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The Artists of Illuminate: Part 1


The Artists of Illuminate: Part 1


Uncover the inspiration behind some of your favorite Illuminate installations. The artists of each piece share the meaning behind their work and give us a look at their connection to the Raleigh art scene. Plus, find out which Downtown Raleigh businesses are some of their favorites!

stars and earth art

Lincoln Hancock
All the Stars in the Sky for 100 Nights - 120 S Wilmington St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A: Humans struggle to comprehend large numbers, and this slow-motion catastrophe of COVID has presented us daily with a climbing tally we can only understand in the abstract. I’ve felt personally challenged to reckon with this, but also driven, as an artist, to make it manifest in some way. With this installation, I’m trying to do that, but I’m also acknowledging that metaphorical and mathematical affordances just kind of make the impossibility of understanding all the more apparent. So it’s meant to work simply as a kind of remembrance as well.    

Q: What materials did you use to bring your installation to life? 
A:
I used 2500 individual lights to correspond to the number of visible stars in the night sky. The idea of counting them over and over again a hundred times is represented in the perpetual animation of moon phases, and a 10 x 10 grid of mirrors on the floor.  

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A:
My favorite part of the triangle art scene is its accessibility to artists, audiences, and patrons. There are opportunities here to make the work you want to make, to experience a wide variety of art, to meet the people who make it, and essentially to participate in whatever way suits you. I’m from here, and I also appreciate that the art scene has been and is a big part of the Triangle becoming its own kind of place.

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A:
I cannot name just one, but, if you forced me, I would probably say my downtown anchors are Garland and Neptune’s Parlour for their trinity of food, fellowship, and music. Close second is Capital Club 16 for the same reasons. 


Johnny Lee Chapman III
E=MC^2 - 120 S Wilmington St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A:
E=mc^2 (Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared) is Einstein's theory of relativity that states energy and matter are one and the same. Culturally we've seen a shift to where people are more cognizant of the energies and frequencies that surround us. The poem was inspired by the idea that the matter that defines us at one point was energy, and the energy utilized to sustain our lives (and the world at large) once had form and structure. Traditionally I use my voice to perform so this was a unique opportunity to allow the written words to do the work, forgoing sound; which simultaneously paid homage to the silent films. Hint: If you read the colored text you will notice there's a poem within the poem.  

Q: What materials did you use to bring your installation to life? 
A:
A pair of glowsticks, my grandma's glassware, a brick from the backyard, a lamp without the shade, glitter, an industrial-strength flashlight, reflective clothing, and flames from a gas stove. 

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A:
The artists. I love connecting with fellow creatives and exchanging ideas as well as witnessing their art. My community is who shapes my art, and my goal is to create art that can shape my community. One of my favorite communities is City Soul Cafe, an open mic that provided me a space to share and develop my craft as a writer. 

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A:
My favorite Downtown Raleigh spot is Anise Pho. Every other weekend I'd sit outside and enjoy a bowl of Pho with boba tea, and read or edit my manuscripts. Staff always smiles, the manager would come outside and briefly chat with me, and the flavor is unmatched. A special nod to Father & Son for their selection of vintage clothing.


esse quam videri

Nate Sheaffer
ESSE QUAM VIDERI- 23 W Hargett St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A:
ESSE QUAM VIDERI was made in response to our need for vivid reminders as to how important it is to act and react with authenticity.

Q: What materials did you use to bring your installation to life? 
A:
Our own beautiful trainwreck consists of neon tubing in 20-22 mm diameter.

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A:
The growing Raleigh art scene is building, gradually, into a force that befits a modern state capitol. My favorite part(s) of the Raleigh art scene is VAE, CAM, and NCMA, and how they collaborate to bring out the best in local artists. 

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A:
My favorite downtown businesses are Trophy Brewing and Crank Arm Brewing.


projection

Napoleon Wright II
Keep Moving Forward - 407 Glenwood Ave

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A:
When I thought of this year and all that has happened, there were moments where I felt upset, frustrated, confused, and sometimes at a loss for words. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to approach this new reality, or how long it would last. We underestimate the power of putting one foot in front of the other during hard times. When you're going through it, it doesn't seem like you're making strides. But if you keep moving forward, you'll be surprised at the change it can bring, and how far you can go.

Q: What materials did you utilize to bring your installation to life? 
A:
Adobe After Effects / Cinema 4D S22.

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A:
That everybody has their own style. You can't teach that. 

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A:
I love Father & Son Antiques.


Brandon Cordrey
Monotony - 120 S Wilmington St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A:
I have been thinking a lot about how this pandemic makes it very hard to square the enormous loss we are all living through right now with the seemingly petty desire to complain about self-isolating. I say "two things can be true at the same time" a lot, but these two realities challenge the limits of that motto. This piece was the result of me thinking about how days just seem to blur by as the infection and death numbers continue to rise.

Q: What materials did you utilize to bring your installation to life? 
A:
I wanted to visually represent that some days are better than others (shiny gold cube) and you're able to contribute somehow, and other days we simply have to exist long enough to make it to the next sunrise (matte black cube). The video of the sun rising and setting is projected onto 1,000 paper bags because I couldn't think of anything more mundane than a paper bag.

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A:
VAE Raleigh, of course!

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A:
Raleigh Provisions for the win!


Lighted storefront

Robin Vuchnich
Whatever We Shoulder - 21 W Hargett St 

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A:
I was inspired to make this piece by the desire and opportunity to spark a little joy and play in Downtown.

Q: What materials did you utilize to bring your installation to life? 
A:
A projector, an old gen 1 Kinect, and OpenProcessing.

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A:
I value the friendship and community of the Raleigh art scene.

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A:
Sosta Cafe is always a go-to of mine. 


DRA's Illuminate Art Walk was created in partnership with VAE Raleigh and runs nightly through Jan. 8. A map and more information about the installation can be found here. If you have any questions or comments, please email communications@downtownraleigh.org.