Blake Kathryn (@blakekathryn) is a digital artist based in Los Angeles, California. We talked with Blake about aesthetic influences, music collaborations, and how she creates work that’s authentic to her vision:
Sure and thanks for having me! My work is very much based within surreal futurism. My personal work ranges in focus, though I’m currently enjoying crafting dreamscapes. When working on commercial projects, I generally start with an aesthetically-driven base and seek a way to marry personal touches to a client’s vision, ideally creating a fresh perspective.
I’m consistently guilty of living within my head vs. being grounded in the present and much of the themes I explore come from these musings. As a media consumer, science fiction has always had a soft spot in my heart and leaning into futuristic stylings naturally was born through those influences. As a 90’s kid I also have to give credit to Y2K pop culture incepting my impressionable mind with depictions of a holographic future imagined through fashion, music videos, etc.
Lil Nas X’s Panini visualizer was definitely an exciting and inspiring project to bring to life. From kick off to delivery, the timeline was just about 72 hours. What resulted from the down to the wire scheduling was a lot of running with instincts on the creative end. It’s a blessing when you’re able to work with teams who welcome trust in the process. Overall, working within the music industry is a treat when visions align–being on opposite yet complimentary ends of the creative realm results in some magical pairings and I hope inspire the audience as well.
Thank you! Since my earliest memories I’ve always loved animated films and digital/traditional artwork. Being that those realms are removed a step from reality there’s often a lot of palette play and abstract coloring practices. Taking notes from that, I do my best to integrate those inspirations into my own work, while putting a personal shiny touch.
I really enjoy minimal elements but having been so focused on specific, select details in my early years, I wanted to challenge my practice by adding complexity. That transition became a double-edged sword: quite literally working more intricately while also integrating personal musings to deliver a narrative or emotion behind the work–subconscious pulls, self-reflection, daydreams, etc.
Cinematography is a giant pull. Living in LA, I quickly adapted to the cinephile lifestyle. Mindless sketching, taking mental breaks through long walks, and recently browsing random library finds are all great conceptual fodder as well. In general, the more steps I take away from my practice, the more I’m able to dig within myself to pull out authentic ideas and feel confident in bringing it to fruition.
I’m consistently checking up on a few creatives. A few standouts: Nadia Lee Cohen‘s mind is a dream actualized for me. Jenny Yu‘s use of color and light pulls at my heart strings. Lastly, Six N. Five Studio is pixel perfection when it comes to imaginary worlds.
From architectural innovations to celebrating emerging queer artists, these are some awesome installations to go and check out this Summer:
Where: The MoMa
When: June 28-September 2, 2019
What: Showcasing emerging architectural talent, the Young Architects Program challenged this year’s contenders to create designs for an installation that centered around sustainability. Floating fences, geometric tunnels, and skylit ceilings are just a few of the creative concepts these designers have to share.
Where: The Met
When: April 16-October 27, 2019
What: Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade has created an extrodinary multi-media display that looks like a minature solar system, reflecting on time, space, and the mystery of the universe.
Where: Riverside Park, South
When: June 22-August 22, 2019
What: Viewfinding, an installation by Sarah E. Brooks, will be shown at Alternative Pride. The festival focuses on traditionally underrepresented queer communities, and aims to magnify their voices through their work. Brook’s sculpture features 26 different works from queer-identifying poets, which are engraved on the sculpture.
When: March 8-September 9, 2019
What: Featuring works from German sculptural artist Charlotte Posenenske, enjoy open-ended, minimalist, and fascinating geometrical sculptures displayed throughout the space.
Where: David Zwirner Gallery
What: Critically acclaimed experiential and sculptural artist Yayoi Kusama will have an exhibition at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York later this year. Not necessarily this Summer, but we’re so excited about it-we had to give it a mention!
So when you need a break from the beach day, or are just curious about what new art is popping up, New York , as always, has you covered.
We worked with dance legend Jonte’Moaning, Flying Under the Radar’s founder and previous #DecodeExperiential panelist Marlon Taylor Wiles, and choreographer Ramon Baynes to produce a show-stopping routine (featuring Jonte’s signature high heels)! Hosted by @jamestown.lp
Jonte’ moved throughout the space to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, as onlookers filmed and enjoyed the performance, which was also displayed on the giant One Time’s Square screen!
