Review:  ‘One Man Band’ paints odd picture of artist Llyn Foulkes

Llyn Foulkes strikes a pose.
Llyn Foulkes strikes a pose.

Though it was Claude Monet who famously said “I’m never finished with my paintings,” that’s clearly also the guiding belief of the eclectic, unpredictable, perhaps underrated star of the documentary “Llyn Foulkes One Man Band.”

Foulkes, an L.A.-based artist and musician for more than 50 years, never met a canvas he couldn’t change, something that seems to exasperate most everyone but himself.

This self-dubbed egomaniac spends the better part of this intriguing portrait simply standing and yakking — about himself. That is, when he’s not anxiously preparing for a gallery or museum showing, endlessly reworking such seemingly completed paintings as “The Lost Frontier” or “The Awakening,” or playing music on his giant, whimsical instrument known as “The Machine” (a contraption you must see to believe).

Co-producers and directors Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty shot the documentary from 2004 to 2012. For a movie about art and artists, it’s not a particularly visually inspired or vibrantly crafted work. Still, Foulkes, whose hyper-focused chitchat is occasionally broken by interview bits with his ex-wife, adult children, museum curators, journalists and others, holds interest with his off-kilter narcissism, obsessive creative process and frank views on his place — or lack thereof — in the art world.


Though the guy is obviously a handful, one whose maverick-like methods and macabre edge have admittedly limited his personal and professional success, it’s inspiring to see a unique talent finally get his due, even if — or maybe because — it took until his late 70s to get there.


“Llyn Foulkes One Man Band”

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills; Laemmle’s NoHo 7, North Hollywood; Laemmle’s Playhouse 7, Pasadena.