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Let There Be Light: Light Paintings and Sculptures

Although light is considered to be rather a practical than an artistic tool, it has some properties that designers can explore in their works. Indeed, light can also be seen as a medium for more powerful and more vivid artistic expression. In fact, many artists and crews make use of it creating quite impressive works of art.

In this episode of our Monday Inspiration series we present 50 beautiful examples of light art — paintings, sculptures, drawings and graffiti that were created using light. At the bottom of this post, you will find references to related Flickr pools which contain thousands of further examples of what can be achieved out of creative experiments with light.

Light Paintings and Light Sculptures Link

Sitooterie II1
The structure is a cube punctured by over 5000 long thin windows that project from all its surfaces and lift it off the ground. As the long thin windows all point at the exact centre of the cube, it only takes a single light source, located at this central point, to send light through every tube, causing the windows to glow orange. A small number of them also project into the cube to form seating. Designed by Heatherwick studio.

Lightning Photography - Heatherwick studio - Sitooterie II2
Lightning Photography - Heatherwick studio - Sitooterie II3

I am on Fire4
Light painting by Benegizer.

Lightning Photography - Nebulous in Blue5

sm_light paint6
Created by Andrew Thomas.

Lightning Photography - sm_light paint scott17

Finding Light8

Lightning Photography - Finding Light - Part 19

feb light graffiti 01110

Lightning Photography - feb light graffiti 01111
Lightning Photography - feb light graffiti 01112

Light Circles13

Lightning Photography - PA278895.JPG14

Perfect Cicle15

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb16

Human Bulb17

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb18

Tunnel19
Kevinhooa walks backwards while circling a road flare inside the Oxford tunnel.

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb20

AntiVJ21
AntiVJ is funky and creative. The team creates visual experiments, installations and live light visuals. Videos are included.

Lightning Photography - AntiVJ is a visual label22

So far away

Lightning Photography - So far away

Lightmark23
Light architecture by Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke from Hamburg, Germany.

Lightning Photography - Lightmark | Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke | Hamburg | Germany24
Lightning Photography - Lightmark | Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke | Hamburg | Germany25

Eric Staller26
Light drawings and light sculptures created by Eric Staller.

Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings27
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings28
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings29
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings30
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings31

Spirallight32
By Robin Carpenter.

Lightning Photography - Inhabitat » SPIRALIGHT by Robin Carpenter33

Laser34
Created by Fesan from Norway.

Lightning Photography - Laser35

Light in the Hall36

Lightning Photography - DSC_012637

Fluorescent Tunnel38

Lightning Photography - [mb] Fluorescent Tunnel 639

Light Painting Humanoids40
Light painting examples by Christopher Hibbert.

Lightning Photography - Learning Light Painting | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials41
Lightning Photography - Learning Light Painting | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials42

Dean Chamberlain43

Lightning Photography - Dean Chamberlain44
Lightning Photography - Dean Chamberlain45

Abstract46

Lightning Photography - Abstract on the Behance Network47
Lightning Photography - Abstract on the Behance Network48
Lightning Photography - Abstract on the Behance Network49

My New Camera!

Lightning Photography - My New Camera!

Toby Keller50

Lightning Photography -51

Olho – Light Paint com celular e sony!52

Lightning Photography - Olho - Light Paint com celular e sony!53

Fun with light and robots54

Lightning Photography - fun with light and robots55
Lightning Photography - fun with light and robots56

Feb light graffiti57

Lightning Photography - Flickr Photo Download: feb light graffiti 03258

Lichtfaktor59
A German design crew which specializes in light graffiti and light drawing.

Lightning Photography - energie in motion on the Behance Network60

Light River61
A light painting by Crystal Chroma.

Lightning Photography - Light River62

Michael Bosanko63
“We Come In Peace”.

Lightning Photography - We Come In Peace64
Lightning Photography - We Come In Peace65

Experiments with Light66

Lightning Photography - experimentos para retrato 0367

Santa’s Reindeer – Light Sculpture68

Lightning Photography - Santa's Reindeer - Light Sculpture69

Abstract light painting70

Lightning Photography - IMG_160171

Breakwater72

Lightning Photography - Breakwater73

Neon Coriolis74

Lightning Photography - Neon Coriolis75

Bow76

Lightning Photography - bow77

Gyrating Quasar78
Photos created by throwing an old camera around various light sources. A camera toss in front of some lovely blue lights.

