About This Site
Read more about this website.
Please go to youtube to see animated examples of art and pyro.
Which will be updated from time to time or in the advent of a special event.*
When I was in high school I was interested in music and art and participated in both. I received a scholarship to study art in New Paltz at New York State University, New Paltz. I majored in art and formed a musical quartet. After three years at New Paltz, I had to take a break while I served in the US Navy. In the Navy, I formed a band on the ship I was on, a Destroyer. When that ship got back from its Mediterranean cruise I was posted to the Art Department on ComDeslant Admirals staff (Admiral Weakly) in Newport Rhode Island. I met Jim Scancarelli while in the art department, we became good friends and are still friends these many years later. Jim went on to take over the cartoon “Gasoline Alley”, which he still does today. After the Navy, I went back to school in New Paltz and graduated the following year.
That was the year that GE introduced the flashing Christmas tree lights. I noticed the colored projected patterns they produced on the white wall behind the Christmas tree. These sharp-edged patterns were the result of the small filaments in these light bulbs which became ‘point light source’, they worked like a pin hole camera in reverse.
I began experimenting with point source colored flashing lights projecting patterns on a screen. Years earlier, as a high school student, I had taken a field trip to NYC to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon exiting the museum we passed through the gift shop and right at the exit was what looked like atelevision9 set but was playing amorphous colored patterns without repeating itself. I was mesmerized. Today’s computer screen-saversecho this. The piece was by an artist named Thomas Wilfred and it changed my life. Ever since then I have been fascinated with flashing/blinking colored lights and I have designed and built kinetic art light sculptures.
The first time I exhibited my art work to the general public was at Finch College Museum of Art Contemporary Study Wing. This show was a collaboration between myself and Adrian Guillery. He and I were college roommates and played in the same band. When Adrian and I were setting up our show the director for the museum, Elaine Varian asked me if my father was Pliny Arnold Hogle. I responded that he was and Elaine told me” I used to baby sit you in Fort Bragg, North Carolina when you were 4 and 5 years old”. It is indeed a small world. I was 24 years old when Adrian and I exhibited our work at Finch. Thomas Hoving, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, having seen our work at a loft in New York where we were showcasing our art, arranged for a show at Finch College.
During this time, I went to the Filmore East in NYC, I had gone to see Miles Davis and his new quartet, also on the bill was Neil Young. I saw the light show put on by Joshua White and it changed my life, a second time. I went home and began experimenting with overhead projectors, liquids and 35mm slides. I started making my own slides using transparent colored lacquers with hand painted abstract graphic patterns, and press type moiré patterns.
I don’t remember how or why I started painting live models, (probably because of Yves Klein painting canvases by painting nude models blue and using them as the paint brushes to paint his canvases). I painted nude models using a flexible “day glow “poster paint. I developed flexibility in the paint using glycerin. When applied to a body, the paint wouldn’t crack off when the models moved and posed. I lit the painted nudes with “black light” and then photographed the “glowing” bodies.
Today I have thousands of original slides. I developed a multimedia light show consisting of overhead projectors and 35 mm slide projectors with programable dissolves.
While perfecting my ‘light show “technique. I presented “Lightshows” in my studio in New Paltz. I didn’t know at the time how Joshua was manipulating the water, oils and glycerin. Aniline dyes colored the oils, food coloring colored the water and glycerin. I could not find a clear bowl or dish that did not have Pyrex or something else on the bottom, so I made my own. Since the projection area on an overhead projector is square, I made square trays to fit the projection area. I made clear Lucite trays with raised sides with drilled holes in two sides opposite each other into which I inserted rigid tubing sections. I attached pliable tubing to the rigid tubing. At the end of the two pliable tubes I connected an air mattress foot pump and from the foot pump a pliable tube went into a gallon jug of water. This allowed me to add clear water to the tray when the existing liquids in the tray coalesced, and are evacuated through the tubes going into empty gallon jugs. I attached hemostat type clips to these tubes so they could be closed off until needed. I had discovered that with plain trays (no tubes) that the image I was projecting got muddy before the Pink Floyd Album I was practicing to was over. Being able to clear the old liquid out and put in the new clear liquid worked well.
