The Luminous Arts Podcast
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. 

 

Social Media Links

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.

 

Links:

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).

 

Website

Instagram

Youtube

Facebook

Gabriel Dunne, Luminous Podcast Episode 009

Gabriel Dunne, Luminous Podcast Episode 009

April 1, 2020

Hey everybody!  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.

Keith Anderson, Luminous Podcast Episode 008

Keith Anderson, Luminous Podcast Episode 008

February 12, 2020

Keith and I met for the first time during my trip to Vegas this year for the LDI Conference.  I learned about his work as a VJ in the festival scene years ago and at Burning Man this year he started dating one of my installation techs!  When they both moved to Vegas together so that Keith could take a job-creating custom visuals for Melt Creative, I knew I most likely had a place to crash during LDI (and a new podcast episode!)

We start the conversation out with some details about where Keith’s journey as a concert visualist began and we wind our way through various topics like how the VJing scene has changed and evolved over time, what it’s like working as a full-time festival VJ, and where he sees things going in the future.

This was a great conversation and I’m stoked that Keith and I finally got to sit down and talk!

Tyler Kicera, Luminous Podcast Episode 007

Tyler Kicera, Luminous Podcast Episode 007

November 19, 2019

Hey everyone, welcome to the Luminous Podcast!  This week I did my first remote episode of the show, which actually went really smoothly.  I sat down (across the country) with Tyler Kicera, Senior Director of the Kinetics Department at Tait Towers.  They’re responsible for some of the most incredible kinetic stage designs and permanent installations in the world, including the London 2012 Olympics, U2, Queen, & Rodger Waters world tours, all of Deadmouse’s ridiculous stages, The Wynn in Las Vegas, and so many more absolutely bonkers installations.  Tyler and I were supposed to present this year at LDI on a panel discussion on architainment and feature design, but it kind of fell apart at the last minute. Oh well. We decided he should definitely do an episode of the podcast so we could get to know each other and at least talk for a bit. We had a fascinating conversation and we got into some great side topics about some of his other passions, road racing in Spec Miata competitions, maintaining work-life balance, and how having kids can change your perspective and priorities.  He’s a genuinely cool guy and I’m bummed we won’t get to do our panel this year, but it was great to get to hang out for a bit and get to know each other! Hope you enjoy the conversation.

Rebeca Sanchez Pastor, Luminous Podcast Episode 006

Rebeca Sanchez Pastor, Luminous Podcast Episode 006

September 30, 2019

I met with Rebeca while she was in the country consulting on a new nightclub design in Las Vegas. Her company, LEDs Control is a very prolific LED feature design firm and has a lot in common with Digital Ambiance.  She’s a Mexican native, Barcelona-based entrepreneur who started in the lighting industry in 2001 as a self-taught student of lighting control software. She performed as a light jockey in entertainment venues and events across Mexico.  In 2005 she moved to Barcelona and studied architectural lighting Design in the IED (Instituto Europe de Diseño) and UPC (Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña). She positioned herself as an architainment content creator (programmer). Her curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit drove her to found LEDSCONTROL in 2009.  Her main goal was to provide lighting control services for LED installations in public spaces, buildings, and entertainment venues. Over the past 14 years, the team has grown as well as the kinds of projects that the company works on. Nowadays LEDSCONTROL is led by Rebeca Sanchez and her partner Miquel Clot. The company has become one of the leading providers of lighting solutions for premier night clubs, music festivals, light art festivals & architectural icons across the globe. The team is formed by a group of technical/creative consultants, content creators, designers & builders of custom pieces that communicate with light and new media technologies.

Matthew Ragan, Luminous Podcast Episode 005

Matthew Ragan, Luminous Podcast Episode 005

August 19, 2019

Hey everybody, today Matthew Ragan joins me for a beer here at the Lumen Labs and we talk all about his life and career in the world of projection mapping.  He’s a Touch Designer Wizard who started out doing live performance art at Keen State back in the early 2000’s, then during his masters program at Arizona State he hosted a popular Touch Designer Tutorial vlog.  Working closely with Derivative Software he developed a host of teaching materials geared at educating a new generation of users in  advanced techniques. His vlog and expertise ended up catching the attention of the guys over at Obscura Digital who scooped him up right out of school.  He’s worked with them for the past few years, recently taking on the role of their lead software developer. Anyone who’s paying attention to the world of projection mapping knows how important Obscura is to the scene and how they’ve raised the bar for new media installations in places all around the world.  Matt takes us through his time working there and we talk about how the makers of a tool help to define the art that gets made and how that cycle defines our industry. It’s a great episode with a legend in the scene, I think you’ll like it!

Scott Draves, Luminous Podcast Episode 004

Scott Draves, Luminous Podcast Episode 004

June 16, 2019

My friendship with Scott goes back to before I moved to the West Coast.  He’s an artist & programmer that made his name coding phenomenal generative artwork.  His most well-known piece, titled “Electric Sheep”, started as a self-evolving algorithm, gaining traction in the Motion Graphics community before becoming a phenomenon unto itself.  Seeing the potential in crowdsourcing the processing that created the generative patterns, he created a system allowing users to vote on the visual characteristics of each pattern and allowed the most successful art pieces to “mate” with each other, creating offspring with similar traits based on that of its parent patterns.  In this way, Scott's art evolves and progresses with a life of its own.

Today I sat down with Scott in the offices of his new employer, CTRL-Labs, a company working to bridge the human-computer divide with a new type of user input device that taps directly into the nerve impulses in a user’s wrist.  Doesn’t get much more trans-human that that... Enjoy the episode!

Christopher Shardt, Luminous Podcast Episode 003

Christopher Shardt, Luminous Podcast Episode 003

June 16, 2019

In this episode I sit down with Christopher Schardt, creator of the Firmament LED installation and a prominent light artist.  He’s spent much of his artistic career making pieces for display at the Burning Man Festival and we ended up spending much of this episode discussing the intricacies of making light-art installations for that venue.  Our discussion moves from the politics of creating art on the Playa, how he fits into the overall Burning Man scene, and where we see Burning Man Art headed in the future. It was an interesting conversation with a true veteran and we had a lot of fun drinking beer and talking about our respective experiences.  Hope you enjoy!