illuminate.us
by stephen proctor
Oxford Black and White.jpg

STEPHEN PROCTOR

STEPHEN PROCTOR

Hello! My name is Stephen Proctor. And I’m the guy behind this site.

And here’s just a little glimpse into my ongoing story.

(Sketch Design by Emily Carlton)

 
 

Projection Artist | Visual Liturgist | Experiential Curator

(& a 7w8 on the Enneagram!)

When people ask me what I do, I tell them that it's kind of like PowerPoint on crack. That's the simplest (& funnest/most fun?) answer I've come up with so far. 

You see, I like to project on things. Sometimes I project lyrics on screens while people sing, & sometimes I project onto musicians while they sing. And once in a while, I like to project into thick, smoky air while no one sings.

I’ve been working in the realm of projection & experience design for about 16 years. For 15 years, I lived & worked in Nashville, TN, touring with various bands, artists, & conferences. Interning at record labels, working for a presentation software developer, being on staff at a church, being a part of a co-working community called WELD, leading a neoclassical collective called The Radial Conservatory, and planting Luminous Anglican parish with a few friends -–– these are some of my fondest memories of Nashville.

Working in the Christian music/publishing industry definitely has had it’s ups & downs, but I’ve been lucky – or “blessed” ;) – to work with some incredible people who span the theological spectrum. Sometimes I’m working behind-the-scenes with Beth Moore at a women’s conference (she’s truly amazing, by the way.) Once in a while I’m on tour with bands like The Brilliance, Gungor, & The Liturgists (those heretics!) I’ve also been known to frequent a few liturgical/contemplative retreats (more heretics, LOL!) And at times, I teach workshops on projection & visual liturgy at church conferences. And then there was that one time I did projection for a Keith Urban music video. Ok twice, but who’s counting.

I also like to curate immersive projection for weird, instrumental concert experiences in botanical gardens, Japanese tea ceremonies, & inside man-made caves in Iceland where Celtic monks used to worship. But I also like to get my VJ on @ dance parties, clubs & warehouses (where I spend most of my energy praying that drunk folks don’t throw up on my projectors!)

No matter the context, the venue, or the theology (Xian nationalists & prosperity gospel dudes excluded), my love language is to wrap people in beauty that awakens the imagination & calibrates the soul.

While projectors are my first love & will always have a special place in my heart, drones are my new technical obsession. I’ve never been much of an original content creator, but these little flying robots have opened up a world of possibility & have helped my dreams become a reality. I am really drawn to the beauty of Creation, God’s living Cathedral that we all live in & share. And drones allow us to see this world with a whole new perspective. So many landscapes look like abstract artwork from above; you wouldn’t believe it, to be honest. Much like the Overview Effect that astronauts have when seeing the Earth from space for the first time, drones have given me a whole new appreciation for the fragile, delicate, & creative planet we live on.

In the last year, some friends & I launched CONSTRUCTvisuals.com, a stock visuals licensing company. This is a place where we take our best footage & make it available to the creative community at large. I really hope to grow this company in the coming years.

Another obsession of mine is traveling the world & experiencing different cultures & their landscapes. Most of my time is spent in New Zealand, the single most greatest country on Earth – & I will fight you over this! I also love Ireland, Iceland, Hawai’i (I have family & a side-business on Maui!), Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and more. I have learned so much from being an outsider and in a minority. Traveling has also greatly expanded my worldview & spirituality. And if there’s a beautiful landscape & chill drone laws, then that’s always a plus. Because it’s really nice to come home with some visuals that I can use at my next event & eventually put up on the CONSTRUCT site. Which then repeats my own version of the Circle of Life. =)

My personal life ebbs & flows out of this work-travel-droning cycle. There’s no “Husband. Father. Christ-follower. Coffee-lover.” in my bio even though one day I would like to be married & have kids (w/ passports). And I do love Jesus, even though most versions of American Christianity make me want to vomit. I’m really thankful to have found the Anglican Way, which is deeply rooted in the contemplative practices of Celtic Christianity. Being around leaders with strong faith (like Beth Moore) & friends with strong doubt (like my Gungor brothers) keep me in a place of happy juxtaposition, constant curiosity, & appreciation for the Way of Christ. And I also love love love me a really good cup of coffee; you don’t want to talk to me about anything until I’ve had a cup. (just a mild warning)

Early in 2018, my love for beautiful, interesting landscapes led me to drive across America & replant myself in Portland, Oregon – a land flowing with organic grass-fed non-GMO milk & raw honey fresh from the flow hives. Seriously, this place is GORGEOUS. And TASTY. When folks ask me, “So, why Portland?” literally my best answer is that it’s colder, darker, WAY less humid, & isn’t plagued with mosquitos like in South where I grew up & have lived all my life. This past Summer has been so pleasant, I ain’t never going back. Sorry, fam!

I feel like I should have a better, more profound explanation for the move, other than I just really like it here. And I’m honestly not that interested in climbing the ladder of influence in the Christian industries of Nashville. Though I still work with many in that world, the airport is also just a few minutes away. And these days, geographical-based work just isn’t what it used to be.

While in Portland, I enjoy a good cup of coffee & long strolls on the beach. LOL! But seriously, the coffee here is insane. And frequent trips out to our wild coast invigorates me so much that escaping to New Zealand or Iceland feels less like a self-imposed demand. I’ve also found a really nice, quiet Anglican parish filled with some really lovely folks. We sing a few hymns & chant parts of the Liturgy. There’s hardly any technology in the entire space & zero projection; besides a few meaningful liturgical symbols + black & white print-outs, all we have to look at is just a massive arched window & some really beautiful trees. =) It’s a welcomed occasion that re-calibrates my soul & reminds me of the humble power of Christ that is found in the Bread & Wine. I also have plans to buy some land in a forest & live out of a tiny-house for a few years! Because…WHY NOT. Predictable suburban structure just isn’t for me. Obviously.

Anyway, that’s about it. For now at least. I’ll write more later as my life & work continues to evolve & unfold. Which I hope it does. And if it doesn’t & my life ends tragically tomorrow, I’ll be fine with it. Because I’ve lived an amazing, crazy life so far, & I’m really grateful for it. Man, this got real existential real fast. I guess that’s what happens when a 38 year old spends all his free time traveling to the ends of the Earth just to stand on the shores of a remote beach while pondering his existence – in between drone shots, of course! LOL ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

To be continued…