Alumni Story: EIFF opening-night film features ex-Edmonton painter Tim Okamura

Alumni Profile: Tim Okamura

EIFF opening-night film features ex-Edmonton painter

Edmonton-born Tim Okamura is a Brooklyn painter who’s been down to his last $35. “Dismal low points,” he labels these depths.

That’s not the first thing an artist trying to hawk large-scale paintings in New York City would typically admit — scent of desperation and all. But the strength of a new film featuring Okamura’s life over nearly five years is built entirely on such honesty and vulnerable revelations.

The New York art world is competitive, ruthless and fickle. But you can’t win unless you play the game, as we see first-hand in Jeff Martini’s new feature, Heavyweightpaint, which follows the day-to-day lives of Okamura and his three artist friends, Joseph Adolphe, Taha Clayton and Jerome Lagarrigue — struggling, including with each other, to make it in New York City’s gallery scene.

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