Tag Archives: Street Art

[The Audiofiles] Enter The Intersection of Music and Art with’Life is Beautiful’ Visual Artists Charlotte Dutoit and Felipe Pantone

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For centuries, the idea of festival has conjured up ideas of celebration and admiration, overflowing happiness and dexterity among the arts; a literal feast for all of the senses. As the fine arts circle and intertwine with each other, there’s been an innate, inexplicable tie between music and the arts. Both works of passion, music paints our auditory experience in much the same way that a painter, sculptor or designer creates in the physical world. This year at Las Vegas’ fabled Life is Beautiful Festival, witness firsthand how music and art intersect on a higher plane.

Purchase Tickets for Life is Beautiful

Landing on the strip this weekend from September 23rd through the 25th, Life is Beautiful is back for their fourth consecutive year. In addition to an internationally respected group of musical acts across the breadth of the spectrum from Bassnectar, Flume, Major Lazer, Bob Moses, Chromeo, Zhu, Crystal Castles and so many more- the festival plays host to equally talented visual artists.   Curated and commissioned by the esteemed mind of Charlotte Dutoit, founder of the JUSTKIDS organization, Life is Beautiful has blossomed into a mecca for world renowned visual artists, featuring murals and installations from all over the globe as well. This weekend’s event will be highlighted by art tycoons including US grown Shepard Fairey of “Obey Giant” fame and Tristan Eaton, while corners of the globe from France, Japan, Spain, Norway, Poland and Argentina are represented with works from Fafi, Mark Drew, Dulk, Bezt from Etam Cru, Martin Whatson and Felipe Pantone respectively.

We were lucky enough to catch up with visionary mastermind Charlotte Dutoit and the kinetic contemporary magnate Felipe Pantone on their craft and influences, the creative process, music, art and all things in betwixt.

The head honcho on the art scene for Life is Beautiful, Charlotte Dutoit has perfected the art of curation. Charlotte has been with Life is Beautiful since its inception four years ago, applying her taste-making abilities to both the murals and installations programs. As founder of the JustKids organization, Charlotte has now even curated people – bringing together an exceptional network of otherworldly creatives, artists, designers and art consultants to collaborate on gallery shows and spaces for high profile clients.  Charlotte has created and designed spaces at first class US festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Coachella, internationally acclaimed events in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Berlin’s Urban Nation, not to mention – producing proper gallery shows in Puerto Rico, London, and Berlin.

What goes into curating a large scale event like Life is Beautiful?

Life Is beautiful takes almost a year of preparation. My job ranges from artistic visioning to hands on delivery. It includes the conception of the lineup, the team recruiting and supervision, the locations choice, the equipment and material logistic, the planning, the designing, the marketing, merchandising etc. Of course I am not alone, Life Is Beautiful is a perfect example of a spectacular team work. It’s a collaboration between very specific and specialized talents, and we learn a lot from each other every year.

If we took a walk into your home right now, whose art will we find?

Mostly new Contemporary Artist such as Borondo, Roa, Dates Farmers, Patrick Martinez, Daniel Arsham, Bicicleta Sem Freio, Alexis Diaz, Ana Maria, Saner, Cyrcle… And some Modern Artist like Carlos Cruz-Diaz.

What type of art do you find the most inspiring?

Art with a meaning, that provokes questions and challenges modern society and conventions. Art that brings new discussion toward the art.

Tell me a bit about the Justkids Organization, what drove you to create it and how does it inspire you?

Justkids is a creative house of artists, curators, art events creators and brand marketers. Together we produce, curate and manage art projects for institutions, cities, brands and private clientele. It’s a constant emulation between us and it’s allowed me to collaborate and work with the people I admire. That’s my fuel!

The Life is Beautiful Festival poses the perfect cohabitation of Live Art and Live Music; how does music inspire your work?

I am passionate about music since I was a kid. Actually, my first job in Paris was in the music production. So it’s of course it’s a pleasure to collaborate on a festival where the attendees are real music enthusiasts and culture lovers! Music is a source of inspiration and an infinite niche of references that I appreciate when I recognize them in art, could be in the aesthetic, in the message or in the attitude.

What’s your favorite genre of music?

Hip- Hop, Punk Rock, Electro, Folk…

Who’s in your headphones / stereo at the moment?

