Thursday, October 13, 2016

MORPHOS Artist-in-Residence Program 2016

Fulldome and VR artist residency @ the Denver & Fort Collins planetariums
Pictures taken at the Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
and the Otterbox Digital Dome Planetarium at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery 
During the 2016 MORPHOS Artist-in-Residence program.

Intensive educational components focusing on 4K Fulldome and 360 VR content creation.
Workshops included; 360 video, dome management, real-time dome visuals, Unity for VR, 360 content in Blender, 360 audio, programming & interactivity using Arduino & Processing.
Final Project; Five-minute-long 3D animation rendered in 4K for Fulldome theatres with the intention to continue production for future virtual reality release

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

Interview 03/01/2015 - CAVA Artist Spotlight

CAVA Artist Spotlight

Drake Arnold

Compiled by Seth Snowden

In solidarity with CAVA: bringing the love out of people, intentions to inspire, bringing light to Drake’s work, and shining awareness on the play of shadow in our work as “Visionary Artists”… May inspiration come to the reader, and the desire to create in any form, as well as the encouragement to look with full honesty at who we are and what we are doing here.

This month’s featured artist, Drake Arnold, is an amazing being, oscillating between a very high party-animal energy, and a calm-introspection, always creative. When in his presence, it’s hard not to feel inspired to be a better person. His demeanor encourages those around him to release whatever is being held back and honor the urges that come through the soul naturally, rather than trying to be anything in particular. I have seen so many people shower this man with their love, and I have not heard a single bad word about him (except maybe in jest from his own mouth).

With an accumulating fan base and an increasing passion for live painting, Drake displays a prolific craftsmanship, utilizing both the serious and the playful, the light and the shadow. Acrylics and spray paint elevate his recent works in an interesting multi-media expression, bridging ideas and techniques from drawing and cartoon styles into his visionary painting practice. His work honors a love of animals and sacred geometry, and revels in deeply significant ideas about his views of the world and of himself in relation to it.

There is a deep and piercing honesty to his personal way of presenting himself to the world. I wish you could hear this man’s laugh through this interview. Even in the moments where we touched upon the more diminished and less confident sides of his personality, still there were those full-hearted, soul cleansing laughs of his, keeping the air clear to facilitate movement through the many facets of being a human. There is such medicine to be had in Drake’s words and viewpoints.

Drake’s inspiration from his older brother (a sort of mentor to him) started his creative journey, fueling what is now a self-proclaimed “selfish pursuit” and compulsion toward art making:

“I gotta do something with my time, so I’d rather do something that actually gives back to me.”

Second-hand encounters with mortality contributed to Drake’s creative drive. As with many artists, his earlier works explored more towards darkness, expressing the “bad things” in him, giving a voice to the “release of negative emotions.” This seems a fairly common thread in the artistic voyage, being that we must press through our darker, uglier parts in the search for visual beauty in our work, bringing the added benefits of contrast into our life aesthetic. The uncertainty and fragility of life is a concept of obviously great depth - one most of us will sift through during the entire span of this life. The consideration of such is enough to shock us into really valuing our time here and utilizing the moment we do have, now, to create something meaningful, however we may gauge that.

“A lot of what brought up the mortality thing for me has to do with losing loved ones. It was really a noticeable thing for me after I lost a loved one. Before that I used to just play video games and drink Mountain Dew all day. Immediately after I realized how crazy I was living my life, my shift immediately went from enjoying life’s simple little things, like playing Xbox, to ‘Holy crap man! I have to do something important in my life!’, and the only thing I cared about in this life at the time was making drawings, really.”
We begin the session with discussing Drake’s intentions and early inspirations as an artist:

DA—“Art, it’s a way for me to try to take ideas I’m having, thoughts and feelings, that I can’t really express in words, and barf it out onto a canvas. I never had any lofty intentions with my art ever, until more recently. My art has changed so much over the years. Originally approaching the craft, the first things to come through were very dark. It seemed what I enjoyed creating pictures of, was violence, death, terrible things. And at some point in my life I finally decided that’s not what I want to be doing anymore. When I made that shift, it really helped to actually let me start art again in a fresh and new way.”

