Vicki DaSilva is an American light graffiti and light painting photography pioneer. She has been making single frame time exposure photographs at night since 1980. She is credited with the term ‘light graffiti’ as well as being the first artist to make deliberate text light graffiti photographs beginning in 1980. Her photographs are created at night, live, on location. These images are made possible through processes of recording that are unique to photography. The execution time varies in duration from minutes to hours per photograph. DaSilva moved to NYC in 1983 after receiving her BFA from Kutztown University of PA. While at KU she met Keith Haring, a Kutztown, PA native. She was heavily influenced by the convergence of street and graffiti art during the birth of hip-hop that created a lasting graffiti love affair with light replacing spray paint. DaSilva did an internship and worked as an assistant with internationally acclaimed video and performance artist Joan Jonas. Through Jonas she was introduced to many historically significant artists including Richard Serra, for whom she worked as a personal assistant throughout the 80’s. She was artist photographer Gary Schneider’s first darkroom assistant. Her exploration of light graffiti and light painting as a multidisciplinary, time-based, site-specific art form anchored in the photographic process continues to push boundaries of intervention art. Vicki DaSilva won the solo grand prize of the international competition Art Takes Times Square in 2012. DaSilva’s work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions at Woodward Gallery NYC, Cheryl Hazan Contemporary NYC, Art Basel Miami Beach, Fountain Art Fair NYC, Snap! Orlando Photo Festival 2013, Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY, Flanders Art Gallery Raleigh, NC and Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA, among many others. Her work has appeared in catalogs including Light Art from Artificial Light, ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany. She has created light painting photography projects for Red Bull in 2013 and Reebok in 2011. Vicki DaSilva is a two time PA Council on the Arts Fellowship recipient for photography. Her work is in numerous private and public collections.
Single frame time exposure light graffiti photograph referencing several events surrounding the dissident artist Ai Weiwei and the documentary film of him by Alison Klayman. Created in the abandoned Simon Silk Mill in Easton, PA two weeks after his detainment by the Chinese police.
While drawing manually with the single lamp in the dark, immense, abandoned factory, I thought very intensely about Ai Weiwei’s detention and suspected torture. I am interested in the message of social change through this type of direct art action and intervention photography.