Kurt Vile

What’s the best live music show you’ve been to and how did that inspire you creatively?

Beastie Boys, Check Your Head Tour! It’s a piece of my childhood, the music I grew up on and I continue to listen. They brought so much coolness, new style and new energy that it’s a constant inspiration for me.

Which other artists on the lineup are you excited for?

Janes Addiction!

In the 21st century, it feels like everything is interconnected these days. How does social media enhance the artist experience and connect you to your fans (and peers)?

It’s a perfect to show a project from scratch to completion or to show the insight of our Art event. It’s also a good way to tell people where we are so the Art enthusiasts that live around can pass by to see it live. It’s a fantastic tool and we all took advantage of it to share on a global scene and it’s really worked for the Art.

As a writer, every once in a while I get writer’s block, and it comes with a pretty specific feeling attached. What does “curators block” feel like and how do you get over it?

It happens all the time and I have learned to deal with them now. It’s annoying when you have a dead-line but I don’t see block as a frozen state, they are entirely part of the creative process and the necessary space and breath to deliver the idea that will satisfy your goal and creativity.

 

Inspired to pick up a spray can at the ripe age of 12, Felipe Pantone firmly found his footing within the graffiti circuit and hasn’t looked back since.Currently a full time artist, Felipe crafts nearly 200 to 250 pieces a year between various mediums from graffiti and canvases to murals. Thematically, his work circles around modern methods of communication and the fast paced world we inhabit. Though you won’t be able to catch him personally at the festival, you’ll be able to marinate in the perspective shifting precision of his work. After Las Vegas he’ll be heading to Detroit, Tahiti, Mexico, Miami and finally back to Europe

 

What’s your preferred artistic medium and what other mediums do you dabble in. Will you be employing any new methods this event?

I always use spray paint. I studied fine arts so I learnt most of the common techniques and I figured that the best for me was the one that I started using as a kid to paint on walls. It’s the most versatile one. With the same tool I can paint from tiny little canvases to huge 10 stories walls. I’m trying something special for LIB, a sort of integration of my sculptural work with my mural.

When art is psychedelic and thought provoking, it deserves music that parallels – how does music influence your work?

I listen to music all the time when I’m working. From songwriters to indie when I’m at the studio, and electronic music mostly when I’m painting outside.

What influences the subject matter of your work?

I reflect on the present and the kind of life that I have. This feeling that a lot of people of my generation are experimenting nowadays. The fact that everything changes really quickly, that you can spend 12 hours on a plane and be on the other side of the planet, and still have a Skype meeting with you from. I try to live and understand the present through my work.

Would you say that your work fits into a particular art movement?

I’m part of the street-art scene since I come from painting on the streets. But street- art, if a movement, is a very loose one. There isn’t an ideology behind it. I wrote the “ULTRADYNAMIC MANIFESTO”, a new art movement, ha, ha. It was more like an exercise, trying to put on paper what I wanted to do. Of course I don’t follow it, I think these are times of dissolving tradition and staying away from collective thinking.

Have you ever done stage design, album, LP, EP or promo artwork for a musical artist? How does that collaboration process work?

I owned a records label for a little while. So I created art works and music videos for the artists. It was really cool since I had full control and they trusted me. I really enjoy these kind of collaborations when the musical artist control the music, and the visual artist control the visuals 🙂

What’s the last record your purchased?

Hmm, honestly it’s been a while. I have a Spotify subscription and I stream everything from there or Soundcloud. Probably the last album I bought is Tom Waits “Bad as Me”.

Who’s in your headphones / stereo at the moment?

El Último Vecino.

What’s the best live music show you’ve been to and how did that inspire you creatively?

I really enjoyed that Etienne de Crécy show where he played inside these big cubes and the projections were just amazing. I remember that being very inspiring.

As a writer, every once in a while I get writer’s block, and it comes with a pretty specific feeling attached. What does “artists block” feel like and how do you get over it?

I think that the more you do, the more creative you are, the more ideas you have, so I feel really good these days that I produce so much work. Always – something that you paint today inspires you for the next piece. When I get blocked, visiting museums and watching some of the masters’ works is really refreshing.

One thing I’ve found in life is the best things are usually shared; how do you feel about collaborating on your craft and how is the creative process enhanced when you’re surrounded by a collection of equally talented peers?

