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Sculpting with light, magnificently:                                                 Dialogue with Jason Krugman

Sculpting with light, magnificently: Dialogue with Jason Krugman

Light-sculptor.

Perhaps this term is as unfamiliar to you, as it was to me, not too long ago. Perhaps it is hard for you to imagine 'light' as a solid, moldable material that one could sculpt with.

The truth is, that this is how I felt about the ephemeral material before I saw designer and Light-sculptor Jason Krugman's work.


The first images I saw, were of Jason's Organic Electric project. The delicate web of LED's captured my attention. I spent a considerable amount of time staring at the beautifully illuminated forms before I could enunciate what I was sensing: That Jason had succeeded in creating a tangible, physical entity of light, and was now sculpting it into shape and form.

 Manta, 2009, from Jason Krugman's  Organic Electric  Project. Source: Jason Krugman Studio.

Manta, 2009, from Jason Krugman's Organic Electric Project. Source: Jason Krugman Studio.

 Basket, 2009, from Jason Krugman's  Organic Electric  Project. Source: Jason Krugman Studio.

Basket, 2009, from Jason Krugman's Organic Electric Project. Source: Jason Krugman Studio.

Flash forward to my conversation with Jason, a few days ago. He spoke to me about the intent of his work, his process, recent projects and the tools he uses (and builds) to create this new artistic vocabulary.

Here is that conversation, with links to some immersive videos of Jason's work and process at the end.

MaterialDriven: Jason, tell us how you work with LED's, using light as a medium, and create the pieces that you do?

Jason: LED's are the smallest, most basic unit, and I work with them, with diodes, substrates, wire mesh among other materials, to experiment with new ways to conduct light and electricity. By connecting the LEDs in large parallel arrays, I can create a structure that conducts electricity. The result, as seen, in Organic Electric, is an illuminated wire-mesh. The mesh itself carries electricity from one soldered LED to the next. My intent is to create a topography of light, in multiple dimensions.

     Long Tube  , a 24-ft long tube of unbinned cool white LEDs. Source: Jason Krugman Studio.

 Long Tube, a 24-ft long tube of unbinned cool white LEDs. Source: Jason Krugman Studio.

MaterialDriven: What dictates the form of your pieces?

Jason: The form most often comes from the materials themselves, from the processes and tools we use at our studio in Brooklyn to mold them. Natural forms- fluid shapes, under-the-sea elements, trees, all play a role in inspiring the organic shapes of some of my work.

MaterialDriven: On that note, tell us about the selection of materials and tools you use for your work.

Jason: Suitability for its proposed location dictates the material vocabulary for a piece. For example, for Quad Helix– a 21-foot tall brass light sculpture we installed onboard a luxury cruise liner, we had to create something that would be robust and would remain unaffected by the movements of the ship.

The materials also need to be suited to the environment and the scale of space the piece was placed in-This paved the way for statuesque brass and the light forms we used. To bend the brass the way that we needed to, we built a set of custom bending jigs. Much of the result that you see is determined by us constructing the right tools to shape materials.

 Quad Helix, 2016. Source: Jason Krugman Studio. See Video link below.

Quad Helix, 2016. Source: Jason Krugman Studio. See Video link below.

 Quad Helix, 2016. Source: Jason Krugman Studio. See Video Link below.

Quad Helix, 2016. Source: Jason Krugman Studio. See Video Link below.

MaterialDriven: Where would you like your work to go in the future?

Jason: As a broader theme, as technology progresses, I would like to see an electrical topography carry information within it. Almost like Wifi, but more localized around it.

More personally, I would like to create more smaller industrially produced pieces, in addition to larger custom work. I would love to create more crossover products that operate at the intersection of art, lighting, and furniture.  

Material Driven: Jason, how do you think your work differs from other designers who are working with light as a medium?

Jason: Other designers or artists who are working with light, most often use off-the-shelf LED light fixtures. I often use through-hole LED's and solder them, creating circuits myself. I use the smallest, most basic material. I think the biggest difference might be that the framework and circuitry in my pieces are meant to be exposed and seen, not hidden.


MaterialDriven: Thanks Jason for giving us an insight into your beautiful work and your design and fabrication process! Readers, scroll down to see a video for one of our favorite projects from Jason Krugman Studio- Quad Helix.

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