The Luminous Arts Podcast
Shlomo Zippel, Luminous Podcast Episode 019

Shlomo Zippel, Luminous Podcast Episode 019

May 4, 2021

Welcome back my artist people!  In this episode I’m talking with Shlomo Zippel, a developer turned light artist based out of the Bay Area.  We’ve kind of been in each other’s orbits for years but we’d never actually met in person.  Recently I started dating a friend of his, and that prompted me to get in touch.  He was one of the original contributors to the software and hardware driving the Tree of Tenere and he’s been in the scene for the past 10 years.  I figured we’d have a lot to talk about!

 

Recently Shlomo’s been working on launching an experiential art space here in San Francisco.  Kind of in the vein of Meow Wolf and Team Labs but with a decidedly light-art/Avatar-esque feel to it.  He’s putting a unique spin on the concept of immersive art installations and collaborating with some amazing local light artists.  

 

Simultaneously he’s developing an LED controller that he wants to take to market soon after his art space launches.  It’s really software that he’s developing to run on a variety of microcontroller platforms.  It incorporates a really capable pattern engine and it works in a fundamentally distributed manner.  Like you would deploy lots of them into an installation and they work like some kind of LED hive mind.  The swarm of controllers collectively spread the processing power out across the entire fleet of devices meaning there’s no need for a massive and expensive server sitting at the center of the installation.  It’s a super cool concept and I loved geeking out with him on how this type of system could change the way artists think about their installations.  It’s a great conversation, yet another amazing artist/engineer doing crazy things with technology.  I think you’re going to dig it!

 

Photo credit: Eleanor Preger

Toshi Hoo, Luminous Podcast Episode 018

Toshi Hoo, Luminous Podcast Episode 018

March 30, 2021

Toshi and I have been friends for almost 20 years.  I met him on a beach in Cape Cod during a psytrance party.  He was an established VJ in the Boston scene and I was just trying to figure out how that whole world worked.  He brought me into the fold and taught me about the software and the methods that people were using to mix visuals live to electronic music.

 

We’ve stayed in touch throughout the years, both moving to the Bay Area, both pursuing our own careers, watching each other grow and mature on our own respective paths.  When he agreed to do an episode of the Luminous Arts I was stoked and even though we couldn’t sit down in person it was so good to catch up.

Toshi is an amazingly deep thinker and a very intelligent guy.  Our conversation was fun because it let both of us go deep on some really important topics relating to the ethics of the use of technology.  He works for the Institute for the Future, a non-profit focused on just that.  He runs a department there that allows him to explore, among other things, the various ways that VR can be used to generate positive change in the world.

 

I think you’re going to dig this conversation.  It winds its way through the world of immersive new media art, through the role of social media in society, and into our responsibility to help shape the world using technology.  Let’s dive in!

 

Links & Social Media

Website

Institute for the Future

Joshua White, Luminous Podcast Episode 017

Joshua White, Luminous Podcast Episode 017

March 9, 2021

This is a really special episode for me.  Joshua is one of the pioneers in the performance visual arts scene.  He was one of the first to project live visuals on stage and since I was 18 years old I’ve known about his work as one of the pioneers of visual music.  When I was vjing professionally back in 2005 I got a chance to meet Josh and work with him at Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors.  I wanted to go deep with him then and get into his story but there just wasn’t time.  This year I reached out and asked him to do an episode and he agreed!

 

We had an excellent conversation about how he came up in the scene during the 60s and the influence that San Francisco during the Summer of Love had on his artistic development.  He tells me about the cultural atmosphere that allowed his work to flourish and what it was like to make a name for himself during that time.  It’s a really cool recounting of the bicoastal counterculture during another period of national upheaval and it’s hilarious how similar things were.

 

It struck me how some of the paths he blazed to make a living creating new media art are the same paths I see myself and my peers walking.  It was cool to reflect on the generational differences and similarities between us and get his perspective on the state of new media arts today.

 

So check it out, I think you’ll dig our conversation and maybe it will help to put your own work and career path into a new perspective!

