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The Artists of Illuminate: Part 2


The Artists of Illuminate: Part Two


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!

swan dive

Danielle James 
Swan Dive - 309 W Martin St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A: I had a great meeting with the folks at High Tide Salon over zoom before Christmas and they showed me their vision for the salon. Colors, textures, and lighting were used as reference for the final neon design. High Tide’s slogan “Dive In Head First” felt like a great place to start and we had bounced around Art Deco as a visual inspiration. 

Q: What materials did you use to bring your installation to life? 
A: My piece is made from painted and finished wood and three different colors of neon glass. 

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A
: My favorite part of the Triangle art scene is the Fruit in Durham. It is currently where I have my neon studio set up and it's vital to the creative culture of Durham and Raleigh.

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A
: My favorite Downtown Raleigh business is The Roast Grill! It is a Raleigh institution and makes me feel like going back in hot dog time. I also love the tootsie roll at the end of every meal. 


Darc.eee

Derrick Beasley 
DARC.EEE - 150 Fayetteville St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A: My installation was inspired by our society's general focus on technology as the answer to our various crises. I do believe that through the intentional use of technological advancements, we can move to a more just and ecologically harmonious world. 

Q: What materials did you use to bring your installation to life? 
A: My portal was created with a wooden frame, steel plating, and moss. 

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A
: My favorite part of the art scene in the Triangle is how artists of color and particularly Black artists move out of support rather than scarcity. 

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A
: If I had to choose a favorite, I'd probably say Sir Walter Coffee because they helped fuel me while creating this installation and they enforced safe practices considering Covid concerns. 


rainglow art piece

Katie Stewart 
Rainglow - 401 Fayetteville St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?
A: I was inspired by the Dolly Parton quote "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." Creating has been a cathartic way of processing the myriad of emotions I've experienced during the pandemic and to push through quarantine fatigue. Building this installation reinforced the fact that this pandemic will not last forever and we can emerge from this storm together to see the rainbow.

Q: What materials did you use to bring your installation to life? 
A: The materials I used in Rainglow are hand-dyed indigo cotton fabric using shibori techniques, LED lights, paper lanterns, recycled poly-fill batting, and a metric ton of hot glue.

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene?
A
: I love that the Triangle art scene is filled to the brim with talented creatives but is also small enough that it feels personal and like a community.

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business? 
A
: I can't decide between Edge of Urge and Oak City Cycling. They are both so awesome. 


light art

Matt McConnell
Evolution Field - 301 Fayetteville St

Q: What inspired you to create your Illuminate installation?  
A
: Evolution Field is inspired by the layering of color and how subtle differences in form create new experiences as you move around it. It is a reflection on the complexity of layering energy and relationships, which shift with only the slightest change. The three elements presented here are prototypes for a much larger grant recipient artwork for Burning Man. The final piece will add interactivity through the use of custom programming and motion sensors, activating waves of color in the lighting as the density of people around it increases. 

Q: What materials did you utilize to bring your installation to life? 
A
: Aluminum, LED lighting systems, and Arduino-based development boards. 

Q: What's your favorite part of the Raleigh or Triangle art scene? 
A
: I really love the diversity in vision and the drive for exploration. All disciplines are well represented and everyone is extremely passionate about contributing to the community.

Q: What is your favorite Downtown Raleigh business?
A
: Humble pie for sure. It serves as a perfect gathering space for friends and family for 20+ years.


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.