“L

Real Style - - Culture -

ight is very pow­er­ful. You can com­pletely trans­form some­body with light. I can make them look like hor­ri­ble mon­sters or I can make them look like gods and god­desses,” says Pa­trick Ro­chon. For the last 20 years, the Mon­treal artist has been us­ing a unique medium to con­vey the im­ages in his head and heart: paint­ing with light.

If you’ve never heard of light paint­ing be­fore, there’s no need to feel ashamed. His­tor­i­cally, there aren’t too many peo­ple who have used light to paint. “Peo­ple were do­ing pho­tog­ra­phy and us­ing light paint­ing but there was no­body ac­tu­ally think­ing like a light painter,” says Ro­chon.

Light paint­ing re­quires sev­eral things. First and fore­most: a cam­era ca­pa­ble of long ex­po­sures. It’s the abil­ity to keep the shut­ter open for ex­tended pe­ri­ods of time that al­lows the light paint­ing to hap­pen. In Ro­chon’s case, some paint­ings can be fin­ished in as few as 20 sec­onds, while oth­ers can take up to half an hour to com­plete. Then you need the lights. “I started with ba­sic lights,” says Ro­chon. “We call them flash­lights but they’re ac­tu­ally hand-held torches. I started with re­ally sim­ple lights and then I added colours to the lights with pho­to­graphic gels and fil­ters.”

As Ro­chon evolved as a light painter, though, he re­al­ized that he needed some­thing more spe­cial­ized than a sim­ple torch, so he started mak­ing his own tools. In 2011 he built the first Lite­blade, which fea­tures 3D light­ing ver­sus the flat light he uses to point at a sub­ject. “I’ll use it to cre­ate light ac­ces­sories around the model or back­grounds,” Ro­chon says of his in­ven­tion. “I’ll cre­ate gra­di­ents and very nice edges, beau­ti­ful ef­fects and trails of light.”

One set of tools Ro­chon doesn’t use too much of, how­ever, is dig­i­tal edit­ing soft­ware like Photoshop. “I found over time that the more I get into the cam­era, the bet­ter,” he says. “That’s re­ally where the magic hap­pens. Dig­i­tal is great for touch­ing up, but I try to get the colours right dur­ing the shoot. I try to get all the lights in one take.”

Like all artists, Ro­chon’s art is con­stantly evolv­ing, and he’s al­ways look­ing for new chal­lenges. “I’m al­ways ques­tion­ing ev­ery­thing,” Ro­chon says. “Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, do I have the right gear? Is there some­thing I want to do solo or with a team? Do I want to make it into a small, per­sonal thing? Do I want to make it into a big­ger thing? Then there’s the se­cond part of the jour­ney, mak­ing it real, go­ing into the world and putting all the right pieces into place. Some­times it takes months.”

From his per­sonal art dis­played in gal­leries to ads for Red Bull and Toy­ota, Ro­chon’s work is mul­ti­fac­eted. Does he pre­fer one over the other? “I don’t see much dif­fer­ence be­tween mak­ing per­sonal art­work and do­ing a big pro­ject with a com­pany,“Ro­chon says. “For me, it has equal value and equal chal­lenges. It’s dif­fer­ent, it’s a dif­fer­ent process, but it’s as im­por­tant. I think work­ing with big com­pa­nies is very in­ter­est­ing be­cause you take them on a jour­ney be­cause they don’t know what they’re get­ting into and yet you’re the guide who wants to bring it to the good place and into ex­cel­lence. It has just as much value if not more be­cause right now, with the in­ter­net, th­ese things spread and in­spire a lot of other peo­ple. I think it’s very cool what’s go­ing on right now and I have had that strug­gle of what’s art, what’s not art and what’s com­mer­cial, what’s not com­mer­cial, and I re­al­ized it’s all the same thing. We’re all mak­ing our­selves progress and evolve and ex­plore through all th­ese ex­per­i­ments and all th­ese col­lab­o­ra­tions. In my eyes, do­ing a vi­ral cam­paign with a com­pany has just as much value as be­ing in the gallery.”

Rather than think­ing it through too much, Ro­chon uses his in­tu­ition as a guide through the cre­ative process. “I’ll lis­ten to the hints that come to me,” he says. “I’ll lis­ten to what at­tracts me right now, what am I think­ing a lot about right now. Then I’ll see what re­ally tick­les the in­te­rior, what re­ally ex­cites me and I’ll be like ‘You know what? I re­ally want to do more of that, there’s some­thing about that that’s call­ing.’”

For Ro­chon, it’s all about the cre­ative process. “I think the cre­ative jour­ney is re­ally what I’m in­ter­ested in, and it’s re­ally what’s go­ing on be­hind ev­ery pro­ject,” he says. “There’s a small or big jour­ney be­hind it that gives birth to some­thing orig­i­nal. There are so many dif­fer­ent types of shoot­ing, from ab­stract to por­trait, fash­ion, art, projects with cars. There are all kinds of cre­ations and all that is be­cause of the process be­hind it, the cre­ative jour­ney be­hind it that brings me to th­ese re­sults.”

Pa­trick Ro­chon

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