Must See Art Doc: “Full Circle: The Kostabi Story”

Posted by The G on October 3, 2012 under G Reviews | Comments are off for this article

Photo of the poster by G.

Full Circle - The Kostabi Story

Full Circle – The Kostabi Story directed by Sabrina Digregorio

There’s a reason artist Mark Kostabi has been’s Man of the Year – he’s simply an amazing person.  In 2011, a documentary about his life entitled “Con Artist” was released and the film was fascinating.  It traced the roots of Mark Kostabi from Whittier, California to Manhattan, where he became one of the most notorious artists of the 1980s.  His outrageous antics, brutal honesty towards the art world (to critics, collectors and dealers alike) and unabashed pursuit of fame nearly destroyed his career, but like a cat who has nine lives, there are many facets to Kostabi’s life.  Not only did he recover from what to some would be career suicide, but he bounced back bigger and better than ever, with a jet-setting life based concurrently in Rome and New York.

“Full Circle – The Kostabi Story” by Italian filmmaker Sabrina Digregorio works as a companion piece (and in some ways like an unintentional sequel) to “Con Artist.”  In addition to Kostabi revealing his secrets for “making it” in the art world, the film examines a more serious and intellectual side of Mark Kostabi.  Mark has openly admitted that he has his own “art factory” if you will, of artists carrying out his designs and ideas and whereas “Con Artist” may have portrayed a comical and sweat shop image of his factory, “Full Circle,” depicts a family owned business of carefully thought out and masterfully executed art.  “Full Circle” features interviews with some of the highest regarded Italian art critics, art dealers and picks Kostabi’s brain in both New York and Italy, on his thoughts about art and fame.  Kostabi’s body of work exceeds 19,000 paintings and though many of the works seemingly only feature his style and signature, this practice has been taking place for centuries amongst the great creative masters and as you will see from “Full Circle,” Mark Kostabi should definitely be counted with them.

As the title of the film suggests, “Full Circle” shows the viewer another layer of the fascinating life of Mark Kostabi and when I didn’t think I could be more in awe of the man who literally lives his dreams daily, he escalates to a higher level to me after seeing this film.  What makes Kostabi even better in my eyes is that I’ve spent a lot of time with him over the last few years and he is ALWAYS extremely kind and generous and is genuinely interested in hearing more than just his perspective on things.  Over the last few decades, I’ve also spent a lot of time with some of the most creative artists and biggest celebrities in the world and there are very few that are as nice and as pleasurable to be around as Mark.

It’s also quite impressive that this is the 10th documentary made about Kostabi and his life is so expansive that there are no mentions of some of his career highlights including creating a statue for the Pope at the Vatican, making the album covers for Guns N’ Roses blockbuster albums “Use Your Illusion,” or rubbing elbows with art gods such as Basquiat and Andy Warhol.   If only all of our lives and careers could be so blessed!   Whether you have already formed your opinion of Mark Kostabi or this is your first exposure to his name, you should definitely check out “Full Circle – The Kostabi Story” and dare yourself not to be impressed.


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