I have a couple of assistants and that makes things way easier. Somebody to share your concerns with, ask for second opinions… And of course also helps productivity wise and fun wise.

Make sure you give each area of the festival some proper attention, be prepared to be inspired and open your soul with every experience possible while at Life is Beautiful. For more on Charlotte, the JUSTKIDS Organization, Felipe Pantone and Life is Beautiful – head to their social media channels.

Charlotte Dutoit: Website  | Twitter | Instagram

JUSTKIDS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Felipe PantoneWebsite | Facebook | Vimeo| Instagram

Life is Beautiful: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

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[Oh, Snap] An Adventure Down The Gabba Gallery’s Animal Alley

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Hints of them are creeping around corners, lurking between alleyways while beautifying the backside of buildings, casually creating a sensation while transforming the world.   Some adorn the sides of old train cars or the underside of bridges, and others are more purposely placed, adding character to the communities around them with technicolor trickery and awe inspiring art work.

At this point, I have a pretty long list of my favorite things about Los Angeles  – but the art here is definitely one of them. This city is literally swimming in a sea of immensely talented artists that use a multitude of mediums, from lights to sculpture, mixed media, dance, theater and more but I’ve realized in the last five years that by in large when it comes to the types of art I truly enjoy – I have hearts for eyes for architecture and Graffiti. The creativity within the community bubbles over effervescently, adorning buildings in a similar tone to the hieroglyphs to ancient Egyptians, with a menagerie of talented artists with unique styles, focusing on spirituality, humanism, perspective and mountains of wisdom.

Back when I lived over in the Miracle Mile and Fairfax District, I was what I’d consider artistically spoiled: the alleyways behind the sorted shops all along Melrose and the Fame Yard sponsored by SportieLA boasted a bevvy of newly commissioned artwork, and I loved the juxtaposition of high end retail (well, let’s be honest…Melrose is pretty much every type of Retail) against a rich cacophony of freshly painted art.  The art scene was so big over there that you would see paintings that honestly looked like those huge plastered billboards on the wall across from Fairfax High School (/ and the Melrose Trading Post); but once you got up close and incredibly personal with the wall, you’d see the intricate details in their labor of love and realize how much raw talent went into it’s creation.

This past weekend with Daylight Savings Time rearing it’s incredibly stupid head, Danny and I took it upon ourselves to get into the mood by diving into one of my favorite seasonal rituals, Spring Cleaning. We went through each and every nook and crany of our apartment, and ended up donated or throwing away roughly 30% of what was in our closets!  On our way back from a quick jaunt to Koreatown, we realized we were right by The Gabba Gallery, which has been this proverbial, mythical creature of an art gallery to me.

Curated in tandem by gallery owner Jason Ostro and gallery manager Elena Jacobson, The Gabba Gallery plays host to talented local, national and internationally respected contemporary artists, honing in on the modernization of art through photography, sculpture, collage, mixed media, fine art, street art and design. You never know what you’re going to find at The Gabba Gallery, especially when you don’t even know it’s hours.  Right.  As it turns out, the venue opens for showings but doesn’t keep normal “9-5” hours every day of the week. After a bit of research, it looks like the Gallery is open either by appointment or by exhibit opening; so, there’s that.   The good news, is that right around the corner was an awe inspiring amount of art to explore in the freshly painted offshoot of The Gabba Gallery – Animal Alley!

Adorning the alleyways in Echo Park between Beverly, N Vendome and N Dillon St, Animal Alley is a collaborative public art installation that contains upwards of 80 murals by over 50 different artists.   The project has been underway since April of 2015 and finally came to completion this past December, featuring a wide variety of animal inspired artwork around each and every corner.

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For more on The Gabba Gallery, head to their socials:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Yelp | Tumblr

If you’d like to head straight to Animal Alley:

[Oh, Snap!] Street Art v20: Adventures Through Downtown LA

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When I moved to Eagle Rock almost a year ago, I knew that I’d be leaving behind a few things – some of which I’d miss more than others.  I definitely wasn’t going to miss the general lack of parking in the area or the amount of rush hour traffic you can get stuck in trying to drive three miles; but on the flip side, there was my proximity to West Hollywood, which brought with it a ridiculous amount of shopping and a menagerie of awesome restaurants, the amazing hipster watching at the Melrose Trading Post and last but certainly not least: the fact that my backyard was essentially the Melrose + Fairfax district, a mecca of the underground arts community that’s rarely spoken of. Sure, the area boasts a good amount of shopping – but in this case, aimed at ballers on a budget like myself and full of fresh street fashion, mirroring the often mind blowing and socially conscious graffiti that ebbed and flowed around their walls.

