Ross Ashton of UK-based The Projection Studio was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to be the main artist for the 2010 Pittsburgh Festival of Lights, for which he produced 4 stunning projection works. It's Ashton's first major work in the US and follows his installations at last year’s event for curators Marguerite Jarrett-Marks and Christopher Oberdorf and another that he produced for New Year’s Eve 2009/2010. The challenge was on to produce something that was completely different from anything in the past and that would engage the public as well as bring critical acclaim to the festival. The Festival of Light was concentrated in The Cultural Quarter of the city, and the art works had to utilise existing architecture and spaces.
Old Bones A projection onto the Mahla Office Furniture building by 2 x PIGI 6K projectors making one 50m by 30m panoramic image. Splendours A 3 PIGI show, throwing a 60m by 30m image on to a wall of the David L Lawrence Convention Centre. Cascade Two PIGIs were set up in the car park on top of a purpose built tower, projecting a 30m x 20m image onto the back of Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. An accompanying audioscape was created by sound artist Karen Monid. Hope This final piece featured a static slide mounted in a Pani BP6 projector projected on to the side of the Catholic Charities Building. The PIGI projectors were supplied by White Light in London and the logistics - crewing, PIGI engineering, rigging solutions, building of structures, was co-ordinated by Pittsburgh based Fly Space.
Says Ashton, "It was a great privilege to be asked to contribute as the lead artist and a very exhilarating task to be able to create bold, original pieces related to the life, vibrancy and culture of the city, with which people could engage and enjoy". Ashton found the urban environment a different and stimulating space in which to work and a real contrast, as much of his work is projected onto historically and architecturally significant buildings. "To have the blank canvass of neutral coloured, open walls and concrete as surfaces for the works, and the dynamics of the city around me as the public viewing spaces really made it come alive in terms of practical working art".