Years later I found out that Joshua used “clock crystals” the curved clear glass face covers for large analogue clocks, a smaller one nestled in to a larger one with the oil and water between them. Joshua’s clock crystals being circular they projected a circular pattern on the screen. Not knowing how he acquired the circular projection, I made transparent film underlays for going between the tray’s and the projection surface. I adapted a standard school overhead projector to meet my needs. I glued 1/8” square clear plastic strips left and right on the overhead projector just outside the projection area. This allowed me to insert film and cut outs (“gobos”) between the projection surface and the liquid trays. I made up a series of different sized transparent black films with transparent circular openings, which I could slide between the trays and the projection surface achieving circular liquid shows. I also changed out the incandescent projection lamp with a more powerful quartz lamp. I moved the focus controls from the front to the back of the projector (school teachers stand in front of an overhead projector when they use one) I needed to stand behind it. I also added a rheostat on the side of the projector to raise and lower the lights brightness and a flap in front of the lens for instant blackouts and restores. By building a rigid four-sided (one side open) pyramid shape with the base the size of the projection area and the top ending with an opening the size of the projector lens housing. With the inside painted a reflective silver and the outside flat black as are all non-reflective back stage pieces of equipment. The reflective hood actually increased the image brightness while helping keep the area around the projector dark. The open side was at the back allowing access to the Lucite trays allowing manipulation of the image being projected.
I was approached by the owners of the first”Discotech” in the U.S.in NYC, the “Cheta”, to construct a table top kinetic light piece for their disco. While I was in their club They showed me their projection booth and I noticed a European single slide, slide projector with a square plastic device with tiny tubes coming out of it. I was told it was to project liquids on the screen by pumping transparent colored liquid through it, but that it didn’t work very well.
While developing my own liquid projectors techniques * insert here , I experimented with making liquid 35mm slides. I came across slide glass which was just a little smaller size than Kodak slide glass. Three pieces of slide glass sandwiched together will work in a Kodak Carousel Projector and fit in an 80 count slide tray. I put a silicone strip on one side of a standard glass slide sandwiched with the smaller glass slides as a spacer, along with the third piece of glass slide. When the glass had silicone on three sides I would remove the spacer glass and place a silicone bead on the fourth side. I would leave a very small entry hole, into which I injected the oil and water with a syringe and then filled the opening with silicone and mounted the liquid slide in a metal slide mount. This worked vey well. Movement was achieved by inserting the slide into the projector slide tray upside down very quickly. The traped air would rush upward in the slide causing the liquids to “flow” in the opposite direction.
At my studio in New Paltz, during a lightshow presentation with live music, one of the viewers came forward and told me that he was involved in a theatrical commune comprised of some of the original cast members of “Hair” and they were rehearsing in Miami, Florida. I received an offer to go to Miami and use my light show experience with this communal theater group called “Mushroom”.
This theater piece was written by John Ammons, original cast member of Hair on Broadway. This theater commune was comprised of some of the original cast members of “Hair”, and they had a script and a cast and a band, and they were rehearsing in Miami, FL. The show was performed in the round with a live band inside a translucent vinyl inflatable dome 40’ diameter, 30’ high at the apex. Projections were done on the outside of the dome. Five 16 mm film projectors with film by Judd and Judy Yalcut, my contribution was 1 overhead projector and twelve 35mm slide projectors with programable disolves. The audience sat on pillows around three quarters of the dome floor, the last quarter being reserved for the band and my light show. It was theater in the round with the performers performing in the center area and into the audience.
When Mushroom folded after three months, I pursued using colored light to paint dancers and music performances as an art form, along with pyrotechnics and colored flares.
