In summer 2022, the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion requested submissions for their Éclat event which was to take place at Le 405 Park during the Artefact Music Festival. Mine was one of five selected by the committee.

Each artist was asked to create an immersive three minute digital art video which the City planned to show on three eight-foot-high LED panels. Every screen had to be different. Artists were provided with technical assistance during creation if required while specialists performed necessary tests to ensure that the videos played correctly on the outdoor screens.

Rustic broom

Pointe shoes & ribbons
My loosely woven creation is a homophonic adventure which revolves around the words BALLET and BALAI, homophones in French. One spelling refers to dance, the other, a broom. My headliner is a broom of the rustic variety. He dreams of dancing and in his reverie, begins to transform. Pointe shoes with ribbons wrap around his handle.  He morphs into strange creatures and characters as the spirits residing within him escape.

I had to create my screens intuitively because I didn't have an application or software that allowed me to see all three simultaneously.

My goal was to entertain the general public. I thought a ballet or dance theme would be perfect for the music festival. I had recently finished a series of paper works on which I had collaged pieces of sheet music. The imagery grew to depict a funky ballet character. I was motivated to keep working on the idea of dance and these are the elements and characters that ended up in my ballet. 

- rustic brooms
- pointe shoes and ribbons

- Napoleon Bonaparte
- his wife Josephine
- a mummy wrapped up in pointe shoe ribbons
- a chubby dancer
- linear, transparent dancers
- a spirit that inhabits the broom handle 

Having created a first video with entirely digital components in 2021 (for the Natura project), I wanted to approach this work differently. The upper body of my Joséphine, the shadow Napoleon, and coloured shapes were digitally extracted from an unfinished acrylic painting, while the ballet legs and Napoleonic hat were taken from some of my mixed media works on paper. Other characters and objects in the video were all drawn digitally in Procreate.

Ballet leg

Josephine with Napoleon's hat

The learning curve is endless when it comes to digital art and my works have evolved a great deal over the past 10 years. For this project, I wanted to improve my mastery of the applications I use on a regular basis to achieve flexibility of execution during my creative process. When acquiring new skills, it's often difficult to obtain a desired result right from the get go.

I experimented with frame-by-frame animation in Procreate. Since this process is extremely laborious, intensive, and time-consuming, I created and incorporated a short clip in the centre screen panel.

Spirit in the handle (frame by frame animation)

I switched between several applications on my iPad to create my video, mainly Procreate, Keynote and Video Joiner.

Napoleon with ballet legs

Many animations were conceived in Keynote particularly the broom dance. I repeated and distorted objects to create rotations. Exported videos from Keynote were way too slow and clunky so I imported them into Video Joiner to increase their speed and to add special effects. I achieved relatively smooth movements in various clips.

Josephine with broom handle legs

I used time-lapse videos to create other segments and also inserted two small mirror videos of mummies wrapped in pointe shoe ribbons in the central screen above the chubby dancer character. This gave the illusion of fluttering butterflies. I was delighted to discover that I could insert videos into videos.

Mummy wrapped in pointe shoe ribbons

Chubby dancer

I interlaced all my segments in the Video Joiner application screen by screen. Once my three final panels were done, I met with the municipal lab technician and with his help and knowledge of Adobe Premiere, adjusted the length of the three videos to arrive precisely at three minutes each. Credits were added by a graphic designer hired by the city.

Videos created by the other four artists were merged with mine and the final work was shown on a loop every night during the Artefact Music Festival held on August 18, 19 and 20, 2022. The videos were silent as they were shown during live music shows. This was the third time the municipality presented large-scale outdoor videos with the purpose of giving citizens access to digital public art in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region.

Once the Festival was over, I added a soundtrack to my video. The lab technician again provided valuable assistance in producing an electronic version of the Nutcracker overture which worked well with my characters' rhythms.
I learned so much during the creation of this project but often felt as though my head was about to explode. It never did (mind you, I might not be aware of the aftermath!) 
In situ - Photo: Je suis Mozaik
I invite you to enjoy
Les Grands Balais de Vaudreuil-Dorion !