March 1, 2019
Local artist Brian Keayes has burst onto the international art scene with a series of projections focused on highlighting the need for change and consideration in order for humans to save our natural environment.
In the last 100 years, the exponential growth of technology has shaped the way we live. From the invention of the electric washing machine to peering into the farthest corners of our universe, technology has had a hand in our productivity, curiosity and creativity.
It’s no wonder then, that technology has also had an influence in the world of art, with projection art taking off as a popular new medium.
Projection art is where a graphic image or video is projected onto a canvas, side of a building or natural landscape. The flexibility and freedom of projection art is only inhibited by the artist’s imagination.
Projections can be interactive, run in a loop, tell a short story or purvey a strong message, which is exactly what Brian Keyes intends to achieve through his art works.
“Art is a fantastic way to open up dialog around our most tightly held beliefs and values, as well as sharing information in new ways,” says Brian.
“Light is ephemeral, which enables an instant transformation of an entire building, bridge or sculpture.”
Also known as Möbius, Brian takes his artistic name from the ingenuitive mathematician whose original concepts made the science of projection possible today.
Using projection art to purvey a strong and clear message, his aim is to bring attention to some of humanity’s largest environmental challenges over the next 100 years.
“We don’t have long to make some fundamental shifts in how we live, work and play. Whether it is inspiration or motivation, that is what is driving me,” he says.
It was while studying IT at Griffith University that Brian discovered design. He had an instant affinity with the medium and shifted his focus to study graphic, motion and web design at Queensland College of Art.
While studying, he was asked to project some visuals at an art event and his love for projection art was born. Still in its infancy, projection art was not yet a popular standalone art form and was more commonly used in conjunction with DJ sets in nightclubs.
Brian spent time in Japan putting music and projection concepts together for nightclubs, all the while exploring the medium to find a deeper purpose than simply enhancing the club goers’ musical experience.
“The purpose for me doing art in the first place is to be the medium for the message,” says Brian.
In 2018, Brian found his message in environmental awareness.
His key projects for last year included showcasing as a feature artist for Noosa Alive!, bombing Hastings Street with a powerful display by submerging shopfronts in water from rising sea levels.
His projection filled the entire side of Sofitel Noosa with images of plastic bottles being manufactured and the number 1,000,000 taking a minute to move down the building. This projection shed light on the one million plastic bottles being produced worldwide each minute.
Later in the year, Brian was also accepted into Horizon Festival, collaborating with ‘Arts for Art’s Sake’ and Mic’s Lab on a piece called ‘The Greenhouse’. Taking prime position in the centre of the University of the Sunshine Coast, visitors could explore a house made entirely of single use plastic bottles.
At night, the house was engulfed in video loops of fire, flood and storms, creating a morbidly beautiful experience for the viewer. Brian’s motivation behind this projection was to encourage people to reflect on changes we can all make individually to reduce the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
A defining moment in Brian’s career came when he was invited to collaborate with a Gold Coast sculpture artist, Clayton Blake, at Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
Burning Man is an international mecca for creative expression, art, music and participation. Here, Brian took to the international stage showing a seascape of our beloved Peregian Beach. His projection reached an audience of 78,000 over seven nights as it danced across the dry river beds in the hot Nevada desert.
Brian finished off the year at the Swell Festival on the Gold Coast. This particular projection was made in collaboration with Glenn Barry, a local Indigenous artist and highlighted the extinction of native animals. Their collaboration was projected onto Elephant Rock at Currumbin Beach, which also happens to be a climbable look-out.
“Kids could go up and touch and even climb it, playing in the light,” says Brian. “It was exciting to see this interaction.”
With no intention of slowing down, Brian’s art continues to grow in popularity across the globe and he has he eye set on some international art festivals in China and the USA as well as featuring at festivals on home soil.
Brian’s ongoing dedication to projection art, and its modern way to satisfy curiosity and creativity, will ensure vibrant new life for vital environmental messages.