“My intentions as an artist these days I have turned over to serve a better purpose than my own self-pity or whatever. It sounds kind of bogus and lofty to me to inspire other people with my artwork, even though it would be awesome, I’d love that! But I guess really at the end of the day it’s still a selfish pursuit for me. It’s something I have to do. I just gotta do it, I don’t even know how to explain it, compulsion. I’ve somehow managed to make the compulsion go in a better direction than it used to. I get so inspired by other peoples’ artwork I can see how someone might get inspired by mine, but it’s not necessarily my intention, it’s just still a release, now just releasing the love instead of the negativity.”

SS—“Within what you have mentioned about the earlier darkness of your art, do you feel like there’s a sort of progression of the soul that you’ve gone through? Would you say that’s a healthy and usual process for artists, to move through the dark and work toward our illumination?”

DA—“Absolutely, I would never change a thing. I would have never become the person I am today and the person I continue to try to become if it weren’t for all of the worst things that have happened to me in life. I value and cherish those things because without them I wouldn’t be anything, really. I think the worst things in my life that have happened have also been the things that made me be a freak about constantly spending my time as carefully as I can and trying to produce… artwork, in whatever medium, whether it be playing the guitar, or singing, or making a cartoon or something. It’s these bad things that make you realize how precious your time is here.”

“It might be a selfish pursuit, art… It might be a really powerful pursuit. I think of it as powerful whenever I think of other people doing it. A lot of great artists have shaped the world into a better place. It just seems selfish whenever I think of it in terms of myself. I’m like ‘What am I doing with my life!? I could go become a veterinarian and save little animals’ lives.’ (*Hahah*) I can think of about a million different ways I could be a productive and contributing member of society, and instead I’m just being a bum sitting here painting pictures, but I guess I could see somewhere how it could help someone maybe.”

“I don’t know… it’s funny, I feel like the dark, brooding artist is a stereo type, that’s something I always thought an artist was when I was a kid - some weirdo that cuts their ear off and drinks too much, some sort of tragic figure. Becoming older I’ve realized that it doesn’t need to be like that. (*laughs hysterically*) You can do really well for yourself and for others, you don’t have to choose to be miserable.”

SS—“Can you speak more about your ‘compulsion as an artist’, where that comes from and what you view it as now?”

DA—“It’s funny, I’ve tried to quit painting a couple times in the last couple years, like ‘Man, I am so fed up with this crap! Screw this I’m never painting again, I hate this!’ (*Laughter*) And then begrudgingly here I am again, painting a picture the next day because I feel like it’s something I have to do. Frustrating and happy at the same time, serendipitous maybe, a happy circumstance, a happy mysterious coincidence, for whatever reason.”

“I feel like I’ve got this weird forced relationship with art. Not just painting really, you can do anything creatively, as long as you’re following your passion. It’s this weird thing that I feel like I have to do it, whether I even want to or not.”

“One way of looking at it is that it’s a way you can transcend your own physical self. You give life to the next generation. That’s your contribution. Whether I’m producing… anything at all, I feel like I’m having my kid and giving back something that might survive longer than me. Somehow it seems like that’s an influential factor in every human decision: What are we here for? What are we going to leave behind? What was the point of any of this?”

“The older I get, the more I realize it has really nothing to do with producing artwork. It has a lot more to do with making meaningful relationships with people and choosing to spend your time in these ways. But I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. I don’t see why you can’t kick ass and make a bunch of cool art while you live and also have some really cool bonds with people too.”

SS—“On the note of making connections, what are your views of live painting? What is the impact and potential of it?”

DA—“It’s like a bonanza of energy going in and out (*hands making an energetic in-and-out motion*). I’ve live painted to a lot of different music, and it’s especially when it’s one of my favorite bands that it’s just the coolest thing in the world. The hard part is trying to keep my brush steady while I’m dancing like a madman! I love dancing and painting, the music adds such an interesting energy to it. It almost makes me approach painting in a different way at times.”

