Experiencing Interruptions?

Bardo of the Famous Painter

Bardo of the Famous Painter is a documentary exploring the journey of a gifted and dedicated artist struggling for several decades to survive in the zeitgeist of the contemporary art market.

The subject of the film is Daniel J. Kaufman, an encaustic (wax) artist based in Los Angeles. Daniel, the first artist in any medium to be awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and who later worked as a National Geographic photographer, eventually discovered encaustic art using his daughter's crayons, melting them with spatulas on an electric stove, creating a breakthrough series of paintings compared to American surrealists Knud Merrild and Boris Margo.

Even with the support and encouragement of numerous art world luminaries including renowned art critic Peter Frank and globally respected gallerists like Molly Barnes (both interviewed in the film), for whatever fickle reasons Daniel has up until now endured the difficult life of the archetypal starving artist as he reaches his seventies.

Bardo of the Famous Painter explores, with compassion and humor, the challenges of every artist trying to earn a living while creating and sharing art driven by inner necessity. The film traces how Daniel’s passion has taken a toll on his life, especially with his family. It captures the struggle and evolutionary arc—the bardo—critical to realizing his life’s work. Despite his often exasperating efforts promoting and exhibiting his paintings, Daniel feels this is the price he must pay to be recognized as a fine artist.

I felt compelled to produce a documentary about this interesting and quirky artist's efforts every day to create, market and sell his work made with talent, love and passion.

The question the film tries to answer: What does it take for a truly great artist to finally make it big while he’s still alive to experience it?

  • Karl Xjimenez
  • Karl Xjimenez
  • Daniel Kaufman
    Key Cast
  • Anastasia Kaufman
    Key Cast
  • Molly Barnes
    Key Cast
  • Peter Frank
    Key Cast
  • David Klass
    Key Cast
  • Denis Bloch
    Key Cast
  • Bernie Sirelson
    Original Music
  • Deva Premal
    Additional Music
  • Karl Xjimenez
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    45 minutes 3 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    4,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director - Karl Xjimenez