On Monday, Lightbox hosted #DecodeExperiential Volume IV, developed by Lightbox’s CEO, Daphne Jouanneteau and Jess Conatser, founder of studio As We Are. We got to chat with four art and tech professionals, Clara Luzian, Maya Man, Sofia Garcia, and Nkechi Ebubedike about creating and defining your own career in New Media art.
The panelists agreed that technology is an accessible medium to create original work, and that it can be a channel to explore and harmonize different multimedia disiplines. Maya shared her experience as dancer, and how coding allowed her to combine that passion with computer science to create art. Nkechi talked about how digital art can and should start to be commidified, as well as applying her educational background to analyze how the world of digital art is changing. Clara noted that the opportunities to learn about animation and design have become more streamlined and accessible, comparing it to her experience of being mostly self-taught. Sofia discussed her vetting process for curating coded art, and why taking the risk of starting her curation platform has been worth it, as it has connected and fostered a community for thousands of digital artists.
As the panelists talked about what it means to create space for yourself in the Art and New Media industry, art work by Nkechi, Clara, and Maya displayed on our 360 projectors.
In preparation of the winter months that lie ahead, Merrell transformed Lightbox into an icy winter wonderland. Guests traveled around the space with specialty cocktails in hand for an exclusive look at the latest shoe collection. The audience was captivated through projections mapped all over the walls, while others got hands-on with a massive block of ice.
Meet Jacqueline Dugal, a contemporary dancer, choreographer, and educator who’s currently on our radar. Influenced by science, psychology, and social issues, Dugal reveals their journey in acknowledging themselves as a true artist, and how they fuse technology with their craft.
Lightbox: We like what you do. Tell us a little a bit about your work…
Jacqueline Dugal: Thanks Lightbox! I’m primarily a performer and choreographer. Using contemporary dance as my medium, I enjoy setting work that is confrontational as to disrupt routine and rid the fake façade that mainstream society often outwardly displays. Psychology, science, and social issues often influence my work. My aesthetic is grounded, physical, animalistic and usually on the dark side. I’m not interested in the pretty things – we see enough of that in the media, I’m interested in the ugly, the contorted, and the beauty in the deconstructed, distorted and the unusual – that’s my type of beautiful.
LB: What inspires your artistry?
JD: People, personal experience, memory, readings, theories, science, psychology, and passionate opinions inspire my work. Sometimes my work begins from language and concept into a full movement work and sometimes the movement seeps out of my body and I discover the words to describe it later on in the process.
LB: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
JD: No. I wanted to be many things growing up – a house painter, a ballerina, a forensic anthropologist – but I always knew that I wanted to stay curious, to be an independent thinker and creator with room to take risks and fail in order to find the answers I was looking for – so I guess maybe part of me always knew I wanted to be an artist.
I think it took time for me to truly feel confident calling myself “an artist”. I was “a dancer” for a long time, but becoming an artist took time, work, research, and letting go.
LB: What comes first? Art or technology?
JD: Art. Always. (I’m still the type of person who prefers a paper planner over Google Calendar.) My artistic work usually begins in the body, then finds it’s way onto paper, sometimes technological elements will present as inspiration or tools to work with but those elements usually come second for me as a way to amplify the work or have a conversation with it. However, art & technology are not always separate….that’s when I find them most fascinating.
LB: So what’s next?
JD: In the immediate future, I’m finishing up a Queens tour in conjunction with Queensboro dance Festival with a work I started 4 years ago and have revived this year, Tension of the Release, which closes at Queen’s Theatre October 14th. Then I’m looking forward to diving head first into research on a new work – lots of studio time, reading, writing, and reflecting in addition to finalizing all the moving pieces for Dugal Dance 2019.
LB: Name three artists to watch and tell us why you chose them?
JD: This is real hard to narrow down….
Alexeya – she combines both loves of music & dance beautifully and is fierce as always! Kelsey Rondeau aka Kalandra Bankhead is a fabulous performer expanding the edges of modern dance and drag in ways that amaze and captivate me. Jamie Amadruto aka VØID, Producer, Musician & DJ – Jamie provides a new feel of music depicting raw emotions and his beats are grimey and delicious! (He also happens to be the love of my life.)
