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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 artpaintings1, sculptures, drawings and graffiti2 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. [Content Care Oct/17/2016]

Light Paintings and Light Sculptures Link

Sitooterie II3
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 II4
Lightning Photography - Heatherwick studio - Sitooterie II

I am on Fire5
Light painting by Benegizer.

Lightning Photography - Nebulous in Blue6

sm_light paint7
Created by Andrew Thomas.

Lightning Photography - sm_light paint scott18

Finding Light9

Lightning Photography - Finding Light - Part 110

feb light graffiti 01111

Lightning Photography - feb light graffiti 01112
Lightning Photography - feb light graffiti 01113

Light Circles14

Lightning Photography - PA278895.JPG15

Perfect Cicle16

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb17

Human Bulb18

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb19

Tunnel20
Kevinhooa walks backwards while circling a road flare inside the Oxford tunnel.

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb21

AntiVJ22
AntiVJ is funky and creative. The team creates visual experiments, installations and live light visuals. Videos are included.

Lightning Photography - AntiVJ is a visual label23

So far away

Lightning Photography - So far away

Lightmark24
Light architecture by Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke from Hamburg, Germany.

Lightning Photography - Lightmark | Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke | Hamburg | Germany25
Lightning Photography - Lightmark | Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke | Hamburg | Germany26

Eric Staller27
Light drawings and light sculptures created by Eric Staller.

Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings28
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings29
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings30
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings31
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings32

Spirallight33
By Robin Carpenter.

Lightning Photography - Inhabitat » SPIRALIGHT by Robin Carpenter34

Laser35
Created by Fesan from Norway.

Lightning Photography - Laser36

Light in the Hall37

Lightning Photography - DSC_012638

Fluorescent Tunnel39

Lightning Photography - [mb] Fluorescent Tunnel 640

Light Painting Humanoids41
Light painting examples by Christopher Hibbert.

Lightning Photography - Learning Light Painting | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials42
Lightning Photography - Learning Light Painting | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials43

Dean Chamberlain44

Lightning Photography - Dean Chamberlain45
Lightning Photography - Dean Chamberlain46

Abstract

Lightning Photography - Abstract on the Behance Network
Lightning Photography - Abstract on the Behance Network
Lightning Photography - Abstract on the Behance Network

My New Camera!

Lightning Photography - My New Camera!

Toby Keller47

Lightning Photography -48

Olho – Light Paint com celular e sony!49

Lightning Photography - Olho - Light Paint com celular e sony!50

Fun with light and robots51

Lightning Photography - fun with light and robots52
Lightning Photography - fun with light and robots53

Feb light graffiti54

Lightning Photography - Flickr Photo Download: feb light graffiti 03255

Lichtfaktor56
A German design crew which specializes in light graffiti and light drawing.

Lightning Photography - energie in motion on the Behance Network57

Light River58
A light painting by Crystal Chroma.

Lightning Photography - Light River59

Michael Bosanko60
“We Come In Peace”.

Lightning Photography - We Come In Peace
Lightning Photography - We Come In Peace

Experiments with Light61

Lightning Photography - experimentos para retrato 0362

Santa’s Reindeer – Light Sculpture63

Lightning Photography - Santa's Reindeer - Light Sculpture64

Abstract light painting65

Lightning Photography - IMG_160166

Breakwater67

Lightning Photography - Breakwater68

Neon Coriolis69

Lightning Photography - Neon Coriolis70

Bow71

Lightning Photography - bow72

Gyrating Quasar73
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 stone74

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 Late75

Lightning Photography - Working Late76

Fireworks77
No light art without fireworks, of course… Sky painting at its best.

Lightning Photography - Working Late78
Lightning Photography - Working Late79

Last Click Link

Sprint flashlight80
Sprint commercial with flashlight animation.

