Premiere: Watch arthur gallery’s Sampha-inspired short film, “rAw”

Artistic Manifesto is proud to premier rAw, the latest short film conceived by California-based artist, arthur gallery. On 6/10, arthur debuted the film to an audience of rough 80 Bay Area artists, creators, influencers and shakers during a live viewing party. To celebrate the film’s digital debut, Artistic Manifesto reached out for an exclusive interview. Check out the film below, and keep reading to learn more about one man’s journey of creation and self-discovery.

The Man and The Myth

Who is arthur gallery? Where are you from? What do you rep?
I’m from the southside of Charlotte, North Carolina and I rep Ventwood- a think tank of Carolina artists. We’re based in California now.

What are your artistic interests? How do you describe your skillset? 
I’m interested anytime someone consumes art through their eyes. It’s just how my brain works and where I’m meant to focus. Niche wise I’m a writer and a director. I used to shoot but I don’t think I’ll ever hold the camera again- I’m a stronger communicator than cinematographer.

Creative Pursuit

What was the inspiration behind rAw?
Just like a juxtaposition of uncensored emotions, to be honest. Trying to find balance between righteousness and being attracted to sin, growing a distaste for vanity and pop culture, being a real life adult and having to create my own life path, and in general just a desire to unchain my expression from gender norms.

From ideation to final execution, how long did the film take to create? 
Dude. A while. My ideas never come linearly. It took time to piece together the elements. Then, my hard drive crashed and I had to re-edit everything from the start! Prolly at it for like 4-5 months.

Control & Release

You took a few steps away from the camera for this project and allowed yourself to be filmed. Who else was involved in the production?
Four homies. Thomas Escudero, Jordan Streeter, Brandon Nixon, and Quincy Mingo. I used to move dolo but I’m really thankful for them because it showed me how much better things can turn out when you trust a team.

What does it take to make something like this? Did you go to school for film?
Nah. Everything I know is self-taught, though I do find value in formal education. Films are complex. Every frame houses so many elements. Whether it’s wardrobe, lighting, sound, talent, etc. There’s so much to consider and it really requires detail. For the most part, it just takes a lot of thinking. Balancing perceptions, checking your own ideas, and writing everything down. I also study colors – I think that helps.

Did you learn anything about the art form or yourself while making this film?
This was by far the most dense creative experience I’ve ever been through. I learned so much. I think the biggest thing that I was kind of forced to develop was real-time problem-solving. If you’re loyal to your ideas it can make it tougher to create things because everything goes wrong. Like for real, everything. It’s up to you to think through workarounds on the spot without jeopardizing the vision.

What do you want viewers to walk away with after viewing the film?
A green light.  Your emotions are valid. Your thoughts are valid. There are tons of outlets- even outside of art. Take whatever is in your head and manifest it to the best of your ability. It’s okay.

There are booming black creative scenes popping up everywhere right now. What do you say to them?
Give more. Don’t be afraid to do something hard and explore what you’re really willing to give your craft. Find what you’re willing to devote every day to. I think the world needs beauty, and I want to see us share more of that.


Written/Directed/Edited: arthur gallery (@arthurgallery)
Cinematographer/Color Grading: Thomas Escudero (@meet.thomas)
Assistant Camera/Stabilization: Jordan Streeter (@im_avoiding_growing_up)
Assistant Art Director: Brandon Nixon (@noxinb)
Assistant Producer: Quincy Mingo (@qmingo)

Cover Art: Jeffrey Matthews Jr. (@jeffery.jpeg)

Soundtrack: Plastic 100°C x Sampha
Outro: Frank Ocean ‘Nights’ cover x Sarah King