Lightning Photography - Comes from the earth but does not have the weight of a stone79

UVA and the Light Fantastic
Some excellent examples of light installations presented by the Creative Review blog.

Lightning Photography - CR Blog » Blog Archive » UVA and the Light Fantastic
Lightning Photography - CR Blog » Blog Archive » UVA and the Light Fantastic
Lightning Photography - CR Blog » Blog Archive » UVA and the Light Fantastic

Working Late80

Lightning Photography - Working Late81

Fireworks82
No light art without fireworks, of course… Sky painting at its best.

Lightning Photography - Working Late83
Lightning Photography - Working Late84

Last Click Link

Sprint flashlight85
Sprint commercial with flashlight animation.

figure/object>

Resources Link

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://www.heatherwick.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=41&limit=1&limitstart=3
  2. 2 http://www.heatherwick.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=41&limit=1&limitstart=3
  3. 3 http://www.heatherwick.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=41&limit=1&limitstart=1
  4. 4 http://www.flickr.com/photos/benegizer/808459254/
  5. 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/benegizer/808459254/
  6. 6 http://flickr.com/photos/13908766@N00/149691302/
  7. 7 http://flickr.com/photos/13908766@N00/149691302/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukaskracic/677622888/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukaskracic/677622888/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2292590021/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2292590021/
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2292590021/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewilhelm/1798408315/
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewilhelm/1798408315/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645131/in/pool-76838000@N00
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645131/in/pool-76838000@N00
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645197/in/pool-lightmovement
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645197/in/pool-lightmovement
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vogelium/2106600152/in/pool-94749148@N00
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vogelium/2106600152/in/pool-94749148@N00
  21. 21 http://www.antivj.com/
  22. 22 http://www.antivj.com/
  23. 23 http://www.lightmark.de/overview.htm
  24. 24 http://www.lightmark.de/overview.htm
  25. 25 http://www.lightmark.de/overview.htm
  26. 26 http://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  27. 27 http://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  28. 28 http://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  29. 29 http://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  30. 30 http://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  31. 31 http://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  32. 32 http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/02/15/spiralight-by-robin-carpenter/
  33. 33 http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/02/15/spiralight-by-robin-carpenter/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/28327062@N04/2652194681/in/pool-lightjunkies
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/28327062@N04/2652194681/in/pool-lightjunkies
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/14434260@N07/1472062840/in/set-72157602426421098/
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/14434260@N07/1472062840/in/set-72157602426421098/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/merrickb/345237858/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/merrickb/345237858/
  40. 40 http://abduzeedo.com/learning-light-painting
  41. 41 http://abduzeedo.com/learning-light-painting
  42. 42 http://abduzeedo.com/learning-light-painting
  43. 43 http://deanchamberlain.com/
  44. 44 http://deanchamberlain.com/
  45. 45 http://deanchamberlain.com/
  46. 46 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Abstract/42785
  47. 47 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Abstract/42785
  48. 48 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Abstract/42785
  49. 49 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Abstract/42785
  50. 50 http://www.flickr.com/photos/burnblue/1760922800/
  51. 51 http://www.flickr.com/photos/burnblue/1760922800/
  52. 52 http://flickr.com/photos/auto_photo/592909831/
  53. 53 http://flickr.com/photos/auto_photo/592909831/
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2443424408/in/pool-lightwritings
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2443424408/in/pool-lightwritings
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2443424408/in/pool-lightwritings
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2287351015/sizes/l/
  58. 58 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2287351015/sizes/l/
  59. 59 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/energie-in-motion/42738
  60. 60 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/energie-in-motion/42738
  61. 61 http://flickr.com/photos/43545546@N00/2484238896/
  62. 62 http://flickr.com/photos/43545546@N00/2484238896/
  63. 63 http://www.michaelbosanko.com/portfolio8407.html
  64. 64 http://www.michaelbosanko.com/portfolio8407.html
  65. 65 http://www.michaelbosanko.com/portfolio8407.html
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rtoscani/2656332912/
  67. 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rtoscani/2656332912/
  68. 68 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anindo/125608152/
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anindo/125608152/
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2457681063/in/set-72157605225645732/
  71. 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2457681063/in/set-72157605225645732/
  72. 72 http://flickr.com/photos/elray/281646889/
  73. 73 http://flickr.com/photos/elray/281646889/
  74. 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/320777840/in/set-72057594059675779/
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/320777840/in/set-72057594059675779/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/123942271/in/set-72057594059675779/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/123942271/in/set-72057594059675779/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/350725828/in/set-72057594059675779/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/350725828/in/set-72057594059675779/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomaschristensen/2081043813/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomaschristensen/2081043813/
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_magoo_icu/81936274/
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_magoo_icu/81936274/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dailyville/215277405/
  85. 85 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_9SYaWAQg
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/sets/72057594059675779/
  87. 87 http://www.diyphotography.net/painting_with_light
  88. 88 http://www.digitalpicturezone.com/digital-pictures/25-amazing-light-graffiti-pictures/
  89. 89 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightwritings/
  90. 90 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lights-n-shadows/pool/
  91. 91 http://www.flickr.com/groups/movinglights/pool/
  92. 92 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightfantastic/pool/
  93. 93 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightjunkies/pool/
  94. 94 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightdrawing/pool/
  95. 95 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightpainted/
  96. 96 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightstream____/pool/
  97. 97 http://weburbanist.com/2008/07/07/10-amazing-light-graffiti-artists-and-photographers/
  98. 98 http://www.flickr.com/groups/thegalleryoflight/pool/
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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    I love the exploration of the intersection of art and machines (which is what artbotica is all about)… all art involves the use of technique… this art uses the technology of light as one of its primary techniques. Inspiring indeed.