Resources Link

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/pop-art-is-alive-classics-and-modern-artworks/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/40-stunning-and-creative-graffiti-artworks/
  3. 3 http://www.designboom.com/design/sitooterie-ii-by-heatherwick-studio/
  4. 4 http://www.designboom.com/design/sitooterie-ii-by-heatherwick-studio/
  5. 5 http://www.flickr.com/photos/benegizer/808459254/
  6. 6 http://www.flickr.com/photos/benegizer/808459254/
  7. 7 http://flickr.com/photos/13908766@N00/149691302/
  8. 8 http://flickr.com/photos/13908766@N00/149691302/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukaskracic/677622888/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukaskracic/677622888/
  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/robokon_gt/2292590021/
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewilhelm/1798408315/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewilhelm/1798408315/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645131/in/pool-76838000@N00
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645131/in/pool-76838000@N00
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645197/in/pool-lightmovement
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonrphotography/2655645197/in/pool-lightmovement
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vogelium/2106600152/in/pool-94749148@N00
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vogelium/2106600152/in/pool-94749148@N00
  22. 22 http://www.antivj.com/
  23. 23 http://www.antivj.com/
  24. 24 http://www.lightmark.de/overview.htm
  25. 25 http://www.lightmark.de/overview.htm
  26. 26 http://www.lightmark.de/overview.htm
  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://ericstaller.com/studio%20work/light%20drawings/?page=3
  33. 33 http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/02/15/spiralight-by-robin-carpenter/
  34. 34 http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/02/15/spiralight-by-robin-carpenter/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/28327062@N04/2652194681/in/pool-lightjunkies
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/28327062@N04/2652194681/in/pool-lightjunkies
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/14434260@N07/1472062840/in/set-72157602426421098/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/14434260@N07/1472062840/in/set-72157602426421098/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/merrickb/345237858/
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/merrickb/345237858/
  41. 41 http://abduzeedo.com/learning-light-painting
  42. 42 http://abduzeedo.com/learning-light-painting
  43. 43 http://abduzeedo.com/learning-light-painting
  44. 44 http://deanchamberlain.com/
  45. 45 http://deanchamberlain.com/
  46. 46 http://deanchamberlain.com/
  47. 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/burnblue/1760922800/
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/burnblue/1760922800/
  49. 49 http://flickr.com/photos/auto_photo/592909831/
  50. 50 http://flickr.com/photos/auto_photo/592909831/
  51. 51 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2443424408/in/pool-lightwritings
  52. 52 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2443424408/in/pool-lightwritings
  53. 53 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2443424408/in/pool-lightwritings
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2287351015/sizes/l/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/robokon_gt/2287351015/sizes/l/
  56. 56 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/energie-in-motion/42738
  57. 57 http://www.behance.net/Gallery/energie-in-motion/42738
  58. 58 http://flickr.com/photos/43545546@N00/2484238896/
  59. 59 http://flickr.com/photos/43545546@N00/2484238896/
  60. 60 http://www.michaelbosanko.com/
  61. 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rtoscani/2656332912/
  62. 62 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rtoscani/2656332912/
  63. 63 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anindo/125608152/
  64. 64 http://www.flickr.com/photos/anindo/125608152/
  65. 65 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2457681063/in/set-72157605225645732/
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevor303/2457681063/in/set-72157605225645732/
  67. 67 http://flickr.com/photos/elray/281646889/
  68. 68 http://flickr.com/photos/elray/281646889/
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/320777840/in/set-72057594059675779/
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/320777840/in/set-72057594059675779/
  71. 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/123942271/in/set-72057594059675779/
  72. 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/123942271/in/set-72057594059675779/
  73. 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/350725828/in/set-72057594059675779/
  74. 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/350725828/in/set-72057594059675779/
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomaschristensen/2081043813/
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomaschristensen/2081043813/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_magoo_icu/81936274/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_magoo_icu/81936274/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dailyville/215277405/
  80. 80 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW_9SYaWAQg
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/elray/sets/72057594059675779/
  82. 82 http://www.diyphotography.net/painting_with_light
  83. 83 http://www.digitalpicturezone.com/digital-pictures/25-amazing-light-graffiti-pictures/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightwritings/
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lights-n-shadows/pool/
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/groups/movinglights/pool/
  87. 87 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightfantastic/pool/
  88. 88 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightjunkies/pool/
  89. 89 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightdrawing/pool/
  90. 90 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightpainted/
  91. 91 http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightstream____/pool/
  92. 92 http://weburbanist.com/2008/07/07/10-amazing-light-graffiti-artists-and-photographers/
  93. 93 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

    Real nice, some great inspiration.

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

    0
  11. 11

    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
  12. 12

    Lightpainting is really fun!

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

    0
  13. 13

    Barbara Gonzalez

    July 14, 2008 7:16 am

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

    0
  14. 14

    What? No references to light beer? ;)

    0
  15. 15

    JeremieSpoken

    July 14, 2008 8:09 am

    wooo flashy!

    0
  16. 16

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

    0
  17. 17

    WOW!, amazing!

    0
  18. 18

    simply amazing :O

    0
  19. 19

    Look great! Amazing

    0
  20. 20

    WOW!

    0

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