I had the distinct opportunity to serve the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) as their official 2017 SMoCA MIX TECH Ambassador. Tapped by the magnanimous Oscar De Las Salas to promote and serve SMoCA for this exhibit, I was honored to help. Past ambassadors include the likes of Judd & Billy Jo Herberger, Shannon Mishkin, Jordan Rose and Carey Pena. To say that I was blown away to be considered in this company was an understatement. Through this experience I was afforded the chance to shed light on a seriously awesome group of artists.
Squidsoup has a top notch team including not only artists, but also researcher’s technologists and designers who work collectively to create digital and interactive media experiences. Through their arrangement of physical and dynamic virtual spaces with original and insightful forms of communication to manufacture immersive, approachable and beguiling experiences they are reaching audiences in a whole new, innovative manner. Additionally, Squidsoup and their projects have reached many audiences by scaling their work to touch international audiences through their exhibits across the globe.
An open group of contributors is led by a few key group members. Anthony Rowe, the founder of Squidsoup and LUX, which is an international series of seminars and exhibitions exploring the rich creative intersections of light, space and interaction. Rowe is also a vet with 20 years of experience in digital media and interactive design. Gaz Bushell has a background in sculpture and is a renowned digital artist and lecturer. His leadership over the past 15 years has enabled much of the originality experienced by this cool collaborative group. Gaz is also a pioneer in the game space through his indie game company where he designs games for Apple’s iOS platform.
The team is rounded out by Liam Birtles whose research with haptic interaction is highlighting the collaboration and autonomous and physical narrative space; Chris Bennewith who serves as Suidsoup’s lead visual designer, and Ollie Bown whose academic background has brought deep thinking to the group through his interest in how artists, designers and musicians can use advanced computing technologies to produce complex creative works.
Sharing the work of these passionate innovators was only made more special by my experience in developing the campaign to promote this exhibit in partnership with SMoCA. At the beginning of this partnership I had the chance to meet and collaborate with SMoCA Chief Curator Sara Cochran, as well as, their most involved board member Oscar De Las Salas. We brainstormed how to best reach the local tech community and more specifically those who understand the value of STEAM, the notion that science, technology, engineering and mathematics is only complete when art is included given the necessity for design in order for most technological advancements to reach audiences and to create dynamic content.
We divided responsibilities to get the short 60 day window for promotions set for success and left with several items that needed to be moved upon quickly. First stop – connecting with avande gaurde, high fashion photographer Chris Loomis. Together with Oscar’s styling, the Sparkle Bar’s makeup expertise and Jamie Kory’s savvy hair styling we devised the makings of the photo shoot that would give us the photos needed to create collateral to promote and support this event.
Oscar’s picks for this shoot included a hot pink dress and cap from Stewart Weisman. Crazy cool, futuristic accessories from the likes of Forever 21 and my own neoprene back and white chunky booties from Steve Madden. The makeup and hair set the vibe for the futuristic theme. The second outfit, also from Stewart Weisman, was a black sleeveless, full length romper paired with virtual reality goggles to emphasize the ultramodern theme.
We united to shoot these images at SMoCA and after an hour of feeling like a superstar, being dressed and styled by the world renowned tastemaker Oscar and the team of artists assembled we were ready to shoot. We started by scaling the building at the SMoCA facility, headed all the way to the roof. Where we shot many dynamic images. We headed into the room where Squipsoups exhibit Ocean of Light: Submergence would be displayed next. We bounced to the outdoor patio and finally changed outfits to the black romper where I was positioned atop of tall tables to give the final pictures a feel of being space bound.
The final images were nothing short of amazing. In fact many of them you see featured on this blog now as my key imagery supporting my Giving In Style brand. One was selected and used to promote the event. The postcard invitation (seen here) was designed by SMoCA creative director and sent to their constituency as well as to city of Scottsdale residents. Myself, Oscar and the SMoCA team set out alerting media, tech companies and supporters of the arts to share out details on the opening night of this exhibit. Collectively we were able to reach thousands of supporters, making for an extremely successful launch for this showing host9ng over 200 people alone on the opening night.
Dorothy Lincoln-Smith was honored at the event for her longtime leadership in the arts and emeritus member status of the SMoCA advisory board of trustees. And many valley philanthropists and fashionistas were present including Carol Poore, Perrine Adams and more.
The event delighted attendees with the addition of L.A.-based artist Tiffany Trenda who used her 3-D printed suit to sync guests’ heartbeats with her own. Publications such as AZRedbook, Phoenix New Times, Modern Luxury Scottsdale and more were on hand to capture attendees who were dressed in pop colors.
As the official ambassador for this event, I had the unique opportunity to have local design dynamo, Mabel Cortez of Mabelle Chic dress me in an all-white, skin tight white dress with attached dramatic cap which draped gracefully behind me.
SMoCA also ran an extremely successful photo marketing campaign, whereby those who attended the event submitted their best selfie in the midst of the Squipsoup exhibit. This effort alone brought more attention and interest to the exhibit during its time here.
The opportunity to collaborate for such a great cause and to have this awesome experience was a dream come true. I look forward to continuing my support of SMoCA and many more chances to help the community in whatever capacity that I can.
Squidsoup’s work can be experienced online at www.squidsoup.org, and in shared spaces, physical and virtual installations, games and software tools.
Photo Credit Chris Loomis of Chris Loomis Photography | @chrisloomisphoto
Styling Credit Oscar De Las Salas | @oscardelassalas
Glam Credit The Sparkle Bar | @thesparklebar
Hair Jamie Korey | @jamiekoreymakeup
Fashion Stewart Weitzman & Mabel Cortez of Mabella Chic