Once I was relieved of my bubble, I realized that though my area was overflowing with culture and art – so was every other area of LA!  Now that I’ve lived here for almost seven years, and in several different parts of the city – I’ve experienced so many unique pockets of creativity that I’ve realized they must be hidden in every nook and cranny here.  Out further West in Venice, Street Art runs rampant and it’s heavily strewn through Silver Lake and Echo Park all the way into the Arts District of downtown.  The following pictures were collected over the last few months while gallivanting through downtown on urban safaris with my partner in crime; enjoy!

[Oh, Snap] Street Art v19

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Yesterday afternoon, Danny and I took to the downtown arts district / Little Tokyo in search of some All You Can Eat Sushi; a personal favorite, plus the only way to really rock and roll if you’re hankering for a stomach full of sushi. After scavenging the streets and actually almost exiting downtown, we nestled into Zip Sushi on 3rd and for 25 each plus tax, we got our nom on in a huge way. To be honest, I’m still a tad full 😸.

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The great thing about the arts district, is no matter your intended destination – whether you’re looking for it or not, you’re going to stumble across awesome street art and chances are it’ll knock you socks right off. Here are some of our favorite captures from yesterday; enjoy!

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[The Audiofiles] LIB ’14: Let The Beauty We Love Be What We Do

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“Let the beauty you love be what you do;
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the Earth”
Rumi

DJ Tennis at the Woogie

Dirt Devil Sized Woogies

Between the epic amounts of live music and menagerie of performers – from stilt walkers to fire dancers and back to the artists live painting  as part of The Do Art Foundation’s ‘Lightning in a Paintcan‘, the Lightning in a Bottle music festival has consistently and gracefully walked a thin line between Burning Man, where the festival draws it’s transformative inspiration, and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where The Do Lab’s been curating their own bass heavy, freak friendly stage for the past decade.  Originally held in the sprawling Live Oak Campground in Santa Barbara where Lucidity Festival has been located for the last several years, Lightning in a Bottle’s been jumping around Southern California from Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado in ’10 to Lake Skinner in Winchester for last year’s festival – all in search of a location they can continue to call home; and with the new location situated halfway plush in the hills of Monterey County between their devoted underground music communities of the Bay Area and Los Angeles  – it feels like they’ve finally found it on the North Shore of Lake San Antonio.

This guy was doing it right.

As with any year, this location wasn’t without it’s challenges – this wasn’t a festival that happened to have a camping option, this was a pretty rough and rugged camping trip that seemed to organically create a music festival inside of itself; and unlike previous years, the camping was intertwined with the festival grounds.  So, whether this was your first LIB or your third – everyone was met with new environmental challenges. Some people came prepared to let loose at a festival for five days, and just happened set up some tents while they did it – others came prepared to really rough it and set up camp for the weekend and happened to enjoy a festival while doing so.

As we waited in line for the mass exodus on Monday afternoon, dirt stained smiles and glistening eyes gave away the Thursday crowd that’d planned for Lightning in a Bottle for months – alternatively, complaints of heat exhaustion, distances to the stages paired with an overall lack of filth emanated from attendants that showed up with a last minute ticket Saturday morning unprepared for the mayhem and the magic. From Thursday when the majority of campers arrived through Monday afternoon when the majority left, we dealt with a high of 100°, a low of 49° (thats more than a 50° shift) and winds of up to 34 mph. If you were there, take a moment and brush that dirt off your shoulders – because there’s an actual chance with all those dust storms and dirt devils that there’s just a little bit still left over somewhere from the weekend, no matter how many times you shower or do laundry.  For those of you that have attended Burning Man, you’re well aware that the weather conditions at Lightning in a Bottle are nothing to joke at – and are at par, if not slightly more intense than last year’s Playa conditions.