“I came into live painting from going to music festivals, watching people blow my mind with incredible artwork, it was so radically inspiring. It really helped to shift me from what I was doing at the time, like, ‘these people are getting out there and doing their thing. It’s amazing! I want to be a part of this!’ I was just painting at small shows around town in Fort Collins and was pretty damn surprised honestly when I got accepted to paint at the first music festival, which was this last summer’s Groove festival. It gave me the confidence to keep applying for different ones, bigger ones. It’s so inspiring to get the external feedback. It’s been great since then. I’ve done a bunch of them, but I’m still fresh into it.”

“It’s cool as an audience member as well. I attend these things whether I’m painting at them or not. I just dig the scene, and I love it. As an audience member, it adds a really cool element to the scene. It’s just one more thing that you can get inspired and captivated by. As a painter or an audience member, it’s an awesome energy exchange of giving and getting. I feel like it’s a really positive thing.”

SS—“Can you speak more of your envisioning/ideation process for your work?”

DA—“Most of my paintings are ideas for a couple months before they’re on the canvas. Usually, it’ll be something that comes at me all at once, and I’ll have this idea of a concept or a feeling or an emotion. I’ll take this idea and mull it over for a few months in my mind, refine this vision and think about what it really means to me. At least that’s what I’ve been doing the last few years.”

“Lately, I’ll try to take ideas that are important to me, and represent them visually. I conceptualize some way to show an idea that doesn’t necessarily have a visual iconography. How do you take this feeling and give it some kind of visual vocabulary to where the viewer can see it, relate, and understand your feeling and emotions, instantly?”

SS—“Do you ever experience a shortage of ideas or motivation for creating? If so, are there any practices in specific you feel would be valuable in sharing with us?”

DA—“I notice I can really only focus on one major idea at a time, representing what is important to me in that time. If I feel bored or uninterested, like I need a break, then I’ll do fluffy goofball things that don’t mean as much to me, as a way to practice and keep fresh. If I’m at a hold then I’ll just go back to the same thing I’ve always loved doing, which is like drawing goofy cartoon animals, silly things. It’s important that my artwork means a lot to me, but at the same time, not every painting has to be a masterpiece and not every painting has to mean something. Sometimes I like to paint really goofy shit for no reason, like hotdogs and T-Rex. It’s a good way to keep it light, keep practicing, and keep your chops up. And ironically, the most important painting I ever do is whenever I’m not attached to the painting and just don’t care about it.”

“That’s where I learn the most honestly, those smaller in-between pieces. I learn the most about painting whenever I’m not attached and I can do whatever I want to do and it doesn’t matter. Then I can take those ideas and refine them into my bigger painting that I spend more time on.”

SS—“What are your views on CAVA?”

DA—“CAVA is a really special thing. It’s so amazing and inspiring to feel like you’re part of a community of artists. I probably didn’t realize before how important this was for me until recently. To have a feeling of community that you get to share your work with. It is so empowering. For most of my life as an artist, I’ve never had a specific audience or anybody who had similar tastes to share my work with, or to be able to see other people’s work in a similar field to my own. I’ve never been as connected with other artists in my entire life as I am right now. And a huge part of that has been moving to Colorado and getting to know the visionary community out here. There’s hundreds of us, literally hundreds of us in Colorado. It’s ludicrous!”

“Out here it’s nothing but visionary artists and glass blowers, crazy people, young entrepreneurs chasing the dream and making their life happen for them. It’s been incredibly inspiring and uplifting to see real life success stories of people following their dreams and making it happen.”

“David and Aloria are like the nicest people on Earth. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know them better. It was a very special thing to hear them give a lecture at COSM. Hearing them tell their life story, giving me such a deeper appreciation for them and their work. Their creation, CAVA, gives a healthy sense of comradery. We get to feed off each other, and you get to ‘do you’. That’s the best part of art. Everyone seems very supportive of helping everyone refine what it is that they love.”

SS—“Final words of inspiration to those interested in your craft?”

DA—“Shoot, if you’re interested, write me, get a hold of me, let’s hang out sometime. Half the joy I’ve discovered of artwork is people want to get involved. I’ve met so many new friends through doing this work and I love it. I encourage people if they care, hit me up, let’s kick it. We can write each other, we can be pen pals, I don’t care. (*laughs*) I like people. I’ve got Facebook and Instagram, a website, and all this crap. People can find me on the internet anywhere, everywhere. I try to put stuff out there. If people are interested, more power to ‘em, I’m interested back. Let’s talk about it.” (*Giant smiles*)

“As far as final words of wisdom or inspiration go, art for me is what makes me happy personally. As long as you’re following your own dream and are doing what makes you happy, then it’s hard to say that you’re going to have very many regrets at the end of your life. So do what you love to do, and you never know your dreams may come true for you.”

