The show must go on.
Blink Cincinnati co-founder Brave Berlin announced on July 14 its split from the nation’s largest arts, light and projection mapping festival. But organizers want to bring plenty more excitement to the Queen City this fall.
In the months leading up to the October 13-16 festival, Blink Cincinnati organizers plan to announce the artist set list in three “waves,” including announcing the first wave on Monday. In this announcement, Blink members will provide an update on event leadership and planning. They will also talk about the future of the festival and what visitors can expect this year.
Justin Brookhart, Executive Director of Blink Cincinnati, gave The Enquirer an exclusive look.
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Blink 2022 will feature international artists
The overall mission of the festival remains the same, but Blink organizers have made some changes for 2022. In the past, the Blink Affiliate Group would choose the artists they would feature. This year, however, the group wants to expand its reach and expand the event by offering opportunities to all interested artists.
According to Brookhart, they will continue to celebrate local talent while also introducing residents of the greater Cincinnati area to renowned international artists.
“What’s a little bit different this year is that we did an international call [to artists] in all our disciplines. So through projection mapping, mural painting, light installations and even our musician category… We use that to then curate and decide what the show is going to be 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 arts hub.
Additionally, Blink will showcase projection mapping by international artist Graffmapping on the iconic Cincinnati Toy Heritage mural created by local artist Jonathan Queen.
When asked about participating in Blink Cincinnati 2022, Martin, a multiracial queer artist based in London, said, “I’m a big advocate of community involvement by bringing artwork into local communities or spaces. That mix of local artists and international artists I think is always super fun.”
Martin’s iconic black and white drawings typically explore themes of intersectionality, identity and play. She has hosted several prestigious solo exhibitions at some of the world’s most prestigious art institutions, including the 92Y Gallery in New York City, the Albright-Knox Gallery and the New Britain Museum of Contemporary Arts.
The subject for Martin’s piece has yet to be decided, but it will likely be a site-specific mural with her signature monochrome drawings.
Martin says she hopes her work will encourage residents of the greater Cincinnati area to find a creative, artistic outlet they can use to have conversations about issues important to their communities.
“I try to make work that’s open and playful at the same time,” Martin said. “I like it when people feel inspired to create something themselves. I want to promote freedom of speech. I want to encourage people to think about things or question things.”
Local artists are returning to Blink 2022
Blink’s announcement on Monday will also reveal several local artists involved in this year’s festival.
Cincinnati-based mixed-media artist Michael Coppage will expand his BLACK BOX project with a large-scale projection installation. Local artist Jason Snell will incorporate projection mapping into the ArtWorks mural, Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra, which he also designed.
Lightborne Production Power Plant and other local favorites such as DogFish Crew, Linz & Lamb, Jessica Wolf and Mallory Feltz will also have artwork on display.
Blink organizers also recently announced expansion plans for northern Kentucky. They were made in part because of societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How do we activate this space really well with the understanding that since 2019 many things have changed in the region and in social behavior? a little more space in between when you’re enjoying some of these?” Brookhart said.
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With the expanded space, Blink 2022 will not limit its work to the street: the event will have installations on historic and architecturally significant buildings.
Returning projection artist Sean Van Praag will show his work in the American Building. The Black Music Walk of Fame at The Banks will have an installation for Cincinnatians to enjoy. And a project by Italian projection company Antaless Visual Designs will be shown at the Mother of God Church in Covington, KY.
Blink expands advisory board
The first wave announcement will also discuss partnership changes and the addition of a Blink Advisory Committee.
Brookhart said one goal of his is to expand the partner group and include more voices to inform Blink’s work this year. This led to the formation of the Blink Advisory Board, which Brookhart says includes “incredible influencers and thought leaders and community members in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions.”
“We wanted to expand this group a little bit more and make them feel a little bit more collaborative, a little bit more representative of the diversity of the Cincinnati area and the artworks that we hoped to represent this year,” Brookhart said.
The committee includes individuals such as visual artist Gee Horton, filmmaker and producer of 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 the 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 Events Management at 3CDC
- Barbara Hauser, Cincinnati Community Relations Manager for Proctor & Gamble and owner of the Red Door Project
- Ronnie Iquina, senior account executive and media consultant at Radio One
- Nate Bachhuber, vice president of artistic planning for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
- Kaila Pettis, FC Cincinnati creative director
- Nick Wade, CEO of Renaissance Covington
- Amy Spiller, President of Duke Energy, Ohio and Kentucky