Local artist Luelan Bodden is known for working with everything from paints to conch shells, metals and woods.
A professional artist for more than 10 years, he is likes to push creative boundaries and his most recent artistic discovery is certainly doing just that.
Luelan is working with a substance called Mystic Glo, a product which, after it has been exposed to light for a period of time, glows in the dark.
“I try to be original with anything I do in life,” Luelan says.” I bought Mystic Glo in for a job which I was working on for a client. They were installing a walkway; however, my client didn’t want to have to install lights along it, feeling that it would ruin its aesthetic look and feel. So, I worked with the product to make the entire walkway glow at night.
“A friend of mine had actually mentioned the product to me. I found a company online and just started experimenting with it.”
Mystic Glo is available in a range of sizes, from powder form up to the size of a pebble, each suitable for a variety of different jobs.
The powder form, for example, is mixed with a clear top coat, and can be painted on to a variety of surfaces, such as walls, paintings and even sprayed onto cars.
Pebble sized pieces can be placed in concrete before it sets, as in the case of the walkway. Mystic Glo can even be used underwater, where it can be mixed in with Diamond Brite – a popular finish used on pool surfaces – for a fabulous night time effect. It is available in a range of colours too, resulting in a soft yellow to a deep blue glow.
Mystic Glo typically takes up to eight hours to charge in natural sunlight or under regular lights, or for a quick response it can be excited under a black light in just 10 minutes. It works best in total darkness, as light pollution will result in a less intense glow.
An electrician by trade, Luelan has won the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Artistic Award for Creativity as well as a prestigious Gold Star. He was also among four Caymanian artists who were invited to exhibit at the Dominican Republic Biennial, (Bienel del Caribe 2004 Santo Domingo), a huge achievement for an artist with little formal training.
The artist works out of his studio, Nas Art Gallery, on Palm Dale, off of Crewe Road.
The gallery is a testament to his creativity and the building itself is as unique and imaginative as the artwork it houses.
Indeed, the studio is an eclectic mix of Afro-Caribbean colours and Egyptian mythology artwork.
Every inch of the interior is decorated, from the painted mosaic floor, sculptural forms covering the walls and ceiling to the many alcoves that display his work.
Turn off the lights, and peppered throughout is evidence of Luelan’s Mystic Glo experiments.
Luelan says that much of the inspiration for his work comes from what he calls “soul travelling”.
“I can watch my body sleep and travel,” he explains. “It’s weird, and it doesn’t happen all the time, but it is very spiritual. On my travels I meet spirits who show me artwork, which then inspires me. However, even when inspired by others I still work to put my own creative and unique twist on the piece.”
His most recent large-scale project with Mystic Glo has been for Johnny’s Bar, located next door to the Cayman Islands Brewery on Shamrock Road. Here he has painted a clear top coat of Mystic Glo across the bar.
Luelan says there are so many fun ways in which Mystic Glo can be used in the home, such as painting works of art on the walls for a fun night-time effect, to a magical star-filled sky on the ceiling of a child’s bedroom.
“Mystic Glo has a million different applications,” he explains.
“You just have to be creative in your mind as to how to use it. You have to be willing to experiment, to make mistakes, to learn, and different ideas will start to come to mind.”