish but relatable, colourful but cutting, and subject matter that shoots straight to the issues and doesn’t give a fuck about anybody stupid enough to stand in the crossfire. We met when I was a kid, he was an instructor at my summer camp. I should mention the man is an absolute teddy bear.

I went to his house, set the camera and mic and everything, and told him to basically just be himself and talk about himself. We spoke, I if I recall, for around three hours with the camera running, and a bit more when it wasn’t. By the end I was able to put together this really nice little retrospective of his life and work. And here it is:

That it is the product of a one-man production team still learning the craft without any time to spare is a bit evident in the sloppiness of some of the visuals, but I’m still quite proud of how it came together.

During production I had him come to the school to shoot some b-roll. Just something simple, a few shots of him working on his latest piece. He was super cooperative for all of it. While he was there, he told me about the time they expelled him. What a character.

He’s told me that he’s included this movie with some grant applications, so I’m glad he got something out of it.