While in Miami I sleeved nine 6’ florescent tubes with three sleeved in red, three in green and three in blue gels. These fluorescents were sound responsive, I put these fluorescents vertically in a Christmas Tree for an exhibit of Christmas Trees at the Lowe Art Museum. I also lit Oscar de la Renta’s spring fashions premier at the Lowe Art Museum “An Evening for The Senses” January 2th, 1974. Attending were Oscar de la Renta and Francoise de la Renta. The Lowe Museum Director had told me that they were going to have a new building built by one of their benefactors, and they said that the building\’s girder skeleton would be up by the time the gala came around and they wanted the fashion models to pose on the girders while fireworks went off in the sky behind the models. They asked me if I could light it and do the fireworks as well. I said of course even though I had never worked with fireworks before. This was on July 1st, on the next day I went to the Orange bowl in Miami where the July 4th show would be and approached the people putting on the show. I explained why I was there, to learn about fireworks. The owner of the company, George Zambelli, was there and asked me what was I doing for the next couple of days and I replied \“nothing\“. Mr. Zambelli ( Zambelli Fireworks company is the largest in the US ) then offered me work and instructions. My first \“shoot\” was from a 10\’ by 40\’ barge off of Miami Beach. The barge is towed by a tug boat, on a very long ‘hawser’ a braided hemp rope about 1” in diameter. The Lowe museum benefactor turned out to be Meyer Lansky of the Mafia, who was busted and deported, thereby killing the building project. That meant no fireworks this time but now I was working for Zambelli Fireworks.
Previous to this de la Renta Gala Event, I coordinated, staged, and lit a nonprofit event for the Lowe Art Museum in Miami in a circus tent. It was a “Happening”, if you don’t know what a happening is look it up or ask an “old hippie”, utilizing theatrical lighting, rear screen projections, “go-go” dancers, costumed improv performers, streakers,( again if you don’t know what a “streaker was, ask an “old hippie”), bubbles, smoke, and strobes. I had one improv group of four performers dressed as construction workers, all the Gala attendees were seated in their tuxedos and formal gowns at round tables seating 10 guests. The construction workers would walk up to a table and without a word (none of the improv artist’s spoke to the attendee’s, only each other), enclosed the table in construction saw horses and then left, most attendee’s never left their tables when this happened, after 5 or 10 minutes the “construction workers” would return, remove the barricades, and gravitate to another table. This was December 8th, 1973 .
I moved to Santa Fe New Mexico in 1979. In Santa Fe, I created “Play me a Rainbow”, six florescent tubes each one of the six colors in a rainbow, connected to a 6 key, key board. The florescents float in space hung by mono filament line and are played with the keyboard which illuminates the selected color with every key stroke. Being commercial sign flourescents they came on instantly (like a strobe) with no glow or flicker, instantly on and instantly off. I also created an outline image of a Diamond back rattle snake on an eighteen foot long by a foot and a half high wooden frame mounted at average eye height on 8’ high 2”x4” uprights. The outline of the Diamond back rattle snake was delineated by double pointed finishing nails stuck in the wooden frame. Small (large soda straw diameter), 3” long green and gold burning phosphorous “lances” (think flares) which are then fused together so that the fuse contacts the end of each lance. When the lit fuse reaches the “lances” they ignite. The fuse burns faster than the eye can follow it. I also created a flaming dreidel for a friend at Hanukah. I always fuse my “set pieces” in a random fashion, this way the spectator has no idea of the subject of the “set piece”. When the burning image is revealed it is always a nice surprise for the spectators. These images are a lot like “connect the dots” and in this case your eyes connect the dots in your mind. I also “painted in the sky” with an aerial fireworks show that evening.
In Belen, New Mexico, my son and I were setting up fireworks for a July 4th celebration in a vacant lot \“down town\” Belen. My son was digging the trench for the mortars when he called me over. He had uncovered a skeleton. Now we were a crime scene and we had just started our set up. We start early in the morning and work right on through the day into the evening, some times close to the start of the show. By uncovering the skeleton we had to notify the police. When they arrived and established the \“crime scene\” we were told to stand down and move away from the trench. After about an hour of research they determined that the empty lot was at one time a cemetery, the church was long gone. We were then allowed to continue, we reburied the skeleton and then dug a new trench and this time no skeletons.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico I met an elderly gentleman named Dr. J. Scherer who practiced color therapy healing. Dr. Scherer’s mother also practiced color therapy healing in the 1920’s, as taught by Dinshah P. Ghadiali. Dr. Scherer’s mother used colored stained-glass paddles which she held over the part of the body needing healing. She used sunlight as the light source and used the Dinshah identified colors needed for correcting the different ailments in the body. Dr. Scherer contacted me in Santa Fe in 1982 to put together theater lighting colored gels to match Dinshah’s colors and a quartz illumination source which would mimic the sunlight (5500 Kelvin). After much research Dr. Scherer and I chose the appropriate colors of Roscolene gel. Some colors by themselves and some in combination achieve the finals results that best mimic Dinshah’s colors. Today you can go online and google Dinshah and color therapy, and find those colors and how to purchase them.
