“The Secret Life Of Lance Letscher”
Portrait of the Artist
“The Secret Life Of Lance Letscher” is an intimate, psychological portrait of the collage artist and a deeply personal and psychological look at the man and his works. The story is told through memories of trauma and triumph and gives us a look into Letscher’s profound insights on creativity, the subconscious, work ethic and spirituality. We see his unwavering determination to stay in the moment — free of mind, thought and preconception. The documentary features detailed images of more than a hundred of his collages, sculptures and installations that we see here while at the same time we are lucky to be given intimate access into Letscher’s methodical techniques and brilliant mind.
This is an emotionally piercing study of the man who was a tortured artist. Sandra Adair directed the film with grace. The film follows Letscher as he takes on a new challenge – crafting a large mural made of metal along South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, one of the city’s most trafficked business districts. Letscher’s artwork is stunning and nearly impossible to contemplate at times. The film gets get up close and personal with Letscher so that the audience can understand the painstaking process that he goes through in order to create (“cutting an insane amount of extremely thin slices of paper which are then combined and layered over one another, creating a mosaic effect that still maintains a sense of coherence, despite the multitudes of colors and ideas which are seemingly competing with each other for attention”). We become very aware of
Letscher’s pain and it is dealt with minus the sentimentality or lazy aesthetic decisions which might’ve cheapened the message and lessened the overall impact. His troubled family life as a child is explored, which then moves into his own struggles as a father and husband.
We watch Letscher grow as a person and as an artist while he undertakes the construction of the mural from scrap metal. One of the best things you can say about any successful documentary is that people who are already familiar with the subject or person up for discussion will enjoy the piece just as much as the uninitiated.
I had not heard of Letscher’s art world contributions before seeing this documentary, and it’s a testament to Adair’s abilities as a storyteller that she was able to go deep into the humanistic root of her film.
Letscher’s life is rich in drama, love, and ambition, and it is inspiring to see someone process and work through their demons in order to create something like art. We watch Letscher grow as a person and stretch himself as an artist as he works and we feel love for the man and his works.