Preview Photos: Shrine On at Lightning in a Bottle

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It’s no secret: CARTWHEEL loves Shrine On! From the use of global reclaimed material in all his work, to his belief that we are all true artists, to his enthusiasm and support of others’ work, he stands out as an extremely important, and extremely thrilling, voice in our community.

Shrine builds beautiful structures for festivals and art shows across the country. These are places of reflection and meditation,  places of adventure and joy. I always become overwhelmed when trying to describe them, but try I do: Modern tribal prints sweep across structures patterned after temples found in Thailand, India, or Japan. Reused materials adorn, strung up like holiday decorations, creating beautiful chime sounds. They feel like a three-dimensional collage; someone’s quiet thoughts you can sit inside of and ponder the great mysteries of the world, and of the self. You can never feel alone inside of one of these beauties.

These temples are about love and self-support, and encourage us to figure out what it is that we ourselves have to offer to the planet.

Shrine does not call these structures temples. He calls them shacks. He says that, yes, he’s visited Eastern temples, and was inspired and moved by them, but that his structures never have any reference to any working religion. He works and builds from the abstract:

My work is feeling. The part of my body that I work from is the center of my chest. If something happens in my life, and I cannot feel anything, then I cannot work. I think others feel my work in a similar way. They feel it first, think about it later. That’s how I like to approach all art.

Shrine does not hide from the world and the reality in which we are living, but utilizes its discarded materials to create a new world of his own, a world he offers gladly to us.

He pushes the limits of expectations and asks everyone–from the educational system (he once cut his hair short and bought a tie to persuade local schools to allow him to create a kids’ mural program), to his neighbors (his front yard on his quiet, conservative street is a mosaic of towers, plants, and painted objects), to you and to me–to step outside of what we think others want, and embrace what we know we need. Love thyself, be true to true.

Which brings us to his newest creations for this year’s Lightning in a Bottle: A new Shrine On Shack, the Temple Stage and an interactive artist workshop area.

The new Shack installation is re-purposed from a piece he did recently with artist Lauren Napolitano. They called the piece Friends and Lovers, and for the LIB version, it will be filled with the distinctive Shrine salvaged materials: Paint cans will be strung up like garland; painted bottles and painted brushes, among countless other items, will fill its interior. I cannot wait to spend some quality reflection time there during this weekend’s early morning hours.

The Temple Stage will consist of a 50 foot pyramid and two 25 foot pyramids, and is a piece re-imagined from his last astonishing Coachella project. As majestic and awe inspiring as these promise to be (if you’ve ever seen his work, then you are for sure looking forward to Shrine pyramids!), he is most excited about the surrounding interactive areas within the Temple of Consciousness.

Here, he has invited various working artist to come and share their skill. For each artist he has created a unique, and individual shack, utilizing materials from past projects- a process he playfully calls “re-use on re-use crime.”

In this area, artist Kristian Merwin will be holding a glass blowing workshop where we will learn about the art of glass blowing and create our own glass bottles. Feather Chyld will be spinning and dying raw wool and LIBers will be able to partake on the loom and create something special of their own. Metal artist Chrystie Cappeli will create a pop up studio, emulating her own working studio, allowing us to weave metal and try out welding. There will also be a writing station, where we can write messages with hand crafted quill pens,; and a mosaic workshop, allowing us to create personalized mosaics from bottle caps and other salvaged materials.

Shrine wanted to put activity and art making in the LIB Temple area, because he believes the true evolution of festivals is about participation. He claims

The rockstar paradigm is dead.

By this, he means the days of passive entertainment, and looking up to others’ work without then making something too, is behind us.

If the Rolling Stones come through, I mean, I wanna see them sure, but if I’m watching a show […] I wanna get up there and do something too!

And Shrine really, really wants you and me to “get up there and do something too,” and through his invited artists and their workshops, we can do just that. I cannot think of a better souvenir to take away from this year’s LIB then my own glass blown bottle, can you?? Maybe the only better thing, would be to explore glassblowing, or whatever it is you were inspired by, and to then bring your own work to next year’s LIB to share, thus inspiring new work in others. Maybe we can call that reimagined and reclaimed inspiration.

With less then a week to go till Lightning in a Bottle, Shrine promises us a maze of entertainment, fulfillment and discovery–the weekend cannot arrive too soon!

Shrine: Empire of Love xXx LIB, photos courtesy Shrine On



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