Many mediums I am accustomed to working with are 2 dimensional. When I am painting on a canvas, or making digital art, qualities such as depth and lighting must be artificially realized. While carving wood I am discovering the deep potential that specifically light has when designing, painting or presenting my pieces.
Last week I went to a Phantogram concert at the Crystal Ball Room. First off, the venue itself is always inspiring to me, built in 1914 as Cotillion Hall, it has been used as host to dance, music, poetry and other entertainment over the years. I love the mix of the old and new. As I scan overhead, I see the classic ballroom architecture and the beautiful murals on the walls. I feel like I have fallen through time and that I should be dressed in my finest while leading the woman I’m courting in a waltz. Then the vision changes when the music starts. Phantogram is a mix of synth street pop with airy vocals and hip-hop beats. On stage and film, they visually replicate the phenomenon from which they take their name. Using clever projections, beam splitters, mirrors, and I’m sure lots of other tech that I am unaware of, they make 2-d images appear three dimensional.
I find my self in this bath of visual and auditory stimulus and my mind goes into a meditative state. All sorts of thoughts run through my mind, some mundane, and others odd, but overall I feel a rush of inspiration. I have the impulse to try and capture the moment but I remember the folly in that mindset so I try to stay present with the experience. It was great to see Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter do their thing. When the show was over I concluded the event with good food and good company.
When I get back to my workshop I know most of that night is lost to me, but I can sense an imprint left behind. I have cut two more “cross contour” pieces. One of them I was inspired to use news paper as the foreground. The other I have not yet painted. With this style of cutting I notice the shadows have a greater effect on how the piece is perceived. I wonder if I can create illusions that capitalize on this concept. I want to play with projecting light on a surface and tracing lines to create an effect but I haven’t yet worked through that idea all the way.
This next week is Christmas, so I anticipate it being hectic, but I plan to build a Light Box. The advantage to having my own Light Box is I will have a small set to take photos on that will give me clean white backgrounds with well diffused light sources. I am pretty excited to build a new tool for my art and I am really excited to be able to replace most if not all of my gallery pictures with ones of much higher quality.
Do you have any cool examples of lights and shadows used in art? Let me know in the comments!