The documentary was made by a Ormond Beach resident of 20 years, who now lives in Palm Coast.
After having lived in Ormond Beach for 20 years, Mitch Mentor was shocked to find out that a family friend, Karlene McConnell, was actually a local artist who was quite well-known — to everyone but him, apparently.
This made him wonder: “If I don’t know that and I know her kid and I know her, who else is in the area?”
So, he decided to find out.
In 2015, Mentor started what would become a three-year project of creating and airing a documentary-style film called “The Artist Next Door.”
In the final 22-minute video, Mentor featured 15 Ormond Beach artists to spotlight their crafts, including paint, sculpture, wood work and photography. Each artist was required to have had art shown in galleries and to have made a living through their artwork.
“It helped me keep the memories, and it really helped me make new memories because of the people I found,” he said.
Though Mentor moved to Palm Coast in 2015, he considers Ormond Beach a place he can still call home.
“I’m really happy with it,” he said of the documentary. “I think it made me feel good, and I know the people that have seen it are thrilled with it. I feel like we did something with the city collectively that benefits everybody.”
Mentor hopes his film will foster a positive outlook on the unique art scene Ormond Beach has to offer.
“I think the fact you can live here or move here and have exposure to really great art of different kinds — not just painting, but sculpture, the woodcarving — I think it’s a benefit to the area,” he said. “And I think it’s something a lot of people appreciate.”
Mentor added that he was pleasantly surprised to learn that the artists he interviewed found inspiration for their pieces in local scenery.
“That was actual pretty cool that 90% of their work and time, they got their inspiration here,” he said.
He partnered with Ormond Main Street to help fund the $10,000 project, as the film's idea reflects the quality of life the organization values.
Mentor’s film background — which includes national commercials and music videos — helped him bring his vision to life. He said once he started raising money himself for the project in 2015, it took about 10 months to do all the filming, due to the quality time given to each artist and the difficulty of scheduling. By 2016, the city of Ormond Beach featured a condensed 5-minute version of his film on the city website, he said. He finished the longer version of the video around the start of 2017, and now, in the middle of 2018, he’s excited to finally see his film on T.V.
Mentor said he would like to make another documentary in the future — maybe about a new city or a different passion of his.
“The Artist Next Door” was broadcast on TV for the first time on WDSC-TV at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 5, and it will be shown again at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 9. Those interested can also watch the full version of the video on YouTube at https://bit.ly/2KzN3rO.