100 Creatives 2013: David Wilhem, Light Painter
What He Does: David Wilhem has had some success with his stainless steel paintings, but his newest passion is something called light painting. It's a little difficult to explain, but stick with me here because it's cool as hell.
First Wilhem just keeps an eye out for unusual graffiti or buildings or whatever might make a good picture, and takes a few phone shots as a reference. He maintains a map of Houston in his home that is extensively marked with future projects.
Once he has a subject he mounts his camera on a tripod to keep it absolutely still. Knowing the exact composition of the shot, exactly how much ambient light is around, and precision movements and timing all have to be mastered to bring a light painting to life.
For example, in the above Wilhem will figure out what lights to use for the shot and clip them to his belt loops or keep them in his pockets or in spots that he will be at in the shot so he can drop one light and simply pick up the next once he's in that position for the shot. To write the word "HOME" backwards into the camera he used a 5 dia LED from a camping supply store. He makes a mark at the left of the frame and the right so that he know where to stay in, then very carefully moves the light until in a specific sequence to capture the word. The results are astounding.
Why He Likes It: Wilhem got into photography after his grandmother passed away and left him her Canon A-1 and lenses. Using her equipment made him feel much closer to her, and over the years he's used the skills learned on her bequest to achieve his unique works.
More than just picture taking, Wilhem enjoys augmenting reality. What he creates in real life only shows up in the camera. You can't see it while he's doing it. This once resulted in him getting accosted by security guards who thought he was spray painting, only to get a lesson in what light painting is.
What Inspires Him: "Everything."
If Not This, Then What: Currently light painting is more of a hobby for Wilhem than an actual pursuit. Albeit, a very, very passionate one. He is a full time professional creator of really excellent stainless still prints, which are also worth taking a look at from the link above.
If Not Here, Then Where: "I couldn't really see myself leaving Houston. Too many ties and love. Generation after generation we may travel, but H-Town is home. Not saying I won't fly out for a shoot or a good time, but the people make this city and I love 'em."
What's Next: "Bigger and better. I want to shoot for large installations. I won't stop light painting until people look at a camera and they see it the way I and other light painters see it. So onward into the abyss that is the future with a huge smile and an open mind."
More Creatives for 2013
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster
Browncoat, pin-up pop artist
Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist
Vincent Fink, science fashion
Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder
Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer
Sameera Faridi, fashion designer
Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet
Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company
Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director
Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre
Outspoken Bean, performance poet
Barry Moore, architect
Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist
Ty Doran, young actor
Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate
Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet
Justin Garcia, artist
Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center
Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric
Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician
Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse
Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company
Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography
Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions
Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover
Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist
Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer
Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker
Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer
David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer
Danielle Burns, art curator
Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder
Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator
Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker
Amanda Stevens, scary book author
Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger
Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach
Billy D. Washington, comedian
Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer
Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer
Kelly Sears, animator and film maker
Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director
jhon r. stronks,dance-maker
Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer
Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer