Patrick O'Neill (born 1939 in Los Angeles, California) is an American independent experimental filmmaker and artist who has also worked in the special effects industry. Although his work embraces an extremely wide technical and aesthetic scope, he is perhaps best known for his startling, surrealistic, and humorous film compositions achieved through a mastery of the optical printer. His films and other artworks often reveal a complex and mysterious interest in the connections and clashes between the natural world and human civilization. O'Neill has also produced a prodigious body of work in drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, and many other media.His early 16mm films include Runs Good (1970), Easyout (1971), and Down Wind (1973). His later 35mm films include Water and Power (1989), Trouble in the Image (1996), and The Decay of Fiction (2002). On December 30, 2008, Water and Power was added to the National Film Registry.Prints of O'Neill's films are held in numerous archives and museums around the world; his complete collection resides at the Academy Film Archive, where several of his short works—including By the Sea, Bump City, and 7362—have been preserved. Two of O'Neill's longer films have also been preserved by the Academy in collaboration with O'Neill: Water and Power, in 2009, and Trouble in the Image, in 2016.He has also taught at the California Institute of the Arts. He influenced a generation of CalArts students, who include Adam Beckett, Robert Blalack, Chris Casady, and Larry Cuba, who all later went on to work on the special effects of the original Star Wars.
Movies & TV shows
Where the Chocolate Mountains
A tour de force of digital art, Where the Chocolate Mountains (2015, 55 min.) is a major new opus from Pat O’Neill, one of the all-time guiding lights of the Los Angeles avant-garde, whose pioneering ...
Starting to Go Bad
2009 --- Digital Video --- 30 minutes --- Color --- Sound Sound Mix: George Lockwood
I Put Out My Hands
2009 --- Digital Video --- 10 minutes --- Color --- Sound Sound Mix: George Lockwood
I Open the Window
2009 --- Digital Video --- 19 minutes --- Color --- Sound Sound Mix: George Lockwood
The Decay of Fiction
The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles serves as the backdrop of Pat O’Neill’s artfully-crafted film. Shot in the classic Hollywood style, the movie follows various mysterious characters as they move thr...
The envelope was labeled 'Helen's Coreopsis' and had seeds from a 1935 visit to her sister in Nebraska in it. The film COREOPSIS was made by scratching into discarded film stock and revealing pink, ye...
Squirtgun / Step Print
O’Neill applied film developer to film stock using a squirt gun, then rearranged the results into rhythmic repetitions.
Trouble in the Image
Optical printing pioneer Pat O’Neill uses “his skills in special effects production to extrapolate metaphysical meaning from the ordinariness of industrialized culture” (Scott Stark). In O’Neill’s pla...
The history of non-objective cinema, the works of those that came before them and their own experiments in the field of visionary filmmaking are discussed by several well-known and pioneer abstract fi...
Water and Power
Pat O'Neill, one of the most interesting filmmakers in America today, offers a dazzling reflection on the conflict between nature and man in Los Angeles, or the desertification of the city's surroundi...
Last of the Persimmons
LAST OF THE PERSIMMONS opens with a black-and-white image of a main inflating helium balloons in the shape of rabbits. Onto this image Mr. O'Neill places two mirror images an old Fleischer-style carto...
Has to do with a consideration of one possible conceptual model for human existence: that of a primitive form of yardchair, upon which sits The Creator, impassively observing the inexorable flow of Hi...
A darkish journey down memory lane, to visit some news events, folkways and thought patterns associated with the late forties and early fifties. The film is also concerned with such perceptual phenome...
7362 is concerned with dividing and joining together. It begins with two black circles against a white background, knocking together and gradually moving further apart. The circles fade out, and retur...
Seven Second Love Affair
Les Blank's first documentary cinematography job shooting Drag Racers in Long Beach, CA, driving everything from hopped up "Mercs" to Supercharged "Rail Dragsters". These cars could accelerate to over...
"Bump City is a colour film about the symbolic destruction of Los Angeles. It was never a very finished film, but it was about signs and advertising, redundant communications and manufacturing, waste ...
By the Sea
"Muscle Beach is a fascinating location for people-watching in the L.A. area, and in 1963, the strangeness of its sights was much more pronounced than today. Pat O’Neill’s first film (made with Robert...
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