Digital Graffiti

Who ever thought graffiti had to be permanent? Only three years old, Digital Graffiti is the world’s first video art projection festival and competition that coats and transforms the stark white walls of this tiny Alys Beach community, situated along the 26 mile stretch of the sandy beaches of South Walton, Florida. The founder, a former video game reviewer, Mike Ragsdale, felt that the town’s signature white walls were the best canvas for this exciting new medium of avant¬garde art. This years competition drew over 300 entries from artists around the world who were whittled down to 36 semi¬finalists that were competing for over $10,000 in cash prizes. Unlike traditional art festivals, the thousands of spectators were not only fully immersed in the art, but also had a chance to judge for the best installation as they meandered through the cobblestone streets that were brought to life with a dazzling array of psychedelic images, neon colors and artwork created by the latest video technology, and synchronized to Electronica music, DJ sets and live music. The audience and local favorite prizes were awarded to Russell Beans of Seacrest, FL who created “Eye Spy,” which was a series of stop motion animation based around spray paint graffiti photography stills. The grand prize went to “Void?” by Bala Boyd, which was an arresting yet eerie black and white video that played on the balance of positive and negative space. Projected on a jutting steeple where “a black void is disrupted and morphed into a white face in the void,” it was synchronized to music by Sean Dietrich. Just when you thought you’ve seen everything, there is nothing quite like this in the world.

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-Hillary Latos

photography by Alys Beach