While many consider visionary art to be a visual rendering on a flat medium, there are many visionary artists that are taking their craft to a whole other dimension.

Visionary artist Carey Thompson and interactive lighting extraordinaire, Brian Pinkham, have joined forces to create one of the most spectacular art installations to hit the festival grounds. Aptly named the “PsyPort” this towering luminescent beacon can catch your gaze for hours if you aren’t careful.

We had a chance to catch up with Carey and Brian and hear a little about the inspiration behind the PsyPort.

Carey: With my background in visionary art, I developed an initial interest in portals as I began to understand the transportative potential of this visual medium. As I learned to curtail my conscious ego enough to  pull imagery from that hidden dimensions, visions emerged that helped facilitate others to access those realms via this optical interface. Early on, my artistic studies of the psychedelic and biological worlds drew me into a deep process of working with sacred geometry, a tool which can reveal the majesty and interconnectedness of all life and matter in the universe. This process led me to study sacred architecture, found especially in the ancient world and later, masonic buildings.I discovered the link between the human and the cosmos is especially amplified and fused in these structures, which facilitate heightened states through this resonance. The natural direction for my art turned toward building these structures myself, and pursue this art that has a deeper level of interactivity

Lighting is key for projects like this, and instead of the traditional colored flood lights, I chose to have the entire piece integrated with internal lighting in between the many layers. In collaboration with Brian Pinkham of Photonic Bliss, the LED lighting was installed and programmed using custom mapping specific to the many geometries of the structure.

Brian: The lighting for this piece is the culmination of about 5 years of development work. It is a system which allows anyone to not only control and modify the effects created on the portal, but to create new effects and programming from the ground up using only an iPad and an app and without any actually having to program. The Arthur C Clarke quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” is very fitting for this piece. People watching the portal can be overheard arguing whether or not it’s projection mapping or LEDs because they literally can’t tell. This is the kind of piece that can be seen far away in the distance and is a beacon which draws people into it’s presence like moths to a flame… only instead of burning them, it delights them with a mesmerizing show of extra-dimensional light and form.


Carey: The effect is beyond what I had imagined possible in this time, and Brian’s work surely rides the cusp of interactive lighting technology. 

My first structural installation was at Burning Man in 2005, which I called DiMethyl Temple. It was a portal facade based off a fusion of Egyptian, Balinese, and Mayan temple motif into a visionary art gallery featuring the works of 13 contemporary artists. This experience unlocked for me the potential of interactive art, as I witnessed countless new ways in which people experienced the work. I have focused much of my 3D work to portals, which are structures designed for passage from one space to another. Sometimes these have taken the form of stage facades, but mainly to set an energetic tone as an entryway into an activated space. I am excited to push this project further, with even more design and interactive technologies, in the hopes that the synergy of art and technology can catalyze deeper levels of inspiration and magic. Stay tuned for further developments of project Psyport…PsyPort

See more from Carey Thompson


See more from Brian Pinkham


Featured Image is of StarPort by Carey Thompson with lighting by Photonic Bliss. All photos by Stunami