The Sky Factory Artists' Statement"What do you do when it rains?"
It is our opinion that Sky Factory SkyCeilings™ and SkyV™ are not just pretty pictures. They are not just innovative or stylish design elements. In the deepest sense, they are not even about the sky.
We think of our work as technology - an artistic technology - whose purpose is to introduce the power and purity of nature into human environments.
In "Ode on a Grecian Urn" John Keats concludes by telling us, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know."
At the Sky Factory, it is our belief that by delivering the full beauty of the sky, we can deliver truth — the inner truth of nature - and nature, we believe, includes ourselves.
Why are we focused on the beauty of the sky? The sky is humanity's most universal experience of nature. No matter who we are or where we live, we all see and love the sky. Everyone, in every culture, has experienced lying on their back looking up into clouds floating across a blue canopy. Even our bodies are attuned to the blue of the sky. It is no accident that our eyes and mind register the coolness of blue as distant space. (This is a fundamental principle behind “Impressionism” and bright red stoplights.) It is no accident that “blue sky” is the symbol for freedom and infinite possibilities.
Furthermore, the clouds that inhabit the sky occur in patterns and these patterns are actually exquisite visual expressions of the physical laws of nature that govern fluid dynamics. (We can see these same patterns repeated in the sand at the seashore, the bottom of streams or even in the large-scale erosion patterns on Mars.) In short, the sky is not only beautiful but also a place where the workings of nature are easily accessed by all of us.
How do we attempt to create beauty that is "truth"? To begin with, a Sky Factory SkyCeiling™ or our digital cinema SkyV™, is an illusion. We go to great lengths and use every possible tool to create a hyper-real illusion, an illusion that has the power to elicit our desired outcome - the experience, not of illusion, but of reality. One of our favorite compliments came from a child who, while looking at a SkyCeiling, asked her dentist, "What do you do when it rains?"
We start by respecting gravity and verticality. (While we love mountains and the seashore, they do not appear above our heads, so we don't put such things on the ceiling!) We control the perspective of our images so that the sky we place on a ceiling is accurate and properly scaled for the observers, (as if we had cut a hole for the observer to look through.) We use large format digital photography and RED Digital Cinema™ to ensure that our images contain as much real-world information as possible. In our digital cinema we use only real, unedited time. We work with 6500K lighting systems that are designed to create uniformly luminous daylight equivalents. We carefully control light and color, and in that way express humidity, altitude, season and even the time of day.
One of our most important tools is composition - we emulate the organizing principles used by the great masters to ensure that a work of art is self-contained, continually moving, and attractive. We carefully select images and screen shots, whether static or dynamic, and place them in the ceiling so that the eye and mind respond by moving, and in that movement, experience the full journey, the full truth of the image. This movement of eye and mind is on the surface - from one element to the next - but there is also a movement inward, into the depths of the image and its content. The ultimate "truth" of these natural images is transcendental. Hence, it is our wish to lead the attention of our viewers from the trees and clouds to the formless infinite freedom of blue sky. From this experience, we hope they emerge refreshed and re-awakened.
In viewing SkyCeilings and SkyV it is this exposure to nature's deep mechanics, her truth, and the resulting resonance of that truth with our own individual nature, that delivers the benefit. Nature heals. Nature heals our psychology, our physiology and our innermost self.
Does this work? If Keats is right, and if we do our job, we expect a powerful "yes".
But the real question is, "Does it work for you?" We certainly hope so.