New Documentary Film Series Focuses on Cleveland Artisans

Series launched earlier this month

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click to enlarge Cleveland Print Co. - Courtesy of Clockwork 9
Courtesy of Clockwork 9
Cleveland Print Co.
About two years ago, Andrew Spirk, the managing director of Clockwork 9, a creative agency that specializes in animation, video production and graphic design, began putting together Artisans of the Land, a documentary film series that would focus on Cleveland artists who do everything from cut hair to frame artwork.

The series recently debuted with a short film about Black Cat Barbershop, a Detroit Shoreway barbershop.

“Those [Black Cat] guys are so passionate about their lives, and it seems so criminal that they have this skill and don’t get recognition for it,” says Spirk in a recent phone call. Episodes about Arko Picture Framing and Cleveland Print Co. have just come out, and three more episodes will be released in the next three weeks. "They’re entrepreneurs like I am and deal with the same kind of issues. They have the same attention to detail and passion for what they do. I doubt most people think about how they cut hair. That’s when it hit me that it would be cool to do documentaries about these entrepreneurs who have true crafts.”

The well-crafted films feature interviews with the subjects and capture the unique spaces where the locals work too.

“Your workspace is a reflection of who you are,” says Spirk. “Black Cat Barbershop is a pure reflection of what Pat and Ryan [Hardwick] and the other barbers want. The workspace reflects their lives and their passions and what they’re into. It’s the same with [framer] Joe [Arko].”

A season 2 is already in the works, and Spirk says it’ll reflect more diversity than season 1.

He also hopes the series will take root in other Rustbelt cities.

“We feel many of those Rustbelt cities are under-appreciated — places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Toledo,” he says. “If you live on either coast, you don’t think about Ohio. I see that all the time. But if you live here, you see what Cleveland is all about, and it’s such a special place. You don’t get that with a more zoomed-out version of the city. We want to give people a more intimate look at the city, so they can see what we see. Pat [Corrigan] puts it perfectly. He calls Cleveland a boutique city. He mentions that in the documentary, and it’s exactly right. It’s got everything. You just have to look a little bit harder.”

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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