The show must go on.
Brave Berlin, the co-founder of Blink Cincinnati, announced its split from the nation’s largest art, light and projection mapping festival on July 14. But event organizers are still looking to bring plenty of excitement to the Queen City this fall.
In the months leading up to the Oct. 13-16 festival, organizers of Blink Cincinnati plan to announce the artist set list in three “waves,” including their first wave announcement Monday. In this announcement, Blink members will provide an update on event leadership and planning. They will also discuss the festival’s future and what attendees can expect this year.
Justin Brookhart, executive director of Blink Cincinnati, gave The Enquirer an exclusive sneak peek.
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Blink 2022 will include international artists
The festival’s overall mission will remain the same, but Blink organizers have made quite a few changes for 2022. In the past, the Blink partner group selected the artists it would showcase. This year, however, the group wants to expand its reach and grow the event by providing opportunities to all interested artists.
According to Brookhart, they will continue to celebrate local talent but will also introduce Greater Cincinnati residents to renowned international artists.
“What’s a little bit different about this year is we did an international call [to artists] across all of our disciplines. So across projection mapping, mural painting, light installations, and even our musician category… We use that to then curate and decide what the show is gonna look like this year,” Brookhart said.
International artists included in the first wave announcement are: British visual artist Shantell Martin; British Afro-surrealist visual artist Vince Fraser; Portuguese visual artist and illustrator, AddFuel; and Australian-based interdisciplinary artist Wendy Yu in collaboration with Elementz, Cincinnati’s premier Hip Hop cultural art center.
Additionally, Blink will feature projection mapping by international artist Graffmapping at the iconic mural, “Cincinnati Toy Heritage,” which is designed by local artist Jonathan Queen.
When asked about participating in Blink Cincinnati 2022, Martin, a biracial queer artist from London, said, “I’m a huge advocate for community participation bringing artwork to the local communities or spaces. That mixture of local artists and international artists, I think , is always super fun.”
Martin’s iconic black and white drawings typically explore the themes of intersectionality, identity and play. She has hosted several prestigious solo shows at some of the most renowned art institutions in the world, including the 92Y gallery in New York City, the Albright-Knox Gallery and the New Britain Museum of Contemporary Arts.
The theme for Martin’s piece has yet to be decided, but it will likely be a site-specific mural featuring her signature monochrome drawings.
Martin says she hopes her work will encourage Greater Cincinnati residents to find a creative, artistic outlet in which they can use to generate conversations about issues important to their communities.
“I try to make work that is open and playful at the same time,” Martin said. “I like people to feel inspired to create themselves. I like to encourage freedom of expression. I’d like to encourage people to think about things or to question things.”
Local artists return to Blink 2022
Blink’s Monday announcement will also reveal several local artists involved in this year’s festival.
Cincinnati-based mixed-media artist Michael Coppage will extend his BLACK BOX project with a large-scale projection installation. Local artist Jason Snell will incorporate projection mapping onto the ArtWorks Mural, “Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra,” which he also designed.
Production powerhouse Lightborne and other local favorites such as DogFish Crew, Linz & Lamb, Jessica Wolf and Mallory Feltz will also display artwork.
Blink organizers also recently announced expansion plans for Northern Kentucky. They were made, in part, due to societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How do we activate that space really well with the understanding that many things have changed about the region and about social behavior since 2019? So, how do we make sure that we’re creating installations that account for the fact that people may want a little bit more space in between them when enjoying some of these?” Brookhart said.
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With the expanded space, Blink 2022 won’t limit its work to the streets: The event will have installations at historic and architecturally significant buildings.
Returning projection artist Sean Van Praag will have his work displayed at The American Building. The Black Music Walk of Fame in The Banks will have an installation for Cincinnatians to enjoy. And a project by the Italian projection company Antaless Visual Designs will be featured at the Mother of God Church in Covington, KY.
blink grows advisory committee
The first wave announcement will also discuss partnership changes and the addition of a Blink advisory committee.
Brookhart said it was a goal of his to expand the partner group and include more voices to help inform Blink’s work this year. This led to the formation of the Blink advisory committee that Brookhart says comprises “incredible influencers and thought leaders and community members inside of the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions.”
“We wanted to kind of expand that group a little bit more and just make it feel a little bit more collaborative, a little bit more representational of the diversity of the Cincinnati region and of what the artwork we were hoping to represent this year,” Brookhart said.
Included in the committee are people like visual artist Gee Horton, filmmaker and producer for Four by Three Productions Chase Crawford and FC Cincinnati creative director Kaila Pettis.
Here’s a look at the entire committee.
Blink Cincinnati 2022 advisory committee:
- Gee Horton, visual artist
- Kick Lee, founder of Cincinnati Music Accelerator
- Chase Crawford, filmmaker, and producer for Four by Three Productions
- Rico Grant, founder of Paloozanoire, SoCap Accelerate, Gallery at Gumbo
- Christy Samad, vice president of event management for 3CDC
- Barbara Hauser, Cincinnati community relations manager for Proctor & Gamble and owner of Red Door Project
- Ronnie Iquina, senior account executive and media consultant for Radio One
- Nate Bachhuber, vice president of artistic planning for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
- Kaila Pettis, creative director for FC Cincinnati
- Nick Wade, executive director for Renaissance Covington
- Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky