Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.
CONCEIVED AND DIRECTED BY
"Proceed and Be Bold" Review
Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. is an artist.
What? You've never heard of him.
No surprise, really.
Kennedy tossed aside his stable job at AT&T to become what he self-proclaims to be a "humble negro printer." You and I, however, would call him an internationally recognized printing press artist.
Kennedy chooses to live in extremely rural Alabama towns creating his printing press art, mostly chipboard posters that anyone can afford.
Kennedy wants it that way.
Kennedy's art works aren't timid works. They speak the truth boldly and with conviction. Sometimes featuring quotes from the likes of Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth among others, Kennedy's art works are politically, socially and culturally informed and charged.
"Proceed and Be Bold," directed by Laura Zinger, is the story of Kennedy's transformation from 9-to-5'er to working class artist through the eyes of Kennedy, his family, his friends and from colleagues around the country who've grown to admire Kennedy as much for who he is as for his art work.
What is essentially a biographical documentary becomes more, a look at American race, culture, money and the "American Dream."
Kennedy is the kind of artist whom it is impossible to not admire, and Zinger captures this beautifully without violating Kennedy's own stated sense of morality by deifying him. Kennedy is simply a man who chooses to live his truth, share his truth and, in turn, invite his many fans into worlds that we all too often choose to ignore.
Take, for example, a gallery show Kennedy created called "Children Don't Count," a deeply moving and thought provoking exhibit in which Kennedy spread cards on the floor with the names of murdered children in Chicago and how they died. Kennedy arranged these cards in such a way that it was impossible to enter the exhibit without walking OVER them.
Indeed, children don't count.
Zinger marvelously captures the humility and creativity of this man...an artist, a mentor and a man who turned his back on the corporate world to live out his artistic visions.
"Proceed and Be Bold" is the first independently produced feature documentary from Zinger, and it's an entertaining and informative first effort. For more information on "Proceed and Be Bold," visit the film's website through Brown Finch Films, a Chicago-based filmmaking cooperative.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic