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Artist Feature

Wed, Sep 25, 2019

Ashley Holmes

Ashley Holmes - Marketing & Brand Coordinator

Rapid Fire Interview: Steve Cooper

GLOW: A Festival of Fire & Light is about to have its 8th rendition at the MAH on Saturday, October 12th. Eight years of interactive fire installations, glowing projections, and igniting the creativity of local artists.

But do you know how the festival came to be?

No? Maybe? Well, it's one of my favorite stories because it captures the MAH's community-first, can-do attitude so beautifully. It all started thanks to local cinematographer and long-time fire artist, Steve Cooper. Steve pitched the idea of an interactive fire festival to our then-Executive Director, Nina Simon, at a neighborhood BBQ. And, as they say, the rest is history.

The MAH had the space and passionate volunteers. Steve had some firey connections. It was a match made in community-building heaven.

Follow along below as we put Steve through a rapid-fire interview to get to know the GLOW imagineer.

The MAH: Why fire art?

Steve Cooper: Because it’s hot in every way

Why the MAH?

Can you say “concrete doesn’t burn”?

What inspires your art?

Nature’s first combo TV/BBQ: the bonfire

All-time favorite GLOW moment? Why?

The very first time Lucy performed with Satan’s Calliope, because it shrieks and bellows and hollers like a banshee!

How did the first time go?

Way better than anyone would have expected. I think we set all-time records for a MAH event and had crowds that rivaled Halloween downtown without any of the chaos.

What was better the second time?

#2 was like a well-oiled machine: the Fire Department knew what to expect, the city was primed for a vibrant event, and the MAH had enlisted a force of both newbie and experienced volunteers to help out.

How has GLOW grown over the years?

We keep getting huge crowds, with both new and returning attendees. The focus on the electronic side is fantastic - talk about diversity!

What’s the craziest idea you didn’t think was possible, but happened?

Getting Flaming Lotus Girls out of San Francisco to bring down impossibly cool fire art with a substantial pedigree.

What’s the best feedback you’ve heard?

The smiles of a parent watching their little kid play the fire piano.

What’s your wildest dream for future GLOWs?

A budget that could help us cover some crazy impressive pieces like Duane Flatmo’s El Pulpo Mechanico, or Flaming Lotus Girls’ Serpent Mother.

Anything else you want the people to know?

Don’t do this at home.

Ready to GLOW?
Get hands-on and see the very best fire and digital artists in Santa Cruz County on Saturday, October 12th.
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