"And I've been addicted ever since!" said Adam Weyer, aka, Tall Adam, aka Trippy Lights, aka Trippy Lights Bend. Weyer has been in Bend since 2003 and experimenting with projected imagery and liquid visuals for the past 15 years. What seeded from collaborating with artist friends on "Subtractive Poems" — performance pieces that entailed the use of mechanical erasers on full-page drug ads in magazines which would leave the viewer with a poem. It was Weyer's job to layer the projected imagery in sync with spoken word. The rabbit hole started from there.
"I got my first five or six overhead projectors from the Bend-La Pine school district for $5 each and I've been addicted ever since," stated Weyer. "I really should have bought that old A/V cart when I had the chance!" After that, Weyer discovered that a love for projected lights and house parties would turn into live liquid light shows.
By day "Liquid Lights" paints houses for Hazel Painting and Earth Finishes, a company he runs with his partner. By night — and by times when the stars aligned for this new medium to flour-ish — Weyer has been lighting it up in the music scene. "I was the projector guy for both The Rural Demons and Black Flowers Black Sun around 2011-2013 to present. My first solo show was at the old Nature of Words where I took over their teaching room, put a couple of tables in the middle of the room and created a full 360-degree panorama with six projectors." And this last year, Liquid Lights Bend has been the psychedelic backdrop for close to 30 shows. "It was definitely Call Down Thunder that got me out of my pseudo- retirement and back on the scene," Weyer said.
What always interests me most when I see live projected visuals at shows is the amount of science that goes into the method. The amount of concentration these artists have. Their setups are large and need a load-in time just like the bands do. They're also performing live.
"Originally I was just using an overhead projector and photo printed transparencies. Something magical happens when you play music and look at images. You can layer and mix images to music and it will start telling its own story."
Weyer's method of liquid experimentation originally comprised of mixing liquid in Pyrex and glass dishes. His style grew into what he calls "true" Liquid Light Shows — that groovy and vibrant '60s/'70s energy. There are a few ways a projectionist can do it. One consists of "squash plates" which smashes color liquids between glass and allows the color to stretch and ooze. The "Blow Plate Method" utilizes wind to move the liquid around. That's a lot of instruments! The gear behind the experience of Trippy Lights Bend includes overhead projectors, vintage slide projectors, video projectors and lots of glass. He also brings cameras to play with video feedback. I can agree that that is an entirely new rabbit hole. "Sometimes I use a purely digital rig but I still incorporate my analog sourced material," Weyer continued.
Weyer's liquid light shows vary in scale based on the venue and what he's projecting on. "On occasion there is no room for my overheads or too much competition from bright stage lights, so I will pre-record some liquids for THAT show. I like to always have new original material for each show if I cannot perform it live due to space and time limitations."
As far as what he projects, it's not all just that "psychedelic color wheel of visuals" that you can expect to see at a liquid light show. Weyer messes around with angles and geometric shapes. "My favorite designs are usually geometric. I like black and white lines in spirals and checker-boards, anamorphous blobs of color and the juxtaposition of the two." Weyer's is also concentrating on lumia and kinetic art, especially for his setups where he can leave it doing its own thing, and after much futzing, he doesn't have to futz with it... and it looks futzin' dope.