Luke Savisky: Creative Capitalist

Creative Capital helps Austin's projector of large-scale images get his work that much larger

Luke Savisky: Creative Capitalist

Austin filmmaker Luke Savisky likes to work large. For his projection I/TX (The I/Eye of Texas), produced for First Night Austin in 2006, he filmed the eyes of people on the street, edited the images in-camera with an iris device he constructed from old projector parts, then projected them onto the Green Water Treatment Plant water tower, which created the sensation that a giant eye was scanning Downtown. Savisky calls the piece "a sort of public empowerment exercise," where an average individual's eye was allowed to occupy the same scale as a monument or any of the other buildings Downtown.

Now, the New York foundation Creative Capital is helping Savisky get his work that much larger. It just gave him an initial $10,000 grant for his next project, M/x, which will take his large-scale public images all the way to Big Bend to be projected on the exterior of the dome of the McDonald Observatory. He hopes to engage scientists at the observatory in the work, integrating them and their research materials into his imagery. Savisky sees this as a part of the larger series US/x and Euro/x, engaging a variety of public and natural sites around the U.S. and Europe. "It is a project I hope to develop with help from the folks at Creative Capital," he says.

Like many granting organizations, Creative Capital commits financial support and services to artists, but what makes it unique is the way it will offer additional funds to an artist as his or her project develops; some projects receive as much as $50,000 through the tenure of the multiyear grant. Creative Capital also gives each artist recipient an opportunity to take part in its Artist Services Program, offering assistance with fundraising, networking, marketing, and strategic planning with the goal of advancing both their projects and their careers. Other Austin artists have been on the receiving end of Creative Capital's largesse, including the Rude Mechanicals, who received funding for their upcoming show, The Method Gun, and former University of Texas art professor Mel Ziegler.

In researching Savisky, I stumbled onto an interview that the Chronicle did with him in 2000 ("Projecting an Image," June 16, 2000). In it he stated, "If I can get a grant, I want to make something that's kind of a synthesis of all the live work that I've done." In the same interview, he's asked about his long-range plans and says: "I'd like to do a lot more architectural and site-specific stuff. It basically all comes down to a matter of budget. I can do a hell of a lot with a miniscule fraction of what's spent on most movies. That was the appeal in the first place." Looks as if he will finally have the opportunity.

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