The most wonderful thing about airports these days (besides the fact that they take you somewhere familiar or new) is that they’re turning into art museums. The wild works of art that you see dashing through them make waiting for your flight an entirely innovating and inspiring experience. That’s why we were so excited to sit down with Philip Noyed, the multi-media artist behind the gorgeous and colorful installations you’ll spot at Minneapolis/St. Paul’s Terminal 2.
Noyed creates 2-D and 3-D luminescent art that activates spaces with exquisite color and light. He lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his artwork – representing the quintessential contemporary art movement making use of creative technology – is changing the way art is viewed today. Read through our chat with him:
First, the Walker Art Center has a James Turrell installation called Sky Pesher. It is an installation that has an architectural form placed inside the hill next to the Walker and an open-air rectangle form in the ceiling that allows you to view the sky within the shape and see the sky as a beautiful and real art – the sky is always changing, and yet, there is a sense of peace in watching the sky in Sky Pesher; no rush, quietude and light, sky, and cloud revelations.
Secondly, the Mississippi River in Minneapolis has the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam. Recently, there was an Illuminate the Lock event that featured a video “The Uncompromising Hand,” by Andrea Carlson, that showed Spirit Island images. Spirit Island was a sacred place to Dakota people, but was removed many decades ago over objections of the Dakota people and Minneapolis residents who picnicked there. It was beautiful to see Spirit Island through images on the Lock even though it only exists now in images.
Also, I personally have an art show at 801 Gallery that has new art installations that I’m very excited about. The first is called Inflection Point and shows four exclamation points that shimmer in holographic rainbow vinyl above the words “I am here…” This installation is about appreciating the now and using all the knowledge a person has into the now to create a new reality. The second installation is The Arc – Dawn to Dusk. It is an arc made of five images that move from dawn to day to dusk. The images interlock so the first is vertical, the second horizontal, the third vertical, the fourth horizontal, the fifth is vertical – so people can see the installation from above, the same level, and below the art installation. The images change with the light of day.
Each color has a psychological and physical effect on people. For Leap of Joy, I used all the colors of the rainbow or the chakras to be inclusive and provide a sense of joy and wonder in the airport. The “Leaper” has holographic rainbow vinyl so it is not one ethnicity and is gender neutral – I wanted everyone to feel they have the power to make a quantum leap forward in their lives. For Aurora Borealis, I wanted to bring the colors of the Northern Lights to life in images. I also used a rainbow diamond in the center that is always changing through all the colors of the rainbow, to bring a sense of light flow from the center to the sides of the artwork.
Rainbows in nature are so awe inspiring. Rainbows in my art both show the visual range of color to delight the eye and to symbolize inclusivity.
For L’Etoile du Nord or Star of the North, I wanted the star to be a beacon of freedom that people arriving at the airport would see. I wanted the silver and rainbows to be engaging and beautiful. Most of all, I want the meaning of every one of any nationality, creed, race, or sexual orientation to feel welcomed by Minnesota.
I thought a great deal about air travel with the Leap of Joy. Some people are frightened of air travel and some are scared by all the security measures. To me, air travel is magical. We enter an airplane and are able to fly hundreds of miles to land in a new city or country. My ancestors had to take a ship from Europe to America in a voyage that took months. So, I am always awed by the ease of air travel today. I thought of Matisse’s painting The Joy of Life. I thought of the joy of life, the joy travel, the joy of color, and then created The Leap of Joy. The Leap of Joy is about being able to easily fly to new locations and to be able to make decisions in life that let you make a quantum leap forward.
I’ve spent much time developing skills to create laminated images using acrylic and LED lights. I think I’m one of a few artists who create art using this technique; I am using cutting-edge imaging and lighting technology to create these art installations. The process starts with ideas. I wanted to create an iconic artwork about air travel (The Leap of Joy), and iconic artworks about Minnesota, so I selected the North Star (L’Etoile du Nord has been on the state seal since 1861) and the Northern Lights because they are well known in Minnesota. Once I had the ideas, I created concepts to show how they could exist in the space. I worked with many institutions – the Metropolitan Airport Commission, Arts @ MSP, two construction companies, the architecture firm, printers, and acrylic fabricators. I worked with all to create a detailed installation and creation plan. It was a challenge because I created everything on a small computer screen as Leap of Joy is 50 feet long and Aurora Borealis is 60 feet long. So ensuring that all images expanded to become big was very important to me. Also, making large-scale pieces requires much structural engineering, which was accomplished with the team I created these works with.
My art show at 801 Gallery in Minneapolis runs through the end of January. I made five new multi-piece installations for the show. I love to think big in unique spaces and use my art to activate the spaces.
I have travelled a great deal in America. I appreciate the airports that have art installations most. Detroit has an orchestrated water installation that brings a sense of calm and beauty to travel. Miami has a wonderful color corridor. Chicago O’Hare has a bright, light corridor that is quite nice. Many airports have some wall space or cabinets to show art. I love the airports that allow the art to be large enough within the airport to make a joyful and uplifting inspiration to travelers. Too often, airports are too functional and don’t have enough color or fluidity to the space. Art installations provide color and light and activate airports in positive ways that actually make the terminal an art destination people want to visit. I know that my installations have my friends flying Sun Country so they can see my art installations!AuroraAurora and L'Etoile du NordRainbow Diamond detailL'Etoile du Nord crystal detailLeap of Joy, Leaper
Brittany is a member of the Communications Team at Sun Country Airlines. Her favorite things about Sun Country are the close-knit family vibe and the passion behind the people, as if the employees and customers grew up loving the “airline next door.” Her favorite destination? The whimsical forests and rain of Seattle’s coast.