Exploring Art: 5 Eye-Opening Creative Documentaries
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  2. Waste Land
  3. The Cool School
  4. My Kid Could Paint That
  5. The Art of the Steal

Art has a mysterious way of stirring emotions, inspiring creativity, and sparking conversations. Sometimes, it's hard to comprehend the depth behind a masterpiece or the thought process of the artist. That's where creative documentary films come in, giving us a peek into the fascinating world of art. Here are five eye-opening and inspiring documentaries for artistic exploration that will make you see art in a whole new light.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

This is not just a documentary, it's an adventure into the world of street art, as seen through the lens of an eccentric shopkeeper turned amateur filmmaker. At its core, it showcases the power of art to transform lives and communities.

About the Film

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a creative documentary film that serves as an interesting introduction to the world of street art. It chronicles the journey of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in Los Angeles, who evolves from a shopkeeper to a filmmaker, trying to capture the secretive world of street art on film. It's an eye-opening and inspiring documentary for artistic exploration, as it takes you on a wild ride through the streets of Los Angeles, Paris, and London.

Why You Should Watch It

  • Understand Street Art: This film offers an inside look at the world of street art, showcasing the creativity and talent of artists who use cityscapes as their canvas.
  • Explore Artistic Transformation: It's not just about art; it's about the transformation of Thierry Guetta, showing how passion can lead to unexpected paths.
  • Experience a Creative Journey: From the first spray-painted stencil to the last piece of graffiti, you're part of the journey, watching the art come alive.

What You'll Take Away

Watch Exit Through the Gift Shop, and you'll see the world in a new way. You'll appreciate the creativity that exists in unexpected places and understand how art can express feelings, tell stories, and even provoke thought. You'll realize that art is not just about paint on a canvas — it's an exploration, an experience, and above all, an expression. So, if you're on the lookout for creative documentary films that are both eye-opening and inspiring, this is a must-watch.

Waste Land

When we think of art, we rarely consider trash. Waste Land challenges this notion, showing us how beauty can be found in the most unexpected places.

About the Film

Waste Land is a creative documentary film that takes you to the world's largest landfill, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Here, renowned artist Vik Muniz collaborates with "catadores" — self-designated pickers of recyclable materials — to create art out of what others see as waste. This eye-opening and inspiring documentary for artistic exploration reveals how art can emerge from the most unlikely places and transform lives in the process.

Why You Should Watch It

  • Discover Unexpected Art: Waste Land will make you rethink the boundaries of art as it showcases beauty created from discarded materials.
  • Witness Transformation: You'll see the catadores not just as workers in a landfill, but as artists creating meaningful work.
  • Explore Social Issues: The film also shines a light on important social issues, such as waste management and social inequality, pointing out that art can be a powerful tool for social commentary and change.

What You'll Take Away

Waste Land is not your typical art documentary. It blurs the line between trash and treasure, and between the overlooked and the valued. After watching this creative documentary film, you'll be inspired to find beauty in unexpected places and to use art as a tool for change. If you're intrigued by the possibilities of artistic exploration and looking for eye-opening, inspiring documentaries, your search might just end with Waste Land.

The Cool School

Ever wonder how the West Coast became a significant player in the art world? The answer lies within the riveting creative documentary film, The Cool School.

About the Film

The Cool School provides an enlightening journey into the emergence of the Los Angeles art scene in the 1950s and 60s. It tells the story of the Ferus Gallery, a small art space that sparked a cultural revolution, challenging New York's dominance in the art world. This inspiring documentary for artistic exploration gives you an inside look at the visionary artists who broke boundaries and defined a new era of creativity.

Why You Should Watch It

  • Uncover Art History: The Cool School offers an engaging, firsthand account of how LA became a global arts hub.
  • Meet Iconic Artists: You'll be introduced to groundbreaking artists like Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, and Ed Kienholz, who challenged convention and changed the face of modern art.
  • Experience the Ferus Gallery: The film takes you inside the legendary Ferus Gallery, a catalyst for artistic innovation and an icon of the LA art scene.

What You'll Take Away

After watching The Cool School, you'll have a new appreciation for the power of community in fostering artistic innovation. This eye-opening and inspiring documentary for artistic exploration will leave you with a deeper understanding of the forces that shape the art world. If creative documentary films that offer a rich dive into art history captivate you, then The Cool School should be next on your watchlist.

My Kid Could Paint That

The world of abstract art can be both captivating and confusing, especially when a four-year-old is the artist. This is exactly what the creative documentary film My Kid Could Paint That explores.

Delving Into the Documentary

Are you curious about how a child's paintings ended up being sold for thousands of dollars? My Kid Could Paint That presents the intriguing story of Marla Olmstead, a toddler who gained international fame as a modern artist. This film is an inspiring and eye-opening documentary for artistic exploration that probes the boundaries of art and authenticity.

Why You Should Press Play

  • Question Art's Value: The film invites you to ponder what makes art valuable. Is it the age and experience of the artist, or the viewer's interpretation of the artwork?
  • Explore Ethics: You'll be drawn into a debate about the ethics of child prodigies and the role of parents and the media in promoting their talents.
  • Experience the Controversy: The documentary is filled with suspense as it investigates allegations that Marla's paintings could have been created by her father.

Insights You'll Gain

Watching My Kid Could Paint That will challenge your perceptions of art and authenticity. This creative documentary film will inspire you to think more deeply about the nature of artistic expression, the value we place on art, and the stories we tell about it. If you're in search of eye-opening and inspiring documentaries for artistic exploration, this film is a must-watch.

The Art of the Steal

Art can sometimes find itself tangled up in a web of politics, power, and legal battles. This is the crux of the creative documentary film The Art of the Steal.

Unraveling the Story

The film follows the controversial struggle for control over the Barnes Foundation, one of the world's best private art collections. With a narrative that's more gripping than a thriller, The Art of the Steal is a powerful journey into the politics of art.

Reasons to Tune In

  • Discover Hidden Art World Politics: The film uncovers the often unseen political power plays in the art world.
  • Experience the Drama: You'll be drawn into the high-stakes battle over who gets to control an art collection worth billions of dollars.
  • Explore Legal and Ethical Questions: The documentary raises thought-provoking questions about the ethics of art ownership and preservation.

What You'll Take Away

After watching The Art of the Steal, you'll have a new perspective on the intersection of art and politics. This inspiring and eye-opening creative documentary offers a deep dive into what happens when the desire to preserve art collides with the thirst for power. It's a fascinating exploration for anyone interested in the often murky waters of the art world.

If you're inspired by the world of creative documentaries and want to dive deeper into the art of documentary filmmaking, check out Jessy Moussallem's workshop, "Documentary Filmmaking." This workshop will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to create your own powerful and captivating documentaries, allowing you to share compelling stories with the world.