Ultraluminous LED Light and Art Projects

Brian Neltner & Janet Fox

Updated July 23, 2010 with the new Light Brick System!

Table of Contents:

  1. Updates
  2. Purpose
  3. Background
  4. Theory
  5. Work to Date
  6. Media!
  7. Applications and Installations
  8. Light Brick (NEW!)
  9. Ultraluminous Illuminator UV+LED Light Fixture
  10. Design Details and Schematic Downloads
  11. Inquiries, Collaborations, and Contact
  12. About the Artists


The idea of using LED fixtures with artwork has been explored in a variety of settings, but is still a fairly new area of art exploration. In the recent past, the improved availability of RGB (red, green, and blue) LED light fixtures has made creating LED based artwork much more accessible to the electronically disinclined. This accessibility will result in a new generation of concepts in creating art where old media like acrylic are combined with LED light to create more and more unique and exciting art.

We are seeing the cusp of this curve even now, as architects are including LED based lighting into buildings, and a few artists are beginning to use LED lighting in their work. The purpose of this project is to further expand and enable the use of LED lighting in artwork by providing theoretical information, and information from my own experiences producing artwork of this sort.

This project started in January 2006 as a collaboration between myself and my mother. I am a materials engineering graduate student at MIT, with a strong background in physics and electrical engineering. My mother, Janet Fox, lives in the Washington, D.C, region, and is a communications and outreach project director working to improve energy efficiency as a government contractor and as a volunteer. She is also a part-time artist with a special interest in dream-based and abstract art, and incorporates many colors and beautiful shapes primarily into mixed-medium paintings.

Ultimately, my goal is to publish a guide for the beginning light artist as to how to start on the path to making LED art, along with a list of preferred pigments and advice for how to build or otherwise procure advanced LED lighting fixtures. I also think it would be great to provide starter kits with an LED light fixture along with paints which work particularly well with the light so that new artists can get started with as little difficulty as possible. Additionally, my current goal is to design a modular Light Brick which can be easily integrated into any hobbyist project or integrated and then sold as a complete light fixture with all sorts of new functionality developed by someone with more skill with controls.

Dedicated to the Loving Memory of Kevin "FrostByte" McCormick
LED artist, brother from another mother, and inspiration to us all.
Funded (in part) by a Director's Grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT.
All Content Copyright © 2010 Brian Neltner
All Rights Reserved