Saturday, June 5, 2010

High Voltage Art- science and painting

Electricity is often something taken for granted. A switch is turned on and we get a glowing light bulb or a freshly microwaved dinner. The definition of electricity becomes tangled up in its function, ceaselessly powering our homes and lives. The miracle of physics and technology is lost in the novelty and the mundane.

Think of a thunderstorm. In a rain cloud tiny particles of water gather together and fall. They turn into puddles and streams, and then eventually evaporate back into the sky. Imagine thunder, the slow rumble and the loud crack. This is the sound of air expanding or contracting as other particles gather and depart from the swollen clouds. These second particles –electrons- are responsible for the bright flash of light known as lightning. Like the water, after the flow of these particles reaches the ground it disperses only to later gather again amongst the clouds.

Lightning is electricity. The energy flowing from our outlets is fundamentally the same as the energy that naturally lights up the sky and naturally runs through our body- it is the exact same particle. In this respect, compared to other art forms, harnessing electricity and visually capturing its nature is the most organic, because it allows the viewer an unfiltered experience.

The Raikou technique was inspired by this concept. 'Raikou'- japanese for lightning- is the term I use to describe my process of passing electricity through certain canvases and using the pattern left behind by the moving electricity to create a work of art. Two high voltage transformers increase the voltage from a standard 120v outlet to 15,000volts. This increase gives the electricity the power to arc (that is move spontaneously in the form of a long bright spark) through cardboard, wood, and even air.


I have been working on this process for the past two years, perfecting the technology and technique necessary to make fine art. Currently I am working on recycling Corrugated Fiberboard from discarded material into paintings.

Check out for my current listings and I sincerely hope you appreciate these works and think of them when the next thunder storm rumbles by... :)