However, her talents extend far beyond music; she also works as a visual artist. “To make the actual move from leaving the academic path after I finished graduate school, to making art full time, I was mostly inspired by my friend Zev (from Wolf+Lamb Records)” Kurtel tells us. “However, whilst school gave me the discipline and capacity to teach myself all the things I needed to learn to do what I'm doing today, it also showed me very clearly what I don't want from life, so I think that gives me the motivation to make art”. Her childhood was also influential in shaping the artist she is today. “Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of art because my mother was an artist and she always took me to all her art events and museums”.
Today, Kurtel works primarily with LED lights, creating huge installations which are often incorporated into her live performances. “I've always been fascinated with light so working with LEDs came naturally” she told us. “They offer the most control for what I want to do, and being able to connect with different inputs like sound and motion creates a lot of possibilities and ideas”.
Her first piece to combine music and art came about in 2011. “The first example of this was when I built a stage LED installation called ‘Equilibrium’ she told us. “This piece responded to my music while I was playing, through audio input”.
Explaining that “I actually see music as art”, nowadays her visual pieces and music often intertwine in an exhilarating way. “At Burning Man, I made a field of pinwheels that charged from the sun and glowed at night. A man who was there told me he had such a memorable experience of the piece with his girlfriend that he asked her to marry him there”. She also recalled another fantastic response to that piece - “In San Francisco, a group of people told me they were so inspired by it that they decided to start a band together and were jamming all night that night”.
Describing her artwork as ‘dissociating’, Kurtel cites amongst her influences “images in my mind or from nature that fascinate me… things that I want to reproduce so I can stare at them for hours in a loop”. Whilst describing her pieces as “dynamic and random”, she also commented that they tend to bring out “a feeling of privacy or isolation”, however "a lot of different meanings and experiences emerge from all the projects and it depends on the person experiencing them". She also commented that “with every project I try to learn a new technique. For me it's an endless opportunity to learn and to create different levels of interaction. That kind of challenge motivates me towards new projects.”
Lucy In Disguise
This friday sees Deniz Kurtel play at Egg London, with fine support from Francesca Lombardo and Max Chapman.
Full lineup and event detials can be found here.
You can view more of her amazing light installation work on her website: www.denizkurtel.com