It’s always gratifying to witness a video artist develop from fledgling stylist into a legitimate expressive force. Chad Shepp, 24, hails from Hamilton, Ontario, and wants to be a filmmaker.
An admirer of singular talents like Sam Raimi, Stanley Kubrick, and Quentin Tarantino, Shepp has created dozens of unofficial music videos under the moniker VelvetAnt Films, a Youtube channel with close to two thousand subscribers.
Shepp tailors gorgeous found visuals to a wide variety of emotion-soaked tuneage, demonstrating an unfailing eye for color, movement, and mise-en-scene.
“The thing is, I use videos from public domain sources,” Shepp writes. “I take the videos and splice them together.” Armed with only Windows Movie Maker and a mind keenly tuned to words and melody, the young Canadian scours the internet for images that inspire him to create his captivating video collages.
The footage he assembles is always powerful and evocative, even if it didn’t come from his camera.
Shepp initially got hooked on video by Twenty One Pilots cover of the Elvis Presley hit, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and from there he’s been a veritable Energizer bunny, producing more than 200 videos.
“What hooked me about the song is the calming effect,” Shepp notes. “It swishes over me when I listen. It’s a beautiful song and speaks to me personally. The song seems to sum up something in my life I can’t explain.”
Musically, Shepp is all over the map, from crooners like James Blunt and Ed Sheeran, to hip-hop heavies like Eminem and Tyler the Creator, to respectable old farts like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Neil Young.
“I love all music, but my favorite is rap and folk,” Shepp explains. To the best of his knowledge, none of the high-profile artists to whom he’s paid video tribute have seen his work.
In “Magdalene” by British folk duo Bear’s Den, Shepp tweaks the colors in a desolate townscape that seems to have been ruined in some kind of disaster.
Though he artfully ducks questions about his current state of mind (and where he finds his footage), Shepp says he definitely sought a post-apocalyptic vibe that is at odds with the song’s quiet intimacy.
“It took a long time to make that one,” Shepp admits, revealing a key element in his process. “Figuring out what song fits the video takes time.”
As an artist, Shepp is certainly capable of frenetic cutting and loading images into a visual trebuchet to bombard the senses (his editing on Machine Gun Kelly’s “Wake and Bake” comes to mind). But his latest work has a slow-mo, languid quality full of longer takes that makes for a more consistent mood frame with deeper resonance.
“Yes very much so,” Shepp agrees, when queried if he’s more drawn to long shots and continuous action these days. But don’t expect this fascination to last forever; Shepp is a restless artist always on the hunt for fresh inspiration.
And us TikiKiti cats will be here to keep you posted on all his latest developments.