February 5th 2007, I was operated on for a begnine 7cm tumor on the right frontal lobe of my brain. I obviously survived the operation. Learning how to dress myself and walk again took more than a month of therapy. It took even longer before I could play a drum set and a couple of years to learn how to read drum music again. You realize at some point after your recovery that you are not the same person you were before the surgery. The nuero surgeon told me that it might take a while for some memories and motor skills to come back and some he said would never come back. Frustrated at not being able to play a drum set as well as I did before the operation, I opted to put my set away. Music has always been a very large part of my creative drive and rather than give music up totally, I joined the percussion section of the “Santa Fe Concert Band”. One of the oldest concert bands in the United States. When this first band was formed in the territory of New Mexico, it was right after the civil war. There was a civil war battle at Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. The confederate forces lost that battle and went back to Texas. The confederate bugler liked New Mexico better than Texas and returned to Santa Fe with two other Texas musicians and started the “Santa Fe Concert Band”.
I coordinated with the National Democratic Committee and local state Democratic chairman for all of candidates John Kerry’s and John Edwards public appearances in the state of NM, setting up staging, seating, light and sound equipment and crowd control barriers in Santa Fe. John Kerry stayed in Santa Fe and rehearsed for one week for his debate in Phoenix AZ with George Bush. For this rehearsal we built an exact replica of the Phoenix debate facility at the Inn of Loretto main ball room in Santa Fe, so that Kerry would be able to practice for his debate and be comfortable with the surroundings in Phoenix. There is a specific blue color called “Presidential”Blue. We needed to paint the parts of the set that were to be blue with this paint. The only paint company which made this color was Behr paint, only sold at “Home Depot” and I had been informed that the founder of “Home Depot” was a staunch Republican who donnated a million dollars to the party on election years. I decided I would not purchase the paint from “Home Depot”, I being an “artist” I would mix the color myself. I couldn’t do it and had to buy the paint from “Home Depot”. I got to hang out with and get to know John Kerry a little that week and I was very impressed with him.
When Presidential candidate Barack Obama and Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden stumped for election in NM in 2008, we handled all the technical aspects of their campaign appearances in NM as we had for Kerry four years earlier. In 2012, we once again provided equipment and personnel for President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election and also met and provided equipment and personnel for Michelle Obama’s appearance on behalf of her husband in Las Vegas, NM.
Storydancer, Zuleikha whom I have collaborated with for years, is co-creator of The Rumi Concert, with poet and translator of Rumi, Coleman Barks. They work with different world musicians. As Coleman reads the translations of the 13th century mystic poet Rumi, Zuleikha joins in interpretation of movement and story, the musicians accompany through their instrumental improvisations, and I interpret the group work in colored lighting design.
Zuleikha is a movement artist known for her weavings of story, rhythm, dance and innovation. Growing up in a western classical music family playing piano and flute, Zuleikha’s movement background spans the avant garde, studying with Anna Halprin from childhood through the Ali Akbar College of Indian Classical dance and music. She studied music in Afghanistan with the great master, Ustad Hashim Chisti, lived and danced in Bali and practiced movement forms in Asia, dancing and teaching in the temples of Japan. From the fusion of western avant-garde and eastern classical dance, she is constantly creating a contemporary rhythmic language, which embodies an expressive form of spontaneity and improvisation through movement.
The finale is always Zuleika alone in a beautiful costume made of layers of graded colors of white silk, whirling in the reminiscence of the “whirling dervishes’, and I paint her in all the colors of the rainbow, changing the colors and their sequence and direction. I use a minimum of five illumination sources. Four are front and back and both sides, while the fifth is straight down. With the advent of LED lighting there now are lighting instruments which can produce any color of the visible spectrum, so it actually becomes five lighting instruments.
