The Film

My Name is Alan and I Paint Pictures is a haunting documentary created by the emerging producer-director, Johnny Boston. The film is a six-year chronicle about Alan Streets, a paranoid schizophrenic, as he struggles to succeed as an artist in New York City.

Alan’s life is a constant series of questions, concerns and fears. Will his work be appreciated? Will he be taken advantage of? Will he be able to keep his disease subdued without medication?

My Name is Alan and I Paint Pictures follows this talented artist from the suburbs of London to the wards of Bellevue Hospital in New York City and out on to the streets where he sets up his easel every, day fair weather or foul, and paints canvases of the urban landscape.

Alan battles the demons in his own head with vast quantities of alcohol, a wide variety of drugs (legal and otherwise), and, ultimately, just a paintbrush and canvas. Clean and sober and off of all meds, Alan now lives in New York determined to succeed as an artist on his own terms.

But can an isolated, still paranoid Alan make it an art world where success sometimes depends as much on whom you know as on what you paint? This film and this unforgettable character will probably change your beliefs about Schizophrenia as something that is always debilitating.

Alan’s story unfolds through the eyes of his parents, friends and lovers, psychiatrist, and Alan himself. In time, we get to know Alan very well through swatches of his daily life, his interactions with others, and, crucially, through his paintings.

Interviews with the art community complement the story. They include:

Robert Storr – Art Historian and Former Curator, MOMA; Arnold Lehman– Director, Brooklyn Museum; Pamela Willoughby – Gallery Manager of Marc Borgi Gallery; John Maizels– Editor,Raw Vision Magazine; and Daniel Kunitz – Critic, Art Review.

Alan’s struggles and difficulties as an artist and a recovering person are so fully delineated that one is left wondering if Alan’s paranoia is generated by his illness or rather is simply a function of the reality of trying to make it as an artist in New York City.

Whatever the case, the viewer comes away from this memorable film with a heightened appreciation for all artists –- and the fervent hope that Alan will somehow persevere.