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Interview 12/23/2014 - Stolen Painting from Hulaween

This interview was taken from; 

How a Viral Facebook Post Recovered This Missing Painting
Drake Arnold and his painting at Suwannee Hulaween
Drake Arnold and his painting at Suwannee Hulaween
An uplifting example of the power of social media
Giver of Light (in progress)

When I saw Drake Arnold’s Facebook post saying his painting Giver of Light had been stolen, I remembered being captivated by it at Suwannee Hulaween. It stood alone so I didn’t get the chance to acquaint myself with the artist, but I saw the post because it was shared by a friend who’d also been to the festival.

I felt dismay and disappointment hearing that this happened at what had been such a beautiful fest (and knowing that it happens at other fests, too). So when I saw the painting again at Bear Creek Music Festival, back in the hands of its creator, I was delighted and intrigued. I wanted to know how it had found its way home.

I spoke to Drake and learned that the Facebook post had actually played a big part in the painting’s return, a bigger part than even he thought it would.

“I kind of assumed my post would get shared five or ten times by my closest friends and family. The response my post received was incredibly humbling. It was shared 436 times in just a couple of days and has a total reach of over 50,000 people,” he said.

Eventually one of those shares reached the person who had taken the painting, a man in Illinois who messaged Drake and explained he’d been trying to help, not cause trouble.

“He said that he found it all alone and unattended late at night and he assumed it had been left behind or forgotten,” said Drake, “so he brought it home with him to Illinois.”

Drake had left the painting in the “Spirit Lake” area of the festival — which was decked out in art installations of all sorts — because he “would rather have people enjoy it than to just have it put away in [his] car or tent for the night.” When he came back a few hours later to pick it up, it was gone.

He offered the man who messaged him a reward for the safe return of his painting, and he got it back just before Bear Creek, about 10 days after it went missing from Suwannee Hulaween (both fests are held at the same venue, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla.). In return he sent six prints of his artwork.

He then shared another post announcing the painting’s return and thanking the online community for its help.

“I feel like the luckiest man in the world, to know that we have so many hundreds of badass, incredible, amazing people who have each other’s back like that. The fact that so many of you stepped up and shared that status and reached out to help, whether you have ever even met me before or not, is mind blowing.”

Drake was also grateful for the chance to complete Giver of Light, which was “nowhere near finished” at the time it was taken. He’d been working on it for six weeks, and continues to do so now.

“I was mostly hurt that I would never get the chance to truly finish this piece. … [I]t was really sad for me to see this unfinished project that I had great plans for, that I had been spending all this love and time on just disappear without at least getting to see it through to completion,” Drake said.

It was inspired by a friend named Katey, whom Drake had depicted in a previous painting called To Shed Light or Cast Shadows. When that work was complete, he felt the painting portrayed his friend in a negative light. He wanted to create another work that showed her best human qualities. “Someone bursting forth with light and love, honesty and freedom,” he said.

Drake is convinced he wouldn’t have gotten his painting back without Facebook. “I have so much love and gratitude for the people who helped me get my painting back. I have no doubt in my mind that I would never have seen that painting again if it wasn’t for the help of Facebook and the online community.”

Several people have expressed interest in purchasing Giver of Light, though it is still a work in progress. He hopes it will be completed within two months. To inquire about this and other works you can visit Drake’s website or like his Facebook page

From Drake's 2014 ARISE Music Festival artist statement:

“I’m just a human being, interpreting and expressing my existence through whatever means seem most desirable at the time. Mine is just one perspective out of the endlessly vast ocean of humanity’s infinite potential.”
Drake Arnold - Art & Music on Facebook

Thandiwe Ogbonna is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. She writes for The Untz, and has written for,, and Home Grown Music Network. Tweet to her, @ThandiWay, and tell her about your next great event.