Follow her on Instagram at: @jacquelinedugal
Feature Image: Jacqui Dugal performing solo Redux, a collaboration between choreographer Jacqui Dugal and composer Brett Copeland, at COCO Dance Festival in Trinidad & Tobago’s Queen’s Hall
Flashing back to that time in 2016 when Serena Williams + Milos Raonic visited Lightbox. Our friends at Wilson brought the icons in and worked with us to transform our space into a full-blown tennis court for an intimate group of elite press and media teams to be the first to experience some new gear.
At the event, Serena and Milos showcased a continuation of Roger Federer’s new Pro Staff RF 97 Autographed racket— aka: the first racket to feature new pro tennis design DNA. Federer provided the Wilson team with all the feedback they needed to create a simple, clean, and intentionally disruptive racket.
The mission? Wilson was determined to continue pushing their idea of changing the game of modern tennis, while also introducing their new uncontaminated design DNA for their performance racket line. Did they accomplish? With a mixture of spacial creativity and an awesome new racket to boot, how could they not accomplish their goal? 😉
Watch the timelapse to see what you missed.
Dunlop recently joined us for some fresh cocktails, just in time for this year’s US Open tournament! While some of their products were on display, a number of notable tennis players walked through the crowd. Guests included Jamie Murray, Kevin Anderson, and Aga Radwanska!
Meet Sam Oh, an artist and entrepreneur who founded AXEL.NYC – a collective of multi-media artists who aspire to create unique experiences at the intersection of music, art, and technology. Having been part of the Lightbox fam for quite some time now, we invited her on over to interview David Hannon, an artist on our radar who explores the idea of absurdity in portraiture using video, 3-D animation and sculpture – definitely one to watch in an arts meets technology space.
Sam Oh: We like what you do. Tell us a little bit about your work and how you create it…
David Hannon: First of all thank you to Lightbox for this great opportunity! In terms of my art, it revolves around moments that happen to me, or objects that I find. For example, one of my more recent works, Mantle, was based on this dilapidated dollhouse I bought at a thrift store. A few months later, my mom had passed away and I began to look at this dollhouse a different way, as a symbol of childhood even though I didn’t grow up with this specific object. I decided to use it as a basis of a large scale interactive installation where I blew portions of it to human-size and performed in it, interacting with the audience in order to move a giant necklace I created. The idea of moving this giant necklace was based on the undertaking of going through all of my mom’s objects, she had so much jewelry! You can see the installation here.
SO: What inspires your artistry?
DH: Growing up, I felt like I didn’t really fit in with my surroundings so I kind of try to recreate that visually though these large-scale installations. I try to find a gay or queer identity outside of more mainstream movements through performances in these very same spaces. I am inspired by set design work from theater and film to more experimental work.
I source images and symbols from pop culture that I repurpose such as dollhouses, as I talked about earlier, or castles or even Brooke Shields! One time I was in a youtube hole watching tribute videos of celebrities and I got sad. Then I realized that some of the videos were of celebrities that were still alive, and that moment made me question why I was sad but that sort of performed nostalgia made me create a 33 minute Brooke Shields, a gay icon not of my generation, a tribute video.
SO: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
It is not that I wanted to be an artist, I had no choice in the matter. I am kidding, sort of, but as I grew up it provided a source of escape, Wizard of Oz-esque. I started drawing in high school but I always had a hard time knowing when pieces were “finished.” When I started working more 3-dimensionally, the very fact of tangibility helped me realize my ideas easier.
DH: What comes first? Art or technology?
Ah, I think it depends in what context. I know sometimes when I am playing around in programs like Maya or Unity, it helps me realize what I want to create physically, other times the reverse is true! One time I made this silly sculpture out of spray foam and straws of a castle but before I threw it away I scanned it into a 3-D model and brought it into Maya, so that process between digital to physical is inherent to the work.
SO: So what is next?
DH: I want to transform the physical performance using motion capturing and use that resulting data to animate something unexpected. Through the use of technology, and going from digital to physical, I aim to create new meaning.
SO: Name three artists to watch and tell us why you chose them?
DH: A few artists that achieve the process of bringing the digital to physical in an interesting ways are Morehshin Allahyari, especially her project Material Speculation: ISIS where she reconstructs artifacts digitally that have been destroyed by Isis, a very pressing project. Jacolby Satterwhite is also one of my favorite artists because of how he portrays the queer body in a digital world and also Shana Moulton’s work uses camp and sources from pop culture turning what could be considered low brow into something more revelatory through video and live performance.
Thanks again, Lightbox!