“I’m not crazy, it’s just that my reality is different from yours”, a quote from the most mysterious fairy-tale cat, the Cheshire. It taught us all not to be afraid to embrace our inner weirdo. The “Cheshire Cat” is canny, wise, and can disappear at any moment, leaving only his smile behind. My illuminating art installation of “Cheshire Cat” reminds us that everything will be okay. All we need is a little more positivity and not to be afraid to be our true selves. The artwork creates an impression of magic, mystery and grandeur. It makes the passer-by stop, pay attention to the surroundings and feel the atmosphere filled with fantasy and light.
I created the project specifically for the LUMINA Art Light Installation Park after winning a national competition. The park is located in a beautiful place – Vilnius University Botanical Garden in Kairėnai. This year’s theme was Alice in Wonderland. All the sculptures had to conform to this theme, creating a mood of magic and mystery.
At the same time it had to be appealing to the whole family, from the youngest to the oldest. The “Cheshire Cat” and his mysterious smile have intrigued me since childhood. The most enchanting aspect that is visible even in the darkest night. Therefore, without thinking long and hard, I decided to stick with this character.
First of all, I had to think carefully about choosing the right materials. I knew that the installation would have to hang outdoors for four months, suspended from surrounding trees, at a height of seven meters. It would have to withstand a wide range of weather conditions: cold, rain, wind and snow. The technical requirements became an important part of the creative process. In order to create an illusion of depth, the installation consists of several structural components. I called a team of technicians to advise on the electrical installations, carpentry and suspension challenges of the artwork. . The outline of the cat’s face, the eyes, the mouth, and the eyeballs – created out of painted plywood, and illuminated with 100 meters of LED tape.
After hanging everything between the trees and tensioning the cables, the overall image was created. From a distance, “Cheshire Cat” appears flat and solid, but a closer look reveals that the piece has depth, and several different aspects. One of the most important parts of the creative process when creating illuminated artworks, is choosing the right color and brightness for the LED strip lighting.
The colours need to complement each other and be muted brightly enough in the dark without blinding passes by. This is where the light technician was indispensable. A device that adjusts the function of the lights was installed. With this device, the lights that make up the “Cheshire Cat’s” smile, gradually brighten and dim, creating the impression of the smile remaining after the cat has gone. Each line goes out every 5 seconds, and the dimmed smile goes dark gradually.
The final result met all expectations, fitting in perfectly with the park and its atmosphere. A bright, luminous smile greeted visitors from afar and invited them to take photos. The lights, sound effects and other details in LUMINA Park added to the effect and the magical mood, mysterious and enchanting.
Dimensions: 4 x 3,5 m