Artist
Jim Campbell
American artist

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Jim Campbell
American artist
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Date of Birth

1956

soesterling's picture

Contributor

Jim Campbell mixes his fancy MIT degrees with art to make sparkly things!

After graduating from MIT with degrees in Mathematics and Engineering this self-proclaimed nerd and introvert moved to nerd Mecca (Silicon Valley) to design television chips that convert old TV shows to high definition. I doubt he knew it at the time but these little chips, which clarify distorted and beloved images were allusions to his future work.

If you're trying to impress your date Campbell’s interactive New Media art utilizes technology to alter light based on the viewer’s physical relation to the piece in order to comment on the role perception and memory play in the distortion of images and experience. And you just told them that his pieces are electrical and they change depending on when and how you view them. Don't you sound smart!

Campbell has about a dozen electrical patents and has affectionately been called a cheater by fellow electronic artists who claim that his engineering background and ability to design and build his own circuit boards make his life too easy. It’s not his fault he is so enlightened and bright (ba-dum-ch).

Since even Campbell admits that his larger public installations are more about design than message it can be easy to dismiss them as nothing more than pretty light displays, which play to the magpie in us all (ooo, sparkly...). This would be a mistake. His motifs of perception, movement, memory, and the mind’s ability to recognize and distort all of these things are quite literally illuminated in all of his work. I like to think he came to these themes after hearing Babs wailing The Way We Were one too many times (mem’ries, light the corners of my miiiind…Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behiiind) but I fear that they stem from a bleaker place.

After his stint in Silicon Valley Campbell tried his hand at film making, eventually directing a documentary about mental health inspired by his schizophrenic brother who’d committed suicide. Once this project was over Campbell felt he had nothing left to say with film and has since devoted himself to his visual explorations of the mind’s varying abilities to perceive realities, emotions, and memories.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Jim Campbell (artist)

Jim Campbell (born 1956 in Chicago, Illinois) is a contemporary San Francisco based artist who is known for his LED light works. Campbell began his artistic career in film making but switched to electronic sculpture in 1990 and started making his iconic LED matrix works in 2000. His current work combines film, sound, and LED light installations.

Early life and career

Born in Chicago in 1956, Jim Campbell moved to San Francisco after earning a B.S. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in electrical engineering and mathematics in 1978. In the mid 1980s, Campbell shifted from filmmaking to interactive video installations, establishing LEDs as his primary medium in 2000. A trailblazer in computer technology as art form, Campbell explores the distinctions of human "knowledge" and mathematical "data" through his LED grids of pixilated representations. Campbell's work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other notable museums. He is currently represented by Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Jim Campbell (artist).