Though held at Lake San Antonio, the lake was dry and the lake beds were converted into expansive camping space as well as two renegade stages – The Ditch, and The Drift; the former of which was hosted by Distrikt and now has it’s own Facebook page and the later was basically in my front yard and hosted surprise sunrise sets from the Desert Dwellers and Random Rab.  And for those that are still feeling the hills in their legs and thighs – there’s another reason to pat yourself on the backs, earlier this month on the South Side of Lake San Antonio, the Wildflower Triathlon was held for it’s 32nd year in a row.
Formerly a Chumash Reservation, Lake San Antonio is currently 30 miles from both a Recruiting station as well as an Army Base. Unbeknownst to festival attendants, residents of Bradley were given free entrance to the festival so they could experience the event firsthand and jump to their own conclusions about our intentions.  The second night of the festival, a rugged older gentlemen with an adorably welcoming olive green yoda beanie stumbled into my campsite and sat down with my friends and I.  After a small and socially awkward conversation, we realized that not only was he a resident of Bradley – but a US Army Vet with a conservative viewpoint and at that very moment time – a staunch representation of the reason transformational festivals are so important:

Well, I showed up in my camouflage hunting cap but that felt so out of place, so after looking around at the vendors I found something I was excited to wear – I lean to the right, but I have some real right wing friends and I can’t wait to show it off around them.

I didn’t know people could be so wonderful.  Originally, I didn’t want the festival here because I thought it would be a group of ignorant kids trashing the environment.  ” He admitted, “But now that I’m here, I see people throwing away their trash and looking after one another. This is a special group of individuals. There’s amazing live music, and the art! There’s so much art being created and being explored; I hope they have LIB here again next year, but if they don’t – I still want to go, and I’ll even pay for it.”

The Courtyard / Giggle Juice Cafe

The three main stages of the weekend – The Lightning Stage, The Bamboo Stage and The Woogie – each had such a unique feel and draw, which brought about three different types of musical crowds. Back at the road, back where the festival land starts is the Bamboo Stage – let’s think of this as your ‘One Night Stand’ or ‘Spring Fling’. You go there for a reason: you want to get your head warped and you feel an overwhelming urge to get hit with an epic bass drop; it hits hard, it’s sexy, it wobbles, shakes, can get sweet for a second but overall – the Bamboo stage is pure debauchery.

What So Not

 

 

Baauer

 

From the time Filabusta opened the stage at noon on Friday until the final set on Sunday, when The Gaslamp Killer gave everyone a lesson in Low End Theory as he hit them with the sound of an Earthquake – what happened at the Bamboo Stage was unprecedented, revolutionary and magical. Sunday afternoon was the hottest day of the festival both temperature wise (99) and musically.  From start to finish, the stage was stacked and hosted the surprise set of the whole weekendstarting with  Late Night Radio opening to a rapidly growing crowd.  There might be a limited dancing, but believe me, each and every last inch of shade was taken up by an eager crowd that didn’t care about a dancefloor.  Plantrae followed the only way he knew how, a melodic dubstep set layered with a live electric violin – the skills!   Other notable sets of the weekend came from What So Not, Cashmere Cat, who turned up the sexy on Saturday night, and Baauer who payed proper tribute to the Rap and Hip-Hop influences so readily heard in EDM.

 

Beats Antique Closing the Lightning Stage

The Lightning Stage is the ‘Long term, Serious Relationship’ stage: It’s moving, emotional, light hearted, romantic – but serious, committed (And if it’s Amon Tobin, it can be straight aggressive).  And just as anything emotionally important, the stage was tucked deep into the heart of the festival and was chalk full of emotionally moving music all weekend long.  Between amazing live experiences from Norwegian trio Kraak & Smaak, The Do Lab’s own Lucent Dossier Experience, Chet Faker and Phantogram as well as headlining sets from Gramatik and Gold Panda; each and every artist told a story, strung together beautifully and deliberately.

On Friday night, Moby threw a party straight out of a rave 5 years ago – as we shimmied up to the stage,  Infinity 2008 (Klauss Remix): Guru Josh Project: was blaring from the speakers – a bouncy, fun moment – but not what I had in mind when I chose LIB.  On Saturday, Amon Tobin threw an exceptionally well DJed party for himself and didn’t seem to mind that literally no one in the crowd was moving a muscle to the heavy, aggressive and industrial Drum & Bass tracks.  In contrast, The Polish Ambassador’s Sunset set on Friday night had everybody movin’ and groovin’ to his fresh beats, including the jumpsuited passe he habitually brings on stage with him and Beats Antique closed the festival with a visually stunning performance, getting the entire crowd – including local police officers – to get weird with friends and neighbors alike as they danced their cares away for one last night.

