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Work Samples

"Entrance" - light painting

'Entrance' hypnotizes using only three colors.

"Circumflex" - light painting

One view of endless color changes in this luminous wall sculpture.

Square-Center

LED Chromaccord
The image shows six color-states of the LED Chromaccord, a color-performance instrument. A manual control panel is used to create color variations during performance. The instrument allows image-shaping "stencils" to be replaced so color changes appear in different forms.

Colonize - light painting

'Colonize' is a free-form abstraction with shapes that travel in various pathways across the surface.

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About Daniel

Baltimore City

Daniel Conrad's picture
The warmth and appeal of luminous colors is undeniable, and I am confident that a new medium incorporating artistic treatment of electronically-controlled LED light has enormous potential. While LEDs are now commonly used for accent lighting and decorative displays, I have developed and continue to explore color-changing imagery including color-field, abstract, and potentially figural forms. I work with multiple colored LEDs arranged behind a diffusing screen. Light is shaped by barriers... more

Entrance - light painting

Date: 2018
Size: 19”W x 24”H x 4.5”D
Materials: RGB led strips, Arduino micro-controller, acrylic screen, wood cabinet, partitioning of metal, wood, and paper.

"Entrance" is my first light painting with a color-change control system based on the Arduino microcontroller. I developed this fading system during 2018. It offers highly flexible control of hue relationships, value distributions, and saturation changes. Programmed color-change patterns transform colors. As each pattern ends, a new pattern is randomly selected to seamlessly continue color-changes.

  • "Entrance" in one color-state.

    "Entrance" in one color-state.
  • "Entrance" in one color-state.

    "Entrance" in one color-state.
  • "Entrance" sequences, page 1

    Color-sequences displayed by "Entrance". Patterns continue with different color combinations to produce many variations.
  • "Entrance" sequences, page 2

    The use of value and saturation is illustrated in several of these sequences.
  • "Entrance" Cabinet

    "Entrance", cabinet and screen in 'off' state. Controls are on the side of of the box: The brighteness of the display can be adjusted according to ambient light conditions. The speed of color-changes can be adjusted. On-off switch.
  • Interior View of "Entrance"

    Interior view of "Entrance" showing LED strip and electronics.
  • Entrance

    Four-minute video of "Entrance" operating at a moderate rate of color-change. Note: Ripples moving across the screen are video artifacts. They do not appear on the work itself.

Circumflex – light-painting

Date: 2019
Size: 24.5” x 18.5” x 5”
Materials: RGB LED strips, Arduino Mega, power supply, plastic screen, wooden case.
Interior barriers are made of foamed PVC, paper, wooden supports.

In “Circumflex”, zones of changing color are distributed over an abstract composition.

Colonize - light painting

Date: 2019
Size: 16"W x 19"H x 5.5"D
Materials: RGB LED strips, Arduino Mega, power supply, plastic screen, wooden case.
Interior barriers are made of foamed PVC, paper, wooden supports.

I have made upwards of 20 light paintings. “Colonize” is the most recent new design. It uses free-form shapes in combination with color-change.

Edge - light painting

Date: 2017
Size: 22"W x 30"H x 5"D
Materials: Colored LEDs, analog electronic circuit, power supply, plastic screen, wooden case.

"Edge" is a composition designed to explore the effects of color changes on perception of geometric spatial ambiguities.

TANG - light and painting

Date: December 2014
Size: 22.5” x 30” x 3.5”
Materials: Acrylic and cut canvas on slotted wood panel, LEDs, Arduino control.

TANG integrates colored light with painting. Unlike previous light paintings that use a diffusing screen on the front, the LED light in TANG is diffused between surfaces inside the chamber behind the front panel of the piece. This allows a painterly development on the front. Chromatic differences between LED light and paint present an interesting challenge. TANG looks at an abstract but rustic still life of leaves which has been cut through by the crisp brilliance of angular luminous strokes.

TANG uses an Arduino microprocessor to control LED color sequences. Alan Grover assisted with programming, and he has helped as I developed programming methods for recent work ("Entrance" and Cascade").

  • TANG

    Painting with internal color-changing illumination.
  • Tang

    Internal illumination areas fade independently creating many color combinations.
  • TANG

    Different room lighting produces different appearance.

Starry Night - Bang Bang

Date: 2013
Size: 37.5” x 19.5”
Materials: Found metal with bullet holes, painted wood panel, yellow and blue LEDs, analog electronic circuit.

This piece references Van Gogh's famous painting, however the rusted metal elicits a personal childhood memory of seeing bullet holes in signs on country roads, and the sound of gunshots is an impression of night sounds in the city.

Nova - light painting

Date: 2003

Size - 2' x 2' on the diagonal.
Materials: Colored LEDs, analog electronic circuit, plastic screen, wooden case.

Complementary hues of blue and amber mix to white when both colors of LEDs are fully on. There are no white LEDs in this piece. Nova's four-way symmetry reflects the logic structure of the analog circuit that drives LED fade patterns.

LED Chromaccord - Color Performance Instrument

A “chromaccord” is a visual performance instrument that displays areas of color on a screen; the 'chromaccord effect' is purposeful engagement of after-image as an active element in a visual performance. A performer can alter the color of each area using a dimmer control panel. This is the fourth chromaccord I have built. Previous chromaccords display a color circle on a color field.

The LED Chromaccord is designed to have interchangeable "stencils" that change the shapes of color areas. The control panel is programmable, so control faders can be assigned to different light groups in the display unit according to the configuration of each stencil. The small image on the display unit is enlarged through a video camera-to-projector system for public presentation.

  • LED Chromaccord - Color Performance Instrument

    This diagram shows how the LED Chromaccord operates.
  • Dave Heumann & Dan Conrad at EMP July 14, 2017

    Live performance at EMP Collective, Baltimore, MD. on July 14, 2017. Dave Heuman is featured on guitar and Daniel Conrad on LED Chromaccord. This video was recorded from the video feed to the projector.
  • Box-Fold

    The Box-Fold stencil uses a simple optical illusion to create an ambiguous 3D image. This is combined with color changes to add further illusions. This is a short demonstration by Daniel Conrad recorded January, 2016.
  • LED Chromaccord - 'Target' Stencil

    The stencil shown in the inset produces the pattern shown on the screen.
  • Chromaccord - LED

    The LED Chromaccord is a color performance instrument that can be played with different shapes, or 'stencils', used to partition the light areas. This stencil has concentric circles similar to the classic chromaccord arrangement. This is a short demonstration by Daniel Conrad recorded January 15, 2016.
  • LED Chromaccord - 'Stars'

    The 'Stars' stencil is shown and three images of color-states it produces.
  • Stars

    The stencil used for this pattern is 3 dimensional, introducing fades and gradients in the colors that could not be generated in live time with a digital system.
  • 1999 Chromaccord

    A chromaccord built in 1999 often performed locally and regionally. Five color-states are shown at right. The circle on a field is analogous to the retina, with a foveal area and periphery. The 'chromaccord effect' is purposeful engagement of after-image as an active element in a visual performance.

Paintings – 2019 watercolor on paper and acrylic on canvas.

In contrast to light paintings, which require careful crafting according to a prescribed design, painting on paper or canvas can offer immediacy of execution, textures, and details of shape that are not available in the light painting medium. At the same time, it provides a way to explore subject matter, color relationships, line, and composition - all factors that play a role in light paintings as well.