 

Links & Social Media

Portfolio Website

Instagram

Wikipedia

Richard DDT Trapani, Luminous Podcast Episode 016

Richard DDT Trapani, Luminous Podcast Episode 016

February 10, 2021

Good morning people!  In this episode, I sit down with my longtime friend Rich Trapani, or Rich DDT as residents of the Bay Area know him.  Originally out of my hometown, Boston, he’s made a name for himself out on the West Coast running an immersive new media salon called Lovetech.  It’s a dance party slash multimedia arts expose where tinkerers, artists, and other participants can hang out, socialize, and expose each other to new types of tech, grab a drink, or get down on the dance floor to some of the scenes most innovative producers.  It’s been happening for about 10 years now until Covid threw a wrench into the live nightlife scene.

 

Rich is really active in the new media arts scene and was one of the artists selected to produce custom work for the new Meow Wolf property in Vegas.  He’s spent time working with Illuminate the Arts and Anticlockwise producing permanent placemaking features.  We talk about the state of immersive theater and how COVID might fundamentally change the shape of counterculture going forward.  It’s a really interesting conversation and I think you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed having it!

 

Links & Social Media

LoveTech Website

LoveTech Facebook

LoveTech Twitter

LoveTech Instagram

Rich, LinkedIn

Bob Bonniol, Luminous Podcast Episode 015

Bob Bonniol, Luminous Podcast Episode 015

November 10, 2020

Welcome back, everybody!  This episode is with Bob Bonniol, the founder of Mode Studios in Seattle, and a longtime inspiration to me.  He’s a legend in the live show production industry, being at the forefront of new media technologies as they made their way onto the stage.  Coming up in the Theatrical world, he was an early adopter of projection mapping and the use of complex control systems to achieve new effects that pushed the envelope on Broadway and later in the concert touring world.

 

Our conversation was a short one but a fun one.  I’ve been waiting a while to have a chance to talk with Bob and it was fun to just sit back and see where things went.  Evidently, we’re both big fans of futurists because that’s exactly where this conversation ended up!  I’ll let you listen and we’ll get right into it.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Links & Social Media

Portfolio Website

Instagram

Sofia Aronov, Luminous Podcast Episode 014

Sofia Aronov, Luminous Podcast Episode 014

September 8, 2020

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Luminous Arts Podcast!  Today I’m talking with Sofia Aronov, an Italian experiential designer and new media artist living and working in NYC. I met Sofia on a trip to Brooklyn back in 2019.  She was working for Fake Love, the experiential advertising company by The New York Times.  In January 2020, she became Senior Experiential Designer in the Experience Team of PepsiCo Design and Innovation Center.  Originally from Milan, she’s had a very international journey to get to where she is today.  Like me, she’s obsessed with creating interactive installation art and using technology to communicate in unique ways.  

 

We have a great conversation about how our work has changed since COVID, how the creative process is adapting to life in isolation, and how we can all stay connected despite the shift in the social paradigm.  We only had about an hour to talk and I think we both could have kept going for a lot longer.  It was a great conversation and I’m definitely looking forward to the next time we get to hang out.

 

Links & Social Media

Portfolio Website

Instagram

Steve Lieberman, Luminous Podcast Episode 013

Steve Lieberman, Luminous Podcast Episode 013

August 19, 2020

Hey everyone, welcome to the 13th episode of the Luminous Arts Podcast!  Steve Lieberman is a longtime friend and inspiration of mine.  He’s a lighting designer who’s work is world-renowned in the festival stage and high-end nightclub arenas.  I met Steve back in the early 2000s when I was working with Vello Virkhause at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami.  Since then we’ve kept in touch and I’ve always been inspired by the work that he does.

I really enjoyed this conversation as it was a rare opportunity for me to talk about the art of stage lighting design.  Steve gets it, he’s been doing it for 25 years and that’s the world I came from when I was younger.  Using light as a medium is kind of an arcane artform, and there are very few people that I have the opportunity to talk to that are steeped in the practice.  Steve is a true creative and his work is at the pinnacle of the stage design industry.  This is one of my favorite conversations to date and I think you’ll like it too!

 

Links & Social Media

SJ Lighting Website

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

LinkedIn

Forest Stearns, Luminous Podcast Episode 012

Forest Stearns, Luminous Podcast Episode 012

July 7, 2020

Forest and I have been friends for almost 12 years.  We were talking about art projects before I started Digital Ambiance and before he was an Art Director at Deviant Art down in LA.  He’s a prolific illustrator and street artist who’s skills with a paintbrush, spray can, and tablet are unparalleled among the many artists I know.  He is based in Oakland, where he leads DRAWEVERYWHERE STUDIOS on a range of creative collaborations. 

