“I believe that art should not be separated from the human experience. Instead the human experience should have a hand in creating the art itself.” - Kelsey Montague
Bypassers pause on the streets of Detroit to check out an enormous pair of magenta and lime colored wings sprawing the black wall of 1050 Woodward Avenue. Denver-based artists, Kelsey and Courtney Montague, brave the frigid November air to put the final touches on their mural as a group of women wait to take their photo and hashtag their Instagrams with #WhatLiftsYou.
As the sisters finalize the mural, the WO crew reflects back on the whirlwind of a production. Our crew of four includes cinematographers, Cody Cochran and Dimitrius “D” Ramirez, and producers/directors, Ashley Carey and Hannah Ervin. After four days of production, 17 locations, and a completed mural, we wrap production for the brand anthem featuring the badass Montague sisters.
Rewind several months to Hannah’s first interaction with the sisters, wherein both parties knew they had to collaborate with one another, but weren’t sure how to make it happen. Knowing the sister’s mission statement to bring interactive art to the international community, Hannah pitched the idea of the sisters coming to Detroit to paint a mural. In return, WO would create a brand anthem which would ultimately serve to introduce the faces behind their internationally-renowned murals.
After gaining approval, Hannah brought Ashley on to help produce the shoot. They hopped on the phone with Kelsey and Courtney, and it was love at first call. Ashley and Hannah learned what the sisters were looking to experience in Detroit and what they wanted out of their brand anthem. From there, Ashley jumped into location scouting, booking sites, and building out a production schedule.
As the shoot date quickly approached, pre-production came to a screeching halt when Ashley and Hannah were notified they did not have approval for the sisters to paint on the wall. Scrambling to get the wall permit sorted, they were given approval the day prior to the sisters arrival. STRESSFUL.
The Montagues arrived the following morning, where Ashley and Hannah met them bright and early to explore Eastern Market and Great Lakes Coffee. Cody and D met them there, and fiming was underway for the next four days with 15 locations to visit and a mural to paint.
On our last day of production, the crew sat down with the sisters for an hour-long interview detailing their experience in Detroit. After five intense, long days of filming, it was great to know the sisters would leave with a positive impression of the city. They got to experience the Midwest’s hard-working spirit everywhere they went, and even went as far as saying, “Creating work in Detroit is a right of passage for street artists.”
Personally, Hannah and Ashley deeply appreciated and enjoyed collaborating with Kelsey and Courtney, as female collaboration is somewhat of a rarity in the film industry. Additionally, we have to give a shoutout to WO editor, Nikki Finn, for her phenomenal hard work on both the brand anthem and pitch videos. Womanhood reigns strong at Woodward Original.
This finalized brand anthem is accompanied by a pitch video WO’s currently creating for the sisters, which WO and the sisters will use to pitch to networks. The series will center around sisterhood, travel, and Kelsey’s art around the globe. Stay tuned to see this series take flight on a screen near you!
Thank you to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls for sharing the brand anthem on their channels. Additionally, shoutout to Bedrock Detroit, Belle Isle, The Belt, Chickpea in the D, Eastern Market, Great Lakes Coffee, Green Dot Stables, Heidelberg Project, Johnny Noodle King, Punchbowl Social, Roasting Plant, Royce Detroit, Slow’s BBQ, Takoi, The M@dison, and 1 Woodward.
You can watch the video here.