The Strange and Wonderful Reality of Craig Winslow

I’ve become so curious with how fondly we think of nostalgia, dream about the future, yet we ignore the present moment.
Portrait by Armando Garcia.

Portrait by Armando Garcia.

To Craig Winslow, the world is very much alive. He’s created a profession of blending the physical with the digital, shaping a strange and wonderful new reality for us all to enjoy. His experiential design brings ordinary scenes to life with projected shapes and patterns. Blank walls transform into new landscapes. Inanimate objects expand with depth and dimension. Shafts of light become interactive exhibits. Possibilities are truly endless in the world or Craig Winslow.

We met Craig at last year’s WeMake Celebrates conference. In 2016, he was just embarking on a year-long Adobe Creative Residency. His Light Capsules project won a coveted spot, and for 52 weeks he dedicated his time to bringing ghost signs back to life with projection mapping technology. He created more than 25 installations across the country, which launched him into the national spotlight. We’re delighted to have Craig at this year’s conference. His work fits perfectly with our experiments in process theme.

“The best ideas come from times when I’m most flexible, and can clear my mind and just experiment. Very often, I start with a concept for a project by tinkering, and being unafraid to try something new,” says Craig. “Even if whatever I was trying to accomplish doesn’t work, it may inspire something else entirely.” Craig’s drive and openness to new ideas and experimentation that led him directly to Light Capsules. Creativity struck during a cross-country move from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. Together with his friend designer and illustrator Mike Ackerman, Craig embarked on a 15-day road trip/art project called  “Projecting West” where they would project daily narrative light installations. On the sixth day, Craig’s projector caught a ghost sign, which ignited the project that would catapult his career.

Photo by Mike Marchlewski
Photo by Sam Roberts

Photo by Sam Roberts

Craig’s experimentation with reality is rooted in his boyhood. “I grew up playing in the woods with my sister and letting our imagination go wild. As we transitioned to the dawn of the internet, I played a bunch of video games, and was just curious to learn how to make things on the computer. My close friends and I made weird videos and haunted houses. There was always a blend of physical and digital elements,” says Craig. “I’m still completely captivated with making experiences that blend the physical and digital.”

These experiences helped Craig become an expert at transporting people into a new reality. He creates artificial environments that engage us, bringing us into the present moment, together. ”One significant moment clicked with me. I was working on a storefront display in SoHo, and I was projection mapping a pair of blank shoes that were then animated with the new designs. Looking through the window I saw a couple young kids walk by, followed by a much older lady. They both lit up with excitement. It struck me how none of them had to wear a device or be told how it works, they were just enjoying a shared experience,” said Craig. “More and more I’m excited by creating work that people have to see in real life, because it gets us out of spending too much time online, and out to enjoy the world around us, together.”

Spend a few moments exploring his work, and you’ll start to see the world in new dimensions. While he brings old advertisements back to life with Light Capsules, he’s also igniting industrial spaces with new energy through White Noise, a collaborative time-lapse project with sound designer Miles Dean and movement artist and choreographer Erika Senft Miller. “A lot of my work relates to a strong sense of place, and time. I’ve specifically become so curious with how fondly we think of nostalgia, dream about the future, yet we ignore the present moment. We shouldn’t dwell on the past, but be excited for the future, and be an active part in creating it. I’ll discuss this more in my WeMake talk.”

For Craig, every day is an experiment in waking the past, examining the present, and taking hold of the future. Today, he’s constantly jet-setting across the country to explore new realms of projection mapping, 3D modeling, and beyond. We’re excited to hear more about his latest projects, current tinkerings, and what’s ahead in his horizons. Grab your seat. Tell a friend. We’ll see you on October 13 at the 2017 WeMake Celebrates conference.