Most innovative lighting designer Roger Foley-Fogg lives in a yurt in Goonellabah with a lifetime of memories.
Most innovative lighting designer Roger Foley-Fogg lives in a yurt in Goonellabah with a lifetime of memories.

World-renowned ’psychedelic’ artist still inspired

RENOWNED artist Roger Foley-Fogg has performed light shows for concerts, exhibitions and bands throughout Australia.

Ever since his first work of performance art, Destruction in Art, at the University of NSW campus in 1967, Mr Foley-Fogg has continued to create, living and working from his two-storey wooden yurt in Goonellabah.

Last year he debuted at Nimbin Rainbow Light Installation, featuring heritage lighting in the village of Nimbin.

And this year he aims to finish archiving footage, posters, pamphlets and documents to unveil the sexual and counterculture movement from the 1960s until now.

When Mr Foley-Fogg describes his work as psychedelic, what he means is that he aims to expand people's consciousness and awareness through demonstrations of light.

Mind-bending through light shows has always been his natural art form.

"I was always fascinated with the way light filtered itself between the leaves of trees and makes shadows on the ground," he said.

"When you look at those shadows carefully you will see that the light is all circles.

"I was also fascinated by the waves down at the beach, the way that they crashed into the rocks and made perfect circles."

Encouraged by his mother to participate in art projects from the age of 12, Mr Foley-Fogg has been projecting light onto landscapes, buildings, screens and famous musicians since the 60s.

He initially created light shows for himself - with mirrors and glass - to better understand how his own mind worked until 1966 when he read American magazine, Life, showing people performing light shows while rock bands performed on the stage.

 

The cover of Life magazine in 1966 that convinced Mr Foley-Fogg that he could make a living by designing and producing lightshows and lumino kinetic art. “For 35 cents I found out that what I was doing since the age of about 12 was a world wide movement – Ellis D Fogg was born and I never looked back.”
The cover of Life magazine in 1966 that convinced Mr Foley-Fogg that he could make a living by designing and producing lightshows and lumino kinetic art. “For 35 cents I found out that what I was doing since the age of about 12 was a world wide movement – Ellis D Fogg was born and I never looked back.”

 

"I thought that was a great idea, so then I started doing that," Mr Foley-Fogg said.

Mr Foley-Fogg has performed light shows for concerts, exhibitions and bands throughout Australia; at the ABC Concert Lightshows with The Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras for Peter Sculthorpe and John Hopkins (1965-1974), at the state theatre for the 'Artists For Labor' concert for Prime Minister Paul Keating and the Labor Party - which reportedly helped Keating win the 1983 election, and five light shows for the Gija People assisting them to tell their story (2000-2008).

 

 

Paul Keating thanking Yothu Yindi and the Hermannsburg ladies choir for performing at the Victory Dinner in The Great Hall of Parliament House 1983, Designed and Produced by Roger Foley-Fogg.
Paul Keating thanking Yothu Yindi and the Hermannsburg ladies choir for performing at the Victory Dinner in The Great Hall of Parliament House 1983, Designed and Produced by Roger Foley-Fogg.

 

Paul Keating thanking Yothu Yindi and Hermannsburg ladies choir for performing at the Victory Dinner in The Great Hall of Parliament House 1983, Designed and Produced by Roger Foley-Fogg.
Paul Keating thanking Yothu Yindi and Hermannsburg ladies choir for performing at the Victory Dinner in The Great Hall of Parliament House 1983, Designed and Produced by Roger Foley-Fogg.

 

Moving from the Blue Mountains, Sydney, now living in Goonellabah for the past two-and-a-half years, Mr Foley-Fogg hasn't lost his passion to create, and frequently searches Lismore finding new materials, glass and mirrors for projects.

"I am always looking for interesting glass, there are lots of old building supplies where they sell old windows with crinkled glass," he said.

This year he will continue to work on productions in Nimbin in order to attract younger audiences to experience the spirit of the village.

"Nimbin is a unique place, the community spirit in particular," he said.

"The love that they embraced for the planet in the 60s and the 70s ... is still there."

Mr Foley-Fogg is also working on a book to protect the "history of his generation", decades of time which his art allowed him to experience and contribute to first hand.

"In 1969 a new invention of film came out and that was the invention of the digital video recorder, the porter pack, that allowed you to record sound and image initially but only black and white and so I used to carry that around with me all the time," Mr Foley-Fogg said.