The Artist

Lighting applications have changed dramatically in recent years. Products that were once unavailable are now available, prices that were once unaffordable are now affordable, and applications that were once impossible are now possible. These changes are largely attributed to the availability and affordability of LEDs. LEDs are being used in applications ranging from simple residential under cabinet lighting to large-scale commercial applications. One of these applications came Inspired LED’s way when local artist Jeff Zischke stepped into our office with an incredible vision, a vision that would land Inspired LED at the forefront of what turned out to be a fascinating display of originality called Water Striders.

The Vision

Zischke’s vision was to create a colorful LED exhibit that would stretch across 600 feet of Arizona’s Scottsdale Waterfront. This particular stretch of canal is becoming largely popular for its rich culture and roots within the local art community. Scottsdale Public Art has opened the doors to what is called Canal Convergence – “An annual series of engaging and inspiring free events at the Scottsdale Waterfront featuring innovative large scale instillation’s by local and international artists, hands-on activities, live music and performances.” It’s a wonderful opportunity for local artists to showcase their work in an interactive environment.

Luckily for Inspired LED, this display is right down the street, and gives us an amazing opportunity to showcase our Color Changing LED’s on a project that is both innovative and exciting.LED Water Striders

Water Striders! I’m creating eight 12 foot long Water Striders that I’d like to be glowing in different colors along the Scottsdale Waterfront.

The Artwork

What exactly is a Water Strider? It’s a mosquito-like bug that walks on the surface of water. The lighting challenge was to illuminate each gravity-defying creature independently, while separately controlling the three main parts of the LED water strider body. In short, the legs, body and antennae’s were to be controlled independently. And, to top it off, all 8 striders were to be controlled from an iPad via Wi-Fi. The project required several LED products, hundreds of feet in cable, and extensive programming with DMX control. “Is this something you can make possible?” It most certainly was.

The Project

Through months of design change and prototyping, Zischke’s project was nearly ready for the LED instillation. Here’s where Inspired LED came into action. In order to get the rich, deep colors, the LED’s needed to be at an intensity that could be seen from far away, while holding their coloration. Super Bright RGB LED’s were a perfect fit!

  • What is RGB? RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue. It refers to the 3 hues of light that can mix together to form any color.

Using RGB LED’s gave us the flexibility to use different products on the individual areas of each LED water strider. The body and legs utilized our Super Bright RGB Flexible Strip, while the antennae was illuminated using RGB puck lights. The entire project accumulated to 184 linear feet of Color Changing LED’s, and 16 Color Changing Puck Lights. Couple this with the hundreds of thousands of feet of custom cabling, and you’re looking at 8 chameleon Water Striders floating peacefully on the Scottsdale Waterfront canal.

LED water strider

The project was finally launched on March 20th into the canal with stunning results. Vibrant colors filled each section of the LED water striders to make for a spectacular light display. Every piece of the project came together perfectly! The reflective surface of the water provided an added visual experience that contributed to the overall awesomeness of each LED Water Strider.

The completion of this project is a true testament to Inspired LED’s products and services. It goes to show that no project is too big, small or un-ordinary. Contact our design services, or simply stop in to get your LED project under way.

Be sure to support your local artists and businesses by getting to the Scottsdale Water Front before the end of May. There is a sense of accomplishment that’s felt when you see your own community’s hard work and dedication in action. The display is located at the canal front just South-West of the intersection at Scottsdale and Camelback Road.