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Work Samples

"Cascade" Light Painting

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

Chk-1 compositeA.jpg

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.

SpleenCoffin Installation

Installation of light and sound for the SpleenCoffin Festival in Baltmore, 2016.


About Daniel

Baltimore City

Daniel Conrad's picture
   Colored LEDs are commonly used for a variety of decorative purposes, but can LED light be used as a substantial artistic medium? I am confident that artistic treatment of LED light has enormous potential. The warmth and appeal of luminous colors is undeniable. My particular interest is color-changing imagery. When the light of various LEDs is diffused behind a translucent screen, their colors blend. Color-change is achieved when some LEDs fade on while others fade off. Fade patterns can be... more


The interior partitions between color areas in "Cascade" are made with shaped sections and openings, giving rise to a 'painterly' sense of the light on the screeen. The Arduino color-fade system is designed to produce a seemingly limitless variations of color combinations.

  • Date completed: Dec, 2018
  • Size: 24.5"W x 30.5"H x 4.7"D
  • Controls on side of cabinet: brightness, speed, on/off.
  • Materials: RGB led strips, Arduino micro-controller, acrylic screen, wood cabinet, internal partitioning made of wood, aluminum, paper, and vinyl plastic.
  • Plugs in to a standard 120V outlet. A 12V converter is built-in to drive the Arduino controller and the LED strips.

Entrance - light painting

"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. A pattern transforms colors to a new color-state. As each pattern ends, a new pattern is randomly selected to seamlessly continue color-changes. This programming system will be used to compose color-change patterns for future light paintings.

  • Date: 2018
  • Size: 19”W x 24”H x 4.5”D
  • Controls on side of cabinet: speed, brightness, on/off.
  • Materials: RGB led strips, Arduino micro-controller, acrylic screen, wood cabinet, partitioning of metal, wood, and paper.
  • “Entrance” plugs in to a standard 120V outlet. A 12V converter is built-in to drive the Arduino controller and the LED strips.
  • “Entrance” was used throughout 2018 to test color-changes while the Arduino library of control functions was developed.
  • "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.

Edge - light painting

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

Size: 22"W x 30"H x 5"D
Date: 2017

Platform - a light painting

"Platform" balances the spacial implications of the geometric composition with the percepual effect of color-changes.

Size: 30"W x 24"H x 5"D
Date: 2017


Size: 30” x 48”

The colors at each end of the large color field change in different color cycles, creating slow undulations like ocean waves.

The challenge with ‘Drift’ was to create a long smooth color gradient with LED illumination controlled by an analog circuit.

The borders at the top and bottom are the same color, but often appear different due to simultaneous contrast.

Nova - light painting

Size - 2' x 2' on diagonal.

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.

Tropical Illusion

'Tropical Illusion" is a light painting made with colored LEDs that slowly fade, making color-changes barely perceptible. The viewer has time to observe a static color state before noticing that it is changing.

Size: 22”W x 30”H x 4.5”D
Date: May 2016

TANG - light and painting

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

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.

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 - acrylic on canvas and other media

Light paintings require careful design and crafting. In contrast, painting on paper or canvas offers 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, composition, color relationship, and line - all factors that play a role in light paintings as well.

  • Second Passage

    "Second Passage" - Acrylic paint, canvas and cut canvas, plywood - Sept 2018 - 43" x 34"
  • Dharma Bum

    "Dharma Bum" - Materials: acrylic paint, canvas, bamboo, wooden sticks, steel - August 2018 - 25" x 27"
  • Skip

    "Skip" - Canvas, acrylic paint, wire, rope - August 2018 - 25" x 32"
  • Still Air

    Still Air
    "Still Air" - acrylic on canvas - June 2016 - 35" x 23"
  • Reverse Lens

    Reverse Lens
    "Reverse Lens" - acrylic on canvas - October 2016 - 35" x 23"
  • Preparing for Change

    Preparing for Change	acrylic on canvas     23" x 31"
    "Preparing for Change" - acrylic on canvas - May 2016 - 23" x 31"
  • Nautical Navigation

    "Nautical Navigation" - acrylic on canvas - August 2015 - 42" x 31"
  • Look Quietly

    "Look Quietly" - acrylic medium and watercolor on paper - Sept. 2018 - 22" x 18"
  • Water Cycle

    "Water Cycle" - plywood, canvas, acrylic paint, rusted steel, clear latex - June 2015 - 30"w x 42"h
  • Deflection

    "Deflection" Acrylic on canvas
    "Deflection" - Acrylic on canvas - August 2015 - 23"w x 35"h