The Polish Ambassador at Sunset

Last but definitely not least, just a hop, skip and a jump across “The Ditch” – there’s that Woogie – your little sultry, sexy, little thing on the side where you go when you want to dance your cares away. From noon til midnight, Friday through Sunday, the Woogie was movin’ and groovin’ to deliciously deep house thanks to a brand new sound system from Pure Groove Audio.

Simian Mobile Disco holding down the Woogie

As the torch was passed from Los Angeles resident Tara Brooks to Maxxi Soundsystem and the bassline for ‘Regrets We Have No Use More’ came on, the dance floor exploded in energy; only to be topped by DJ Tennis, Damian Lazarus and the Dirtybird legend himself, Sir Claude VonStroke.  The jams continued into Sunday night where Lee Burridge played an All Day I Dream Set during the final sunrise and Simian Mobile Disco whipped up a seductive, old school set and reminded the crowd why they’re one of the best DJ duos in the business; simply put – if we ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat’, they ‘Wake Up, Make Dope Music, Go To Sleep’

 

One thing I found – even though my days and nights were packed with activity, I felt like I both saw it all and saw absolutely nothing of the camp grounds.  On the first night during Ryan Hemsworth’s set at the Bamboo Stage, we jumped on the shuttle to Camp 13 (The RV Camp), because….well….just because – and it let us see just how expansive the festival grounds really were; absolutely astounding.If you had time between sets, you could wander into the vendor area to ease your hunger pains or get your fix of adorable festival worthy gear including Spirit Hoods, Jammy Packs, Electro Fur and amazing jewelry from the team at Third Eye Pinecones. As far as food was concerned, it’s a camping trip – so it’s always recommended to bring your own.  That said, the event offered some amazing food options ranging from Vegan to Vegetarian, and even Pescetarian if you were lucky enough to find the mouth watering sushi.  Between the breakfast burritos, seaweed salad, pizza fresh from the Do Lab’s Dough Lab that I’d gladly purchase any day of the week and smoothies – you could have your cake and eat it, too.  I’m all for conscious eating, so this was a great time to actively engage in the practice – but at the end of the trip, all I could think about was bacon.  Next year, if my camp plans a little better – we’ll just bring our own bacon, cook it – and add it to the breakfast burrito; hunger problem, solved.

Though it wasn’t as heavily advertised as the main lineup, other stages boasted smaller, but equally talented musical acts. San Francisco’s Silent Frisco hosted an after hours silent disco for the event once the main stage music had ended. San Diego’s Vokab Company and The Herbert Bail Orchestra wowed The Grand Artique – another alternative source of music for the weekend.  One wandering through the area was enough to delight and amuse the festival at large – with a mock election for Mayor, and a hidden speakeasy with some deliciously free pickle bottoms if you happened to know the password, or Joaquin Murrietta.

During the day, The Temple hosted talks from Bashar and Lucent Dossier Experience creator and Lightning in a Bottle co-founder Dream Rockwell.  Author Daniel Pinchbeck spoke on his book ‘Breaking Open The Head’ – a personal favorite’, Moby gave his thoughts on art as therapy and Youtube creator Chad Hurley divulged his secret recipe for following your dreams. Each night after the speeches were over, the venue hosted music – Wildlight – the emotive sideproject from The Polish Ambassador and Ayla Nereo – wowed the crowd early Saturday morning.  Sunday evening the was curated by up and coming Los Angeles locals, The Luminaries who brought in The Human Experience to close with a moving set on Sunday morning.

Wildlight at The Temple

 

Beyond the large, ornate and often fire engulfed art sculptures – thanks to The Do Art Foundation, easels scattered throughout Lake San Antonio filled with color as the festival grounds filled with happy campers.  A menagerie of local artists, including Vyal, Andrew Knights, Anthony West and Max Neutra, used inspiration from the festival to create paintings displayed at a showcase Sunday night of the festival, fully equipped with a silent auction. All proceeds go directly to the artists and a small percentage will go to supporting the public arts through the foundation, run by The Do Lab.

