Sunset Bubbles, 2021 – present
Many gather every Friday at the lighthouse on West Cliff to experience the magic of giant soap bubbles, including nonagenarian Gram Celene and her niece Arlene who can still drive a car down to two-year-old Vivian who reliably gravitates to the bus tub full of handmade bubble juice, sometimes falling back in awe of the prismatic soap films.
Smith makes gigantic soap bubbles with 10-foot-tall wands complete with handmade textile nets, creating a variety of bubbles depending on wind speed and humidity. These hour-long weekly performances featuring gigantic soap bubbles occur during the golden hour, beginning approximately one hour before sunset. The spectral colors present in the bubbles can be viewed more readily with the indirect light.
The regular pop up performances happen on the large grass field at the lighthouse on West Cliff Drive overlooking Steamer Lane where Smith has done public performances of this kind since 2015. With the primary aim of spreading joy, the project also encourages community-building and works to expand the definition of art and performance. Returning to Santa Cruz in December 2020 from graduate school, Smith saw an opportunity to bring joy to the community despite the weight of the pandemic. Every Friday since the end of February 2021 Smith has executed weekly installments of this public art project Sunset Bubbles.
Sunset Bubbles, 2015 – present
In this series of gestures timed to end at sunset, there is light for participants to be sure footed and darkness to facilitate the viewing of intensified light refractions. Look closely at the body language and faces of participants and observe the varying embodiments of play and untethered consciousness.
Since 2015 the project has included groups of up to 300 people at one time—providing bubble juice, buckets, and tri-cord wands. The project was supported through grants from the UCSC Art Department, Santa Cruz Museum of Art History, UCSC Porter College, and the Santa Cruz County Regional Burning Man unSCruz.
This project survives through the documentation of: Carolyn Lagattuta, Stephen Louis Marino, Zhill Olonan, Shubham Modi, Lia Pierce, Bridget Lyons, Nicole Peattie, Mark Woodward, Mark Davis, justthekewlstuff, and others.
Special thanks for support goes to: Marcy Ramirez, James Blaine, Sean Keilen, Emily Hope Dobkin, Jennifer Parker, Anne Della Corte, Brian Lawrence, Katie Perry, Beth Stephens, and the Circle K Club.
A public action injecting bubbles into daily live of visitors to West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, CA.
photo credit: Nikko