- Published on August 23, 2013
- Written by Lexi Castagna
The Bay Lights is an amazing project that is near and dear to my heart (and TCHO’s)! It involves so many different things I love — dear friends, art, and the San Francisco community.
I’ve long held a passion for, and engagement with, digital art/media and first met Leo Villareal at the ZeroOne festival while he was creating exquisite light sculptures and gaining stature in the art world. He has serious credentials: a degree from Yale, the Tisch School, and the Media Lab at MIT to name a few, but he’s also a regular participant at Burning Man, which has had a big impact on his life and work. There are very few artists who can straddle the contemporary art world of galleries, museums and art critics, while also being in the wild, woolly and unbridled world of Burning Man Art. (So cool!)
Public art has an incredible power. At its best, it’s a reflection of a community’s self image, its aspirations and its sense of community. Leo’s sculptures are so intrinsically optimistic, and this project is so grand and ambitious and beautiful, that I think it’s actually an excellent reflection of the audacity we’re known for out here on the wild coast. To me, seeing The Bay Lights at night almost looks like a curtain drawn that defines a space – a space that because of our proximity and my sense of home along the Embarcadero feels somehow like my giant San Francisco living room.
Photo credit: David Yu
TBL was conceived by Ben Davis, and managed by another dear friend, Amy Critchett — who was my first assistant at Wired (oh so long ago) and she once was apart of our TCHO team as well! Also, the original founder of TCHO, Timothy Childs, designed the connectors that attach the string of lights to the upright cables of the bridge … using his 3D printer, of course! Fun TCHO connection: Timothy and Amy were roommates back in the day, which is how we met him in the first place and how TCHO was born… this really is a family affair for us!
So naturally, we wanted to support the project in every way possible — a portion of the proceeds generated from TCHO’s The Bay Lights chocolate collection is donated to ongoing maintenance of the installation. The photograph used for this collection is also in support of local artists: We were scouting for the best image to use for the packaging, and came across a beautiful photograph by David Yu, which we traced from Instagram to Facebook to David. I really like the completely new San Francisco skyline he highlights (what, no Golden Gate bridge??), and the way he made the colors pop.
This collection a wonderful souvenir for visitors and locals alike, and an excellent way to support The Bay Lights. Get yours now!