“This was my second year live painting at LIB and once again I was blown away by the amount of love and dedication that goes into LIB. Painting at LIB allows me to paint in a wonderful setting, converse with strangers about a variety of subjects and consequently feel true connectedness, spirituality and healing. When I paint I try to put the feeling of the music or talk into my work! Last year my painting evolved with the music I heard from the two stages I was I between. This year I positioned myself by the temple of consciousness and my painting slowly evolved into a psychedelic mandala! My surroundings inspire the direction of my work! I love how LIB allows me to push my work into new frontiers. The energy at the festival is my souls food!” – Andrew Knights

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Andrew Knghts with wife Amanda by his finished masterpiece

On Monday afternoon, as the temperature crawled past 100 – and everyone, for lack of a better term, was miserable.  As I looked around, I thought of everything  could do – I asked the Do Lab to turn the hoses back on, but they were busy – and rightfully so – trying to delicately tear down the Woogie. So I did the only thing that came to mind – grabbed a friend, unloaded squirt guns from our luggage, reloaded them with water and aimed them at the three hour line waiting for a shuttle that felt like it would never come.  Slowly, a collection of unspoken frustrated faces instantly lit up with excitement as they were drenched with some of the free water that was provided to the camps all weekend. A two person team became an eight person army, filling misters and hoses – bringing about smiles and laughs, camaraderie and community.

For five days – we camped under stars and a clear sky, told our darkest secrets to strangers and our deepest dreams to friends, laughed at the sight of bubbles and cried when we ran into an unexpected friend. We’ll always light up when ever we hear the words ‘Woogie’, ‘Drift Party’ or ‘Picklebacks’ and howling as the sun goes down might become second nature.  We weathered dust storms and heat waves with smiles on our faces and a bounce in our step.  Whether we met or not, if you were at Lightning in a Bottle – we’re forever bonded by this event.

As we left our beautiful, blissful weekend to returned to reality Monday evening, we were all confronted with current, tragic events in Santa Barbara.  For those of you that are new to the LIB Family, the festival community and the and Santa Barbara are incredibly close knit –  the Live Oak Campground where Lucidity Festival was held this past year played host to Lightning in a Bottle back from ’06 to ’08.  This past weekend was a beautiful, necessary and touching reminder that humanity at its core is wonderful, creative, giving and ever evolving. We build communities and families together, we help our weak and empower our strong. we dance with friends and laugh with strangers, we battle the elements and wish on stars.

We aren’t trying to say that it was the perfect conditions for the festival, but I’d like to argue that it was the perfect storm. The dry lake beds were more than we bargained for, but where some people lamented the exercise – others gleefully ran across, some holding hands, others  balancing ornate sculptures on their chins or giving their friends a piggy back ride – and some of us, including myself, had dance parties in the middle of the ditch and made new friends.  We’re a problem solving community that works together, in the moment, to find the best solution.  We’re strong, charismatic, energetic and whimsical with a lead by example attitude where no stranger is left behind.  Strangers instantly evolve into a camp, a tribe – a family.  People watch out for each other with flashlights, buy two drinks instead of one because they know if they’re thirsty – someone else has to be, too.

Every single person at Lightning in a Bottle – from your best friend to your camp neighbors, stilt walkers to the burlesque show at Amori’s Casino, the painters from ‘Lightning in a Pantcan’, costumed actors who stayed in character all weekend and the musicians themselves – each and every individual has a unique gift to share with the world. And we’ve proudly staked our claim as an empathetic band of weird and wacky humans just itching for our chance to give back.

As with any collective, as humans – we’re only as strong as our weaknesses; the time is now to explore your gifts and give back to the community that’s provided your personal inspiration.  It’s not the ‘Maybe Lab’ – it’s the Do Lab; do it with love, and do it now – there’s a whole family of people that can’t wait to see what happens next.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead

 

Sunrise Set: Desert Dwellers with some Ditch Dwellers

Speakeasy!

My Loves

 

Hosed Down during Plantrae

A huge thank you to The Do Lab, The Confluence, the Do Art Foundation and the extended Lightning in a Bottle family for such a  beautiful weekend. For every dollar donated to the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, The Do Lab will match the donation.  Please visit The Chumash Sanctuary Website for more information.

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The Do Lab: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud | Youtube

Photography Credit: Daniel Leist