Randall “Sylvan” Rife was the photographer and chief light bender at Spectrallusion Creations.
He started his light bending journey by refracting sunlight after attending his first Grateful Dead concert in the early ’70s. His tale continued from there:
I absolutely loved the visuals I saw in the psychedelic light show and wanted a permanent version of all those colors and patterns to view when I wasn’t at a concert. So I searched out and found the right leaded crystal for my light bending experiments. I soon learned that refracted sunlight produced different effects depending upon whether the light went through an object or was bounced off of it. I also learned that I really liked the effects produced with glass, so set about to collect as many different types of glass as I could afford.
Forward to 1977, when he showed some of his refracted sunlight effects to a jazz musician friend who urged him to buy a camera and record them. “Thank you, Eddie Oberste, thank you.” In the years that followed, Sylvan continued experimentation until he figured out what worked and what didn’t. He continues his story:
Then in 1995, I met and started working with the man who would change everything for me, Chris Samardizch of the Brotherhood of Light. When not on tour with the Allman Brothers Band, he worked at Maritime Hall in San Francisco as their light show specialist. Hooking up with him was a life-long dream come true. Since then, my art has been shown with a myriad of performers from many genres, including but not limited to rock-n-roll, blues, bluegrass, reggae and even kirtan. I learned, through Chris’ direction, how to create imagery to enhance those performances.
Sylvan’s work includes mandalas, abstracts, and photos from locations nearby.
The process of making this artwork represents a new art medium for preserving photos by infusing dyes directly into specially coated metal sheets. The metal prints take on a magical luminescence. Because the image is infused into the surface and not on it, the archival qualities of this unique process are unparalleled. The prints are water proof and scratch resistant.