    0
  2. 2

    just fantastic

    0
  3. 3

    just fantastic thanks

    0
  4. 4

    Fabio Marchi

    July 14, 2008 3:58 am

    Very, very nice !!!!!!!

    0
  5. 5

    In my opinion, Santa’s reindeer is the best one among these!!

    0
  6. 6

    Cool! There are some beautiful thing between them :P

    0
  7. 7

    fantastic…

    0
  8. 8

    Eivind Ingebrigtsen

    July 14, 2008 5:05 am

    Somehow this site has lost its topic. And it doesn’t seem to be going back.
    I am sure I’m not the only one with this feeling.

    Come on Smashing – get back on topic and stay there.

    0
  9. 9

    Marcos Vera

    July 14, 2008 5:07 am

    amazing

    0
  10. 10

    Sandie Sørensen

    July 14, 2008 5:25 am

    Nice.

    I’ve been planning to make a such myself at some time. I was inspired by Pucasso… Tjek it out here:
    http://search.live.com/images/results.aspx?q=picasso+painting+with+light&FORM=BIRE#focal=17ca4cb76e09fcbf234b5547f61a871a&furl=http%3A%2F%2Ftropist.files.wordpress.com%2F2007%2F06%2Fpicasso2.jpg

    It’s funny how soft the curves get in these “paintings”… It’s a must try! Soon!
    Thanks for reminding me, and inspiring me- again!

    I particulary liked the photo with the two persons standing on the bridge and looking down on their reflections. :)

    0
  11. 11

    Real nice, some great inspiration.

    Eivind Ingebrigtsen: I don’t see how this is off topic at all, sorry…

    0
  12. 12

    I know its a little off topic – however it was great to see Architecture in Helsinki’s song Souvenirs used for the Sprint flashlight commercial. Such a great Australian band.

    0
  13. 13

    Lightpainting is really fun!

    I wished my lightpaintings would look like the ones in this article.

    0
  14. 14

    Barbara Gonzalez

    July 14, 2008 7:16 am

    These are so unique, will be sending it on to all my friends.

    0
  15. 15

    Mike Garrett

    July 14, 2008 7:20 am

    I have one of those!

    In the form of Video:
    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=527103942566

    -Mike

    0
  16. 16

    What? No references to light beer? ;)

    0
  17. 17

    JeremieSpoken

    July 14, 2008 8:09 am

    wooo flashy!

    0
  18. 18

    these are great. I used to send a mirrored light-written 2007 to my friends at dec 31st. 2006

    0
  19. 19

    WOW!, amazing!

    0
  20. 20

    simply amazing :O

    0

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