Lighting The Way
Artist & CEO Richard McLester is inspiring the future of creativity in Dorset…
Musician, artist, web-designer, film-maker, photographer & all round creative. His art installations & performances have been held in major UK venues including most recently Salisbury Cathedral. He’s the CEO of a media company and of a non-profit CIC that gives local volunteers opportunities in the arts. Richard McLester is the spark lighting the way for Dorset’s creative future…
Q You do everything from IT, film & design to art installations and concerts. What inspires it and how does it work together?
A All of the media work we do for clients as well as the art projects and concerts are essentially about communication. By doing more experimental and open ended art projects alongside our media work we have a safe space to try new things and push our boundaries – which gives us an edge in both fields.
Q Why are you helping to upskill young people in Dorset?
A I’m passionate about art, music and technology and the ways these can bring people together, but I also want to help people in a more direct, immediate way. By getting volunteers involved on the art projects we’re able to teach them new skills, give them experience using industry standard tools and have them work directly alongside professionals. We have now created the infrastructure so that any volunteer can join in on any art project and learn the right skills for their future careers.
Q You use the same project management systems as Google & Barclays. How does it help you realise your creative visions?
A A key part of bringing any project to life is managing the people and time needed to make it happen. Working in an Agile framework and using Atlassian software such as Jira and Confluence are essential for us to do this. It makes communication between teams as quick and efficient as possible. This helps us to keep our costs down for clients and focus on being as creative as possible.
Q What drove you to start experimenting with art & technology?
AThe exciting thing about technology is that you can always do more with less. Traditionally projections on multiple screens, or lighting up large venues such as cathedrals would be very expensive. But by using simulation software and lean project management, we can pre-plan and focus our resources on specific areas of the project. This means that rather than being held back by budget constraints, we can afford to be creative and push boundaries. This translates into our volunteers achieving things they wouldn’t have thought possible.
Q Your recent art installation in Salisbury was dubbed “a beacon of hope” by Sky News. How did you achieve this?
A When creating a project it’s important to create a spectacular visual that captures the imagination. If you can link that with a story that resonates with people then you are halfway there. The other half is knowing how to present the project in such a way to the press that they can also see the importance of the work. Again it’s through our experience in both art and
professional media work that we are really able to hone down and communicate these messages correctly to people.
Q What are your plans for the future?
A We are currently looking at which locations we should take our project ‘One City One Light’ to next. The project involves hanging our huge illuminating globe as a focal point, then
reaching out and connecting with the surrounding community to make the project relevant to them. It all culminates in a big multimedia concert underneath the globe featuring local singers from the area.