Robert Banks, Jr. Interview, 03 December 2008

Filmmaker, Robert C. Banks, Jr. discusses his life and career. A lifelong Clevelander, Banks attended the Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA), where he learned many of the fundamentals of art and film. Despite having spent some years pursuing higher education at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland State University, and elsewhere, Banks credits much of his film-making expertise to self-education and collegial exchanges from within the Cleveland art scene. Banks discusses his service in the United States Air Force, which he describes in the context of his ongoing self-education, and describes the experience in both positive and negative light. The artist also discusses several of his own films, his views on film-making as an art and as a profession, the state of art and film-making in Cleveland, and his approach to teaching film students at Cuyahoga Community College and elsewhere. As a filmmaker, Banks prefers to work with celluloid film and extensively discusses the shift from celluloid to digital production, weighing the pros and cons of each. Banks discusses his work in the context of punk rock and the do-it-yourself ethic.

Participants: Banks Jr., Robert C. (interviewee) / Hansgen, Lauren (interviewer)
Collection: Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

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Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005

The first generations of African American artists who were active in the Cleveland region were showcased in the 1993 exhibition Yet Still We Rise: African American Artists in Cleveland 1930-1970. In 2005, a second exhibition was organized by Cleveland Artists Foundation (ARTneo). In addition to gallery shows, this exhibit – titled Each in Their Own Voice: African American Artists in Cleveland, 1970-2005 – documented subsequent generations of African American artists through oral history…