Statistically speaking, the majority of people reading this have seen Drake’s fluorescently-hued video for "Hotline Bling" at least once, as it recently surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube and is still rising.
The nearly 5-minute long visual accompaniment to his 2015 track finds the artist bathed in white-walled rooms with surreal lighting which toys with the interplay of light and space.
The music video produced by Director-X brought Drake monumental attention. Arguably, it was one of the standout moments of his career thus far, elevating his status and notoriety in the music business to new heights.
However, the success of "Hotline Bling" and Drake's great climb to pop culture iconicism likely wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for some serious inspiration from the Light and Art Space Movement of the 1960s.
The movement originated in California and was spearheaded by regional influencers including Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, Peter Alexander and Pasadena-born innovator, James Turrell, in particular.
F*cking with James Turrell
In 1966, Turrell began experimenting with light in his Santa Monica studio by covering the windows of the space and only allowing prescribed amounts of light from the street to seep through. This was before the medium even had a designated name.
In the years following, Turrell and his peers started exhibiting works, which focused on examining the perceptual phenomena of light, volume and scale in relation to space.
Infusing color, pattern and installation materials such as glass, acrylic and resin into the mix, Turrell helped manifest one of the most compelling art movements in recent history.
In October of 2015, following the release of "Hotline Bling," Turrell was asked by Noisey if he played a hand in the video, to which he responded: "While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes were involved in any way in the making of the Hotline Bling video."
Drake and Turrell did, however, meet each other back in 2014 at Turrell’s retrospective exhibition at LACMA. Rolling Stone confirmed Drake viewed the exhibition, receiving a private guided tour, and is quoted in the magazine stating, "I fuck with James Turrell."
Us too, Drake, us too.
As Light and Space Art continues to become a more and more recognized movement within the art world, it's hard to ignore how its impression has shaped pop culture overall.
Movies such as Enter the Void (2009) and Belly (1998) would be nothing without the interplay of light and space. To compare the inspiration for yourself, get familiar with the work of James Turrell below: