I’ve been attending Nuit Blanche in Toronto pretty much from the first year– waaay back when I was in collage. It was always a treat in the new semester to meet up with friends, grab a few drinks and check out the madness across the city.
Having travelled around Asia, I see Toronto as a little slow keeping up with other “progressive” cities, but it always seemed to surprise me. NB was one of those surprises.
The idea behind Nuit Blanche made Toronto seem so much more cosmopolitan like Sydney, New York or Paris.
Out of all the years attended, I never thought I could participate as an artist. I gathered it was pretty difficult to apply and be accepted. Later I would find out how tough it really is. My younger self wouldn’t stand a chance getting in.
This year was different. This year the stars aligned and I became a participant of Nuit Blanche just by chance. How crazy is that?!
Through a mutual friend, I was introduced to Erin MacKeen, a local artist participating in NB this year. She had an awesome idea that included the use of projection mapping over hundreds of 3D paper shapes, but lack the know-how to do it herself.
I eagerly agreed to start working right away from our introduction. This was Nuit Blanche after all. How many opportunities would one get where all the application and acceptance process is all done ahead of time? I’m going to say, none. This is the catalyst to turn my nocturnal obsession into a public installation and who knows, even a business.
Over the span of 3 weeks, we built the installation from concept, while both fighting the flu– that was not fun!
After many nights of calibrating and a soft launch, it was finally opening night.
Because we were part of the 401 Richmond program, we were able to set our cut off time, instead of staying open all evening– awesome! From 7pm to 1:30am we had roughly 500 people visit our installation.
We had celebrity chef, Sur Sur Lee and politician Olivia Chow pay our installation a visit. Sur Sur stayed the longest out of the two. We were both hoping for a commission piece for one of his restaurants– alas, it was never meant to be.
We heard the same feedback from a variety of people: they wanted to crash on the floor, get high and watch the magic around them. The enchanted forest had this calming effect on everyone. The smiles on their faces was priceless and all the validation needed. It was magical and we did it!
The experience was thrilling, informative and such an amazing collaboration with Erin. We just naturally clicked, so much so, we opted to form our own design collective.
I gained shitload more confidence in my work, which has already sprouted new projects and collaborations with really fascinating people.
I found the catalyst that turned my after hours obsession into a real and public piece with the potential of making me a commercial artist in this field.
Looking back, I still couldn’t have imagined I would be here, a member of Nuit Blanche. If I told my younger naive self, he wouldn’t believe me.