05 Nov MASS
I am MASS (Samuel Heuzé). At the moment I live in Sully sur Loire, near to Orléans in France but I’m about to move to a small town called Harnes, near to Lille in northern France.
I’m 40 years old (oh damn already!!!) and I’m lucky enough to be able to live off my passions, Light Painting and Body Painting, for the last few years.
How did you get into light painting?
I discovered Light Painting in 2009 when I worked in an advertising agency. I had to do an image search on the internet and whilst searching I came across a highly graphic photo by Marko93 where there were light drawings in the photo. A small caption accompanied this photo – “no photoshop, Light painting”. From there, I looked up what Light Painting was and found out that using light painting we could draw and write within a photograph with light. I immediately wanted to try and I fell in love with this art.
How important is light painting for you? Is it a hobby, your main job?
Light painting is very important in my life because it pays my bills, thanks to the workshops and events that I do, but it is also very important for me because thanks to Light Painting I have been able to discover many beautiful places and especially exceptional people who, like me, love and develop this artistic discipline. Whenever I am not feeling well, it allows me to enter another world where I am outside myself and I create art that allows me to forget all the bad things in life. It’s a kind of therapy I would say.
What is your light painting style? What kind of designs do you tend to create?
I am very inspired by the Arabic calligraphy and street art that is present in my surroundings. I developed a condensed arabesque style that became a kind of signature however, I’m always keep to learn new techniques and progress my style – I try to be familiar with a lot of different techniques in order to be able to teach my workshop students as best possible. I also try to merge a number of different techniques together (rotations, stencils, multi exposure, etc) in order to create interesting results.
What was your biggest photographic challenge or photo that was the most difficult for you?
There were several photos that were really difficult to achieve but I think the most complicated thing to do is Stop Motion photography because we have to create each exposure live and be very precise in what we do to get a good result. I remember a trip to China that I was part of, together with some great Light Painting artists, where we had to create small Stop Motion sequences which was something I had never tried before. As such, I had to try to work with all these fantastic artists and try not to lose face! It was very nice to work with these great Light Painters because I could learn new techniques just by watching them work, but it was also a lot of effort to adapt my style to the new challenges of stop motion so as not to disappoint them. It took a lot of concentration to get an acceptable result but in the end I think it worked out great. You can see the video here : Stop motion
What equipment do you tend to use?
I mainly use a digital SLR camera for my creations and an OMD camera for live light painting in events.
In terms of the lights and light painting accessories I use, I tend make my own lights in order to achieve the results and textures that I want achieve (especially in terms of calligraphy). I also make my own stencils, cones, illuminated balls and recycle all sorts of items into light painting tools as the tools I am looking for are generally not yet commercially available.
Most artists I know do the same thing – they make their tools based on what they want to do.
What is your favorite light painting tool and why?
My favorite tool is a lamp that I constructed myself for use in my calligraphy. I’ve adapted his lamp to work specifically around my style and way work of working – effectively it is an LED strip with a simple push button and a small battery. I use it on almost all my compositions.
If you could only keep one photograph, what would it be and why?
It’s very hard to choose only one photograph as each of them has their own story … if I had to choose, it would be a simple portrait of my daughter. The photo is quite simple but it represents a lot of things for me.
Can you tell us funny stories while you’re painting in the light?
I’ve got a ton of funny stories from light painting. I remember a session that I did in the south of France where, during my composition I saw someone approaching. I asked him to turn off his light so as not to spoil my picture and saw the guy continue approaching with his phone going off all the time. I finished my picture and was able to see a bit more clearly that it was the park ranger.
He asked me what I was doing here in the middle of the night and I explained to him that I was Light Painting. The poor man asked me to leave because, due to the lights I was waving around, the Mayor and the inhabitants of the village thought there was a fire! Because of me, this poor bloke couldn’t spend a nice quite night as everyone was calling him to make him come and see what was happening!
Do you have any future projects you are working on?
I don’t really have any concrete projects at the moment. The majority of my projects are born out of the meetings that I do. As part of moving to the north of France I intend to put on some exhibitions to help disseminate this artistic discipline. I would also like to introduce Light Painting to those who wish to learn to help our beautiful family to grow. I would also like to continue my collaborations with other Light Painters as it always provides many moments of exchange and happiness.
What advice would you give to new painters?
My advice for the new Light Painters would be to have fun first, this is the most important. After that, if you want to achieve good results, I think you do have to persevere and not give up if it’s too hard. Work always pays and everyone can get to a good or a very good level if they work hard.