Forty years in the making, ‘The Painter Sam Francis’ is artist Jeffrey Perkins’ lyrical and intimate portrait of a friend, mentor, and leading light of American abstract art. The film retraces Francis’ life and career from his childhood in California to his artistic maturation in post-war Paris, his time spent in Japan, and his return to the United States. Hinging on an interview that Perkins conducted with Francis in 1973, as well as extended scenes of the artist at work in the studio, the film provides deep insight into a man for whom creativity was a powerful life-sustaining force. Interviews with friends, family, and fellow artists - including Ed Ruscha, James Turrell, Bruce Conner, Alfred Leslie, and others - illuminate a mysterious and complex personality, and its reflection in a body of work that is simultaneously diverse and singular. For Francis, art was a path to transcendence; for Perkins, Francis was art. ‘The Painter Sam Francis’ is a labor of love, a moving portrait of a man, and a tribute to the power of art.
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