 

We’ve had the opportunity to work together a number of times, but most closely on the fleet of Galactic Jungle Art Cars we built for Burning Man back in 2015.

 

More than just a good friend, Forest is a truly remarkable person.  After his first big break, post MFA, designing for DeviantArt, he leveled up his passion for the facilitation of community building and switched lanes out of the “art world” and into the realm of science and technology. On an adventure in the woods, his path crossed with the founders of an SF aerospace firm called Planet Labs. He boldly pitched them on the idea of painting on their spaceships, they went for it. He founded and directed Planet’s Artist in Residence program for almost 5 years. As the first artist in an impressive alumni, he produced the integration of 600+ illustrations onto the sides of Planet’s Dove satellites, and murals on rocket ships that would launch into orbit. As far as we know it’s the first example of an art show in space!  How do you top that?

 

Currently, he is the Principal Artist on the Google AI Quantum team in Santa Barbara, where he has founded an Artist in Residence program in conjunction with their quantum computing team. Stearns has developed a quantum visual language for Google. This illuminated language is being applied throughout the project from site-specific murals in the laboratories and unique canvases on of each quantum computers in the data center. 

 

A future-facing sci-fi lab filled with huge hanging machines that resemble steampunk jellyfish may seem like an unorthodox place to find artwork, 

 

...but it is a perfect collaboration for Stearns’ illustrative works that are the love child of the nature-based High Sierra mountains and undulating abstracted Tron-Esque organisms. 

 

When I stop and think about the trajectory of his career and his life with his beautiful partner and daughter, it’s one of the most interesting paths I’ve ever seen an artist take to achieve success.

 

Stoked to share this conversation with you all, Forest is an amazing person and his success deserves to be recognized.

 

Links & Social Media

WebPage

TEDx Talk

Mark Slee, Luminous Podcast Episode 011

Mark Slee, Luminous Podcast Episode 011

June 25, 2020

In this episode of Luminous Arts, I talk with Mark Slee, the creator of LX Studio, the software behind the Tree of Tenere. He’s an accomplished producer and light artist who runs an art gallery out of San Francisco.  We’re both quarantined in separate corners of the world due to the Coronavirus, with Mark in Montreal and me in the British Virgin Islands.  Fortunately, remote podcasting is a thing and our connection was solid, so hopefully, it’ll sound pretty good.  

 

We talk about the role of art in different parts of the world, how he became involved with Symmetry Labs, how he developed his software and other things.  I’ve been looking forward to talking with Mark for a long time as he’s a prolific artist in the Bay Area community and light art scene.  He’s a cool guy, and it’s a great conversation.  I really think you’ll dig it.

 

Originally Published - April 1, 2020 This episode of the Podcast is with Gabriel Dunne, an interactive multimedia artist and code wizard who’s been a staple of the Bay Area new-media arts scene for more than a decade. He’s one of the original members of the OOOShiny list, a gathering place and discussion forum for some of the most prolific new-media artists worldwide. This group is actually how I tapped into our community here in the Bay and it’s one of my favorite resources to find people doing interesting things with technology. We have a really good conversation and dive deep into some of the social issues affecting the Bay Area arts community. We talk about how the scene has evolved and changed over the decade-plus he’s been involved in creating art here and how his career as an artist has evolved. This is a great episode, one of my favorites thus far, and I really think you’ll enjoy listening to it.

 

Links & Social Media

Portfolio

LX Studio

Twitter

Facebook

Soundcloud

Timo Lejeune, Luminous Podcast Episode 010

Timo Lejeune, Luminous Podcast Episode 010

May 5, 2020

Well, that was an excellent conversation.  I just finished a long episode of the Luminous Arts with Timo Lejeune, a light artist based in the Netherlands.  His group, Lumus Instruments, combines light and music in integrated performances using a custom software stack that he’s creating.  One part sculptural lighting artists, one part music producers, he’s creating really unique installations that synchronize the lighting and the music by creating both from the same software.  The main outlet for his work is the art festival scene in Europe and we have a great time talking about our experiences with festival culture and how light art is represented in that world, and the various ways to make your way as a light artist.  Timo is a super cool guy and I’m looking forward to hanging out in person!  Hope you enjoy listening to the podcast as much as I enjoyed recording it and reach out to him if you like his work (Links are below).

 

Links & Social Media

Website

Instagram

Youtube

Facebook

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