We did one of these concerts in St John the Devine Cathedral in NYC and she danced on a raised white circular platform just forward of the alter. There is no music or poetry when she twirls, just her. It seems to the audience that she goes into an altered state and she simply whirls, and whirls, changing direction as well. When the performance was over quite a few of the audience wanted to know how we made her levitate. It was because of the raised white circular platform in front of the altar, as I mentioned before. It created an uplifting kind of optical illusion.
This facility is so large it has its own weather system independent of the weather outside the cathedral.
Zuleika is the Founder/Director of The Storydancer Project. The Storydancer Project (TSP) inspires positive change in the face of adversity through transformative movement and self-care practices that restore vitality and cultivate joy. TPS is an international non-profit organization based in New Mexico, dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and tolerance as the key to peace. Serving girls, women, children and families facing challenging life circumstances.
While I was living in Miami, I auditioned for and was entered into the University of Miami’s School of Music. At the audition they placed the incoming freshman in one of four 18 piece jazz big bands, these bands are ranked with the first being the very best players and then the second and third and fourth. I was placed in the third band. The faculty member who auditioned me told me that had I played with brushes instead of sticks on “Satin Doll” he would have put me in the second band. Out of thirty percussion students in the program I was in the top ten. While at the University, I got to play with some exceptional players such as Bruce Hornsby, Jocko Pastourious, Ira Sullivan and Gerry Mulligan who was the guest artist one semester. After a while he and I hung out together as I was closer to his age than the students. When Duke Ellington’s band came to Miami Gerry got comp tickets and we went to hear the band, I got to the theater first and went to my seat and waited and waited for Gerry to show up. When the band started to play there was Gerry playing with the band, it turned out that Dukes baritone saxophone player had been rushed to the hospital right before the show. I was a lot older than the other students and technically not as good a player and my reading was terrible, but I had years of experience they did not have, which gave me an edge. I received a call one day to come and record at Criteria Recording studio in Miami, When I arrived I asked who was on the session, I was told only you. I was expecting other musicians, it turned out they needed a generic drum track of each of the 5 drums plus hi-hat and one ride cymbal. The tracks were for the BG’s for practicing new songs prior to recording with a band, kind of strange, but it payed well. When I left the University I could read drum music and had polished my technique. I wound up playing in “show bands” on Cruise Ships and going on the road with the Jimmy Durante Band out of Chicago. The first time I went out on the road was prior to enrolling at the University. When I was living in New Paltz I received a call from Villa Lippani’s owner in New Paltz asking me if I could fill in and take the place of the drummer performing with the traveling group that was appearing there. It turns out, the group was the “Goofers” from Las Vegas, who had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The guitar player held his guitar upside down behind his head and played the flight of the bumble bee really fast, the horn player played brass and reeds and played them hanging upside down and swinging from a trapeze. The drummer had bought a used white Cadillac convertible and was not making the payments. The car dealer he had purchased the car from was “connected” (with the “Mafia”) and an enforcer showed up one night at Villa Lippani and broke the fingers on both hands of the drummer. I wound up filling in for him (I lived about a block away at the time) and continuing on with the rest of their tour, everyone in the band had to do something musical but different from just playing.
I mounted 8” black light tubes on my cymbal stands and when it was my turn I played an extended solo to “Caravan” with the stage lights dimmed or off and with day glow drum sticks. My closest friend John Vett went on the road with me also in that group playing Bass.
I continued playing with Jazz bands in Santa Fe including working with the famous Jazz Bass player from California, Joe Mondragon, I became his drummer. He performed the bass line to the film “Jaws” and many other films as a bass player with Universal Pictures studio orchestra in California and received residuals from the movies he worked on which guaranteed him an income for life. I played drums and sang with small jazz groups in Santa Fe until my brain surgery put an immediate end to my performing in improv groups. Upon recovery as previously stated, I switched over from improv groups to playing with the percussion section of the Santa Fe Concert Band which is very satisfying as all of the players in the Concert Band are excellent. We perform show tunes, pop medly’s, marches and light classical pieces and give free concerts for the public outside in the summer and in the spring we give our first concert in the Saint Francis auditorium of the New Mexico Art Museum and then in December we perform a free Christmas Concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, NM.