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Let There Be Light: Light Paintings and Sculptures

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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 II
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 II
Lightning Photography - Heatherwick studio - Sitooterie II

I am on Fire
Light painting by Benegizer.

Lightning Photography - Nebulous in Blue

sm_light paint
Created by Andrew Thomas.

Lightning Photography - sm_light paint scott1

Finding Light

Lightning Photography - Finding Light - Part 1

feb light graffiti 011

Lightning Photography - feb light graffiti 011
Lightning Photography - feb light graffiti 011

Light Circles

Lightning Photography - PA278895.JPG

Perfect Cicle

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb

Human Bulb

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb

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

Lightning Photography - Human Bulb

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

Lightning Photography - AntiVJ is a visual label

So far away

Lightning Photography - So far away

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

Lightning Photography - Lightmark | Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke | Hamburg | Germany
Lightning Photography - Lightmark | Cenci Goepel and Jens Warnecke | Hamburg | Germany

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

Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings
Lightning Photography - Eric Staller - light drawings

Spirallight
By Robin Carpenter.

Lightning Photography - Inhabitat » SPIRALIGHT by Robin Carpenter

Laser
Created by Fesan from Norway.

Lightning Photography - Laser

Light in the Hall

Lightning Photography - DSC_0126

Fluorescent Tunnel

Lightning Photography - [mb] Fluorescent Tunnel 6

Light Painting Humanoids
Light painting examples by Christopher Hibbert.

Lightning Photography - Learning Light Painting | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials
Lightning Photography - Learning Light Painting | Abduzeedo - graphic design | design inspiration | design tutorials

Dean Chamberlain

Lightning Photography - Dean Chamberlain
Lightning Photography - Dean Chamberlain

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 Keller

Lightning Photography -

Olho – Light Paint com celular e sony!

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

Fun with light and robots

Lightning Photography - fun with light and robots
Lightning Photography - fun with light and robots

Feb light graffiti

Lightning Photography - Flickr Photo Download: feb light graffiti 032

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

Lightning Photography - energie in motion on the Behance Network

Light River
A light painting by Crystal Chroma.

Lightning Photography - Light River

Michael Bosanko
“We Come In Peace”.

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

Experiments with Light

Lightning Photography - experimentos para retrato 03

Santa’s Reindeer – Light Sculpture

Lightning Photography - Santa's Reindeer - Light Sculpture

Abstract light painting

Lightning Photography - IMG_1601

Breakwater

Lightning Photography - Breakwater

Neon Coriolis

Lightning Photography - Neon Coriolis

Bow

Lightning Photography - bow

Gyrating Quasar
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 stone

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 Late

Lightning Photography - Working Late

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

Lightning Photography - Working Late
Lightning Photography - Working Late

Last Click Link

Sprint flashlight
Sprint commercial with flashlight animation.

figure/object>

Resources Link

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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.

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  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.

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  2. 2

    just fantastic

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  3. 3

    just fantastic thanks

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  4. 4

    Very, very nice !!!!!!!

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  5. 5

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

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  6. 6

    Fantastic collections yet again – i will be coming back to this post for sure when i get some more free time!

    Leigh
    Portfolio

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  7. 7

    Cool! There are some beautiful thing between them :P

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  8. 8

    fantastic…

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  9. 9

    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.

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  10. 10

    amazing

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  11. 11

    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. :)

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  12. 12

    Always enjoyed doing this with slow shutter speeds on my camera.

    Niki Brown Niki Brown

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  13. 13

    Real nice, some great inspiration.

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

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  14. 14

    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.

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  15. 15

    Lightpainting is really fun!

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

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  16. 16

    Barbara Gonzalez

    July 14, 2008 7:16 am

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

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  17. 17

    I have one of those!

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

    -Mike

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  18. 18

    What? No references to light beer? ;)

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  19. 19

    wooo flashy!

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  20. 20

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

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  21. 21

    WOW!, amazing!

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  22. 22

    simply amazing :O

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  23. 23

    Look great! Amazing

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  24. 24

    WOW!

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  25. 25

    Seems like Smashing magazine is becoming a Wallpaper site, No doubt its great stuff, but we expect some CSS/Javascript crunch along with these yummy wallpapers, Continous similar posts might get SM boring.

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  26. 26

    This is really wonderful, thank you, check this please:
    http://www.takuro-osaka.com/index.html
    also great work.

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  27. 27

    The Christmas reindeer made me laugh but great inspiration!

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  28. 28

    wow i really stunned with this collection… still wondering how they make these lighting..

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  29. 29

    I stunned through scrolling this collection. Great. Fantastic.

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  30. 30

    This looks totally awesome but I agree with the general consensus that Smashing Magazine should stick to publishing moar articles about web development.

    But hey, this is INSPIRATIONAL MATERIAL am I rite? You can never have enough of that. =3

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