There are so many Light Painters that I admire and that I am inspired by. Something that always stands out to me is when I see an image and know immediately who created it. Salventius is one Light Painting Artist that falls into all of those categories. When I see one of his One Line Light Paintings I immediately know that it’s his! Recently I asked Salventius to answer some questions about his work so I could share his story and work with the Light Painting Photography community, I hope you find his work and interview as inspiring as I do, Enjoy!
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about your work! Your light painting work has such a wonderful feeling to it and you have a style that is instantly recognizable! Before we get into the Light Painting aspect of your work I wanted to know a little more about your background. Have you always had an interest in painting and drawing in general?
Yes as long as I can remember. Not only painting and drawing but also photography and even sculpting. Expressing myself with these made me realize how beautiful art communicates. Art is a unique storyteller, It is not like the media, it is not the news, it is some form of communication that is on its own level. I like the idea that an art piece doesn’t force people to believe it, or like it. It is only understood when you allow it to be blended with your own thoughts, feelings and believes.
When did you first start creating your one line drawings?
I think it was 10 years ago when I start drawing portraits out of one continuous line. I have been drawing like this as long as I remember but as focused as now.
What is it about the one line drawing that captured your interest?
It brings me focus. It lets me create without planning or practicing or sketching. It needs to be done with that one line. This helps me to create in the moment, something that is very valuable to me, because ‘the moment’ is a lost art. Not knowing where it starts or where it ends and everything in between is just pure adventure. That is what excites me, it is like life itself.
I love that answer! From your body of work one could make the assumption that you have a fascination with faces and the human form, is that a correct assumption and if so what is it about them that you find so intriguing?
Maybe it isn’t the faces but more the people that hide (or shine) behind it. It fascinates me how people can so much look the same but feel so different. The balance between this is what I want to portray. Some say we are one and one world but I strongly believe that we are one planet with 7.6 billion worlds. Drawing gives me the feeling of exploring these worlds.
That is a wonderful and thought proving statement! One Planet with 7.6 Billion Worlds, well said. When did you first discover you could draw with light?
The first time was somewhere in 2006 at the beach of Cap Ferret (France). I was experimenting with my new DSLR and I wrote my name. Later I did a few experiments with traffic lights while driving. This produced jazzy light streak patterns. It fascinated me how something that is in plain sight isn’t visible because of the limitations of our eyesight.
My first (real) light painted one line portrait was during an URBEX expedition with some friends. We found a beautiful old newspaper office (Gazette van Antwerp) in Belgium. In the basement it was dark enough to try and create a one line portrait, made in the moment, with the use of a light.
Was there someone or something that inspired you to expand your work into the light painting realm?
Two aspects of light painting really excites me. The first one is that you can only see the result after the drawing is done. This makes it very in tune with how I want to create my portraits, in the moment! Second, the idea (and fact) that a portrait was made without leaving a trace. Sustainable, environmental friendly and a contribution to my mission of ‘making in the moment’.
What was that moment like when you saw that first image that you sketched out in the air come to life?
It was beyond, I don’t have words for this. And I still feel this with each portrait that I make. Every single one is still a discovery, an encounter.
Walking back to the camera after done drawing. Waiting for the camera to process the image and after 30 seconds showing the result is something so satisfying!
What are the Light Painting tools that you use, do you have a favorite?
In the beginning I used the cap of my makers. They where made of plastics and showed the color of the specific marker. The cap fitted perfectly on my (tiny) flashlight. Later I discovered the products of Light Painting Brushes which made it possible to do bigger portraits and better control of lights and colors! The universal connector tool is still something that makes me so happy and allows me to experiment. I make my own light bulbs to give the portraits a unique look. These fit perfectly with the universal connecter. When doing the paintings I work very rapidly and energetic so it is nice that their products allow flexibility. Recently I found the lights of Light Excursion. He makes custom flashlights that allow color wheel cycles and adjustable color pallets.
When you are creating your light paintings do you first sketch them in the traditional way on paper and then take that idea into a three dimensional space or do you prefer to let the space inspire you to create a drawing?
The surroundings and conditions are very much responsible of what I create. I perform best when I run into a beautiful scenery by accident (and having my gear with me!).
What artists inspire you, light painting or in another art form?
David Lynch. By Far. His movies are paintings and his paintings are movies. The way he controls mood and the ‘there is something going on’ tension.
I think the free flowing nature of your work is a perfect match for Light Drawing and I for one am really happy you made your discovery of the art form.
Thank you! And I am very happy that our paths crossed a while ago. The products that you produce, the document about light painting that you are creating and the light painting videos that you make! So thankful for all these!
Thank you! Last question, what is your dream Light Painting location and what would you create there?
The moon, or the arctics (with Northern Lights). And I would then try to create a ‘world as one line’ portrait.