Artist Support October 14, 2022

Visual Artist Katharine Harvey Explores a New Medium with Drone Performances

What if great art could come to life, defy gravity, and fly through the sky? That’s exactly what Katharine Harvey is bringing to Toronto’s skyline in Turning in the Light, an artwork that will be presented at Light Up Downsview: A Drone Performance by Katharine Harvey on November 12, 2022. 

Katharine Harvey is a contemporary Canadian artist whose practice ranges from painting to public art, where she explores the sensation of ephemeral, fleeting moments. Harvey’s drone show design features abstract cosmographic images alluding to distant galaxies, shooting stars, celestial vaults, the northern lights, magic carpets, and the wheeling night sky.

Using the visual vocabulary she has developed over 35 years of painting and large-scale art installations, she will extend creative boundaries by transforming this new medium into an otherworldly, ethereal show. Her dream is to paint magic in the sky.

Read on to learn how Harvey is harnessing the magic of the night sky to bring viewers a unique aerial art experience.

How did you get involved with the drone performance?

I saw a drone performance online in early 2020 and immediately thought, “Cool! I want to do that!” So, I kept working away to make it happen. Illuminated flying drones are a natural progression from my LED light sculptures and paintings about them. First, I obtained my certified fireworks display assistant license. Then I started working this summer as a crew member for Northstar on fireworks and drone shows to familiarize myself with both mediums.

Photo of Katharine Harvey on the drone field
Turning in the Light artist rendering 2022 acrylic on Yupo paper 10 x 13 inches

Creating visual art with the use of drones is a unique, innovative concept. How do you approach working on this project?

I researched the cosmos a lot, looking at hundreds of images. Then, I sketched and painted my ideas over the past month and a half. The show will have both abstract and recognizable scenes. Some drone patterns are based on my recent paintings. I have also mixed in some recognizable galaxies and shooting stars. I hope these will be general crowd-pleasers for people who don’t know my work.

What can audiences expect to experience?

This show will be like nothing people have seen before. Unlike fireworks, drones float in the sky, defying gravity and changing colours. The swarm makes a lovely and compelling buzzing sound. This green technology does not create air pollution or fire hazards. Additionally, there are no alarming sound explosions. I hope the 12-minute show will create an atmosphere of magic and wonderment about the cosmos.

Don’t miss the magic! Sign up for the waitlist for Light Up Downsview: A Drone Performance by Katharine Harvey.

About Katharine Harvey

Katharine Harvey is a contemporary Canadian artist whose practice ranges from painting to public art, where she explores the sensation of ephemeral, fleeting moments. At the core of her work is a fascination with the unseen, the liminal space between reality, the mind’s eye, and imagination. She has interchanged mediums throughout her career, allowing her paintings to inspire her sculptures and vice versa. The artist has designed both temporary and permanent installations in Canada, the U.S., and Germany – made of recycled plastic, glass, mosaic, LED lights, and steel.

Artist Katharine Harvey, photographed in her studio in Markham, Ontario by Peter Power.

See Katharine Harvey’s artwork come to life at Light Up Downsview