Feature Artist: Glow Me

Photo: Sunny, Founder of Glow Me Vancouver.

I want to trace back my Glow Me discovery to about a year and a half ago: it was the night before I was leaving for my 7-month exchange in Berlin, Germany. I admit, back then I was pretty naïve about the underground party scenes in Vancouver, and little did I know that this night was going to foreshadow my entire party experience in the capital of techno.

My friend and I were invited to a birthday party for a friend of a friend of a friend at some inconspicuous address in the Mount Pleasant area. It lead us to a small crowd of smokers huddled around a door, where a bouncer-looking guy scanned me head to toe, twice, and proceeded to let us in without another word. We bolted in, as if we weren’t going to be given a second chance if we hesitated.

That night, I was introduced to a type of nightlife that was hidden among various open-concept studios in Vancouver. Hundreds of people, who looked like they had come out a filming of Avatar were dancing in a dark room with music you wouldn’t hear at your average Granville Street nightclubs. The ground was shaking and the atmosphere was equivalent to that of a music festival. It was there, that I saw my first Glow Me painting of the caterpillar form Alice in Wonderland.

Since my return, I have made it my mission to find whoever was responsible for creating the extraordinary experience I had that night - and I found him!! His name is Sunny. I was so excited to visit his Glow Den, where he kept all of the glow-paint collection he’s curated over the years, and to find out what he had been up to since that party.

Photo: The ‘Glow Den’ features one of Canada’s largest, live-painted, glow painting collection.

When I asked him how he had come up with this idea, he told me about the time he went to a full moon party in Thailand, where he was asked to be painted by a street artist.

Photo: Sunny at a full moon party in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Face-painting brings the people together. When the makeup artist paints someone at a party, and they look in the mirror, you can see their faces light up. They’re so happy and surprised, and that’s what bring joys to me. It’s not the money or the recognition but the smile and the way [the paint] brings light to their life,” Sunny explains, as he pulled out his collection of glowing body paint.

He goes on to explain that his water-soluble body paint is safe on the skin, and washes off easily with a damp cloth. “I mean, you would have to be a pretty horrible person to put something on someone’s face and not care about it,” he added. I chuckled as I recollected my memories of black light frat parties, where broken glowsticks burnt a part of my arm off as the drunklords smeared the glowing substance onto my arms.

Photo: Set-up at one of Glow Me’s infamous glow paint parties.

Glow Me paints people, but they also bring in artist to paint canvases live at most of their events. In fact, Sunny has the largest glow-paint collection in Vancouver, and quite possibly in all of Canada. When I asked him about why live painting shows were so important to him, his response was quite philosophical:

“I believe that that [the scene] is where the art is created - when you have the black light on you and the paint illuminates in it. They’re painted with music and the atmosphere of the party.”

Every artist that contributes to a painting in the Glow Den captures a moment from an epic party, just like the one I went to, and helps us relive that experience a little bit brighter.

Glow Me will be setting up at BASS FEST which takes place this weekend in Port Douglas. A 3-day music festival featuring over 50 artists including Kill Paris, Longwalkshortdock, and Lando. Tickets can be purchased online or through selected retailers