DIGITAL ART FESTIVAL
9/21/12 – 9/29/11
The Digital Art Festival: the yearly techy art event that brings together illustrators, animators, dancers, programmers, game designers (and more, including knitters… yes.. knitters), for an amalgamation of inspirational lectures, art shows, art booths, art competitions, performances, interactive displays, and lots of other fun stuff, finally returns to Redmond for its fourth run. (www.digitalartfestival.com).
The festival was founded in 2008 by the Redmond Arts Commission. Now for the first time it is no longer associated with the City and is being put on entirely through a grassroots volunteer effort led by former Arts Commissioner Kamal Siegel. But with this baby bird leaving its nest, will it be able to fly on its own? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
The event kickoff is coming up on Friday the 21st of September. READ MORE >>
And even though you can get tickets at the door, it’s not too late to get your discounted tickets online (15% discount online at artsfestival.eventbrite.com).
But Mr. Siegel, why start charging tickets now, when the event has been historically free?
Well, it turns out it costs a lot of money to put on an event like this. Even though over 90% of our presenters and artists are local to Redmond and neighboring cities, flights and hotel accommodations for the few that come in from out of state, or even out of the country, are expenses I now need to cover. In addition there are marketing expenses, personnel costs, website development, equipment rental, etc. There’s really a lot involved and much of it costs money.
What about sponsors?
We have some amazing sponsors this year whom have made some tremendous in-kind and cash contributions. DigiPen Institute of Technology, for example, has graciously offered to provide their campus once again to host the event. They will even have their food court open on Saturday and Sunday so people can sit down and eat without needing to leave the event and will be providing workshops by their own stellar faculty! The Guild of Digital Artists (a local non-profit) offered to organize the digital art contest and contributed $3,000 in cash prizes. The Redmond MAC Store is loaning us some excellent equipment for many of the digital installation pieces like Digital Graffiti (by Amir Stone) and Soul Food Books is really making us feel at home by offering their facility for some inspirational evening presentation by local digital artists. All in all, I couldn’t feel more blessed to be surrounded by such a great business community.
Will this year be any different from prior festivals?
Yes! The festival has traditionally been a one day event with an evening kickoff the night before. This year the event is much larger in scope. It actually lasts eight days with far more presenters, and a diverse set of offerings.
The fun starts with a kickoff celebration on Friday the 21st, goes all day Saturday and Sunday (all three days at DigiPen) and then continues throughout the week with inspirational evening talks by local artists at Soul Food Books.
It all comes to a climactic close with a dance party from 8pm to midnight at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center on Friday the 28th. The party will open with a live performance by UK electronic musician Christopher J Wray, who is flying out all the way from the UK for this one of a kind concert, and a cool hip-hop performance by Splinter Dance Company (a Seattle-based modern dance troupe).
And how much does it cost for all this?
For $65 you can get an 8 day pass to the entire thing: presentations, workshops, the party, the opening reception, etc. Kids 11 and under are free, and 12-18 are half-off. You can get your tickets at http://artsfestival.eventbrite.com/
Any particular parts of the festival we don’t want to miss?
You can see the complete schedule on our facebook page gallery here: www.facebook.com/digitalartfestival
And as you can see, there’s just so much to choose from. But I’m particularly excited about our opening night because we’ll be welcoming all the artists that submitted their work to the competition, with a full reception and exhibit of their work followed by an announcement of the winners of the $3,000 cash. Then our keynote speaker Andreas Deja (Aladdin, The Lion King, the Little Murmaid, Winnie the Pooh, Lilo & Stitch), who’s also flying in just for the festival, will be giving a talk on the art of animation. Finally we’ll be welcoming a new rendition of Dancing with Light (which combines live performance and animation) performed and choreographed by Splinter Dance Company. And that’s just the kickoff on Friday night, whew!
Sounds like a lot of fun! Is this an event just for artists?
Oh goodness no! This is an event for the entire family. Yes, artists and professionals will get much out of it as well but much of the festival, including the presentations and most of the workshops are great for youth and adults that have an interest in the digital arts or are merely curious to learn more about this emerging art form and the tools involved in its creation. I should mention that Saturday morning at 10am, Chris Taylor (a legend among gamers and game-makers) is going to be presenting and fans are welcome to meet and greet him and get his autograph. He’s quite an amazing person and gives the most entertaining presentations.
Ultimately the event is a celebration of art and strives to bring artists and community together to create synergy between those attending and hopefully making everyone leave the event inspired and with a tingling sense of creativity buzzing in their hearts.
Finally, how does knitting fit into the digital arts?
Well, I guess you’ll have to come and find out! But seriously, one of my favorite presenters is Abbott Smith, who was my mentor in the arts when I studied animation. He also helped build the art department and curriculum at DigiPen Institute of Technology and is a former Redmond Arts Commissioner himself.
As of late, after an extensive carrier in the arts, Abbott has taken up knitting in a big way and is an up and coming talent in this field. Wouldn’t you know it, his background in the fine arts and the digital arts are all coming together to inform his work in knitting? It’s true! He’s going to be talking about this and giving us a bigger picture about the impact digital technology is having on art across the board, including knitting.