Spectral Q Philosophy

Spectral Q Aerial Art evolved out of my work as an educator and environmental advocate. I saw a need for communities to express their dreams and to address urgent issues. This unique mix of human installation, aerial photography, and political activism brings together communities to create large-scale messages for the common good. Focusing on themes of health, human rights, social justice, ecological balance, democracy, and freedom, the work strives to liberate the spirit and inspire unity and creative activation through participation.

I coined the phrase Aerial Art in the mid-nineties as a way to enroll all those involved to become Aerial Artists. Most people don’t consider themselves artists. Because this work involves thousands of people I saw the opportunity to not only send powerful messages but also to creatively activate the participants to see themselves in a new way. The participants are not extras on a film shoot. They are never paid to do this. (see Spectral Q Code of Ethics) They have to believe in the message enough to spend several hours of their time sitting, laying, kneeling, or standing in a giant form with their bodies most likely touching a stranger.

They become co-creators of a momentary human sculpture that is documented for the world to see then dispersed to the wind like a Tibetan Sand Mandala. The experience involves both precision and chaos and hopefully above all FUN. We get to play with each other while embodying a message to the world about what matters most to us. And we do it all through direct experience in the presence of each other rather than virtual electro reality. My mission has been to create a world of Aerial Artists by sparking participants to become creatively activated and to connect with each other.

I define Aerial Art as the creation of forms upon the land whose true identity is only revealed from an aerial perspective. Historically this dates back to the Nazca lines in Peru and ancient cities that oriented their structures along lines that formed a pattern if viewed from above. The modern inception of Human Aerial Art dates back to the early part of the twentieth century when photographers Mole and Thomas began traveling to military bases and creating massive installations of patriotic icons such as the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, Woodrow Wilson’s profile, the Marine Corps Seal and many others.

Their photographs created a new genre of art called ‘Human Pointillism’ of which Spectral Q Aerial Art is a part. Mole and Thomas believed that this work could only be achieved by using military personnel as participants because they had them standing in position all day. In my work I have the people in and out of the image in no more than an hour to an hour and a half. The speed of the work creates an energy with which I strive to break up the normal…the expected…and allow the exceptional to occur. The inherent urgency translates into a ‘rising up’ when we send our message to the sky. In a world so programmed to manage risk and limit uncertainty the process of a large crowd swarming into position before resolving into focus can be a challenging, chaotic, and liberating experience for many.

In the end this work is all about people, what they love, beauty, and our connection to nature. One of the things that I emphasize when I’m addressing the coordination team before an event is to recognize what a powerful and unique moment we’re about to experience…hundreds to thousands of people coming together in these giant forms because they care. I remind them of all the time, energy and resources that have been invested to make this heightened moment possible and encourage them to pour love into each person as they shape the image. I’ll often be at the center of the chaos in those moments screaming like a madman at the top of my lungs “You’re beautiful! Do you know how truly beautiful you are? It’s amazing what happens when people join together, risk, and allow themselves to be seen.

I want to thank all of the amazing artists that I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with for the last two decades. This body of work would not be possible without each and every one of you. A special thanks to our ultimate collaborator ~ Mother Nature ~ for all the mountains, rivers, beaches, oceans, forests, meadows, parks, and landscapes that have served as spectacular canvases and the magical rainbows, sun dogs, mysterious mists, winds, waves, ice, and clouds that provided the finishing brush strokes on these images. I’m grateful for this life.

portrait and website by Mayli M - www.mayli.be

For all inquiries email info@spectralq.com

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.”

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose

recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy...

... I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”


                                                               George Bernard Shaw

“Everyone’s life is a work of art. We are all artists”

                                                                    John Q