Red Bull Music Academy asked me to create a set of illustrations to accompany a long read article about David Mancuso's legendary club "The Loft", founded in New York City in 1970. I made 4 animations, 5 large illustrations and 9 smaller illustrations, all relating to passages in the article. The full article can be read here.
“The Loft was and continues to be many extraordinary things: a pioneering template of social inclusion and diversity on the dancefloor, an innovative celebration of audio fidelity, an exploration of sounds that became the root of modern dance music and an ongoing testimonial to the regenerative power of said canon. But it’s not a club. Its longtime host David Mancuso could not have been more explicit: The Loft is a party. One, it just so happens, without which the entire trajectory of modern nightlife is unimaginable.”
“All you saw was his dark curly hair and his piercing eyes and the beard. And he would have a flashlight between his legs and his headphones."
“They open a door and it’s just wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, as far as the eye can see balloons of every size. And not just balloons, but there was stuff inside the balloons. So, being a kid and looking up into what were clouds of balloons, you’d see the Star Trek Enterprise, you’d see a hot air balloon, you see a mermaid, or a star, or a Santa Claus figure. That first image of walking in and seeing all of those balloons is still stamped in my brain."
“I think [hallucinogens] added to the experience there because you felt you were in a very safe haven. So if you were going to have acid, or some pot, or whatever it was, it was in a safe, loving environment. You didn’t feel like you were dealing with, you know, other people looking at you or any of that. You were just safe. So the experience that you could see the music in the air was even more magical. You could see the notes going by your eyes. It really was that way.”
"One time he had maybe 25 or more Christmas trees hung up upside down above the dance floor.”
“We had a Loft shuttle that would pick people up from the subways and bring them over. This little school bus with balloons on it and the guy would pick them up from the F train, bring them over, and take the group back over to the subway, and continued all evening.”
"I didn’t know they were Klipschorns at the times, but these speakers that were like totem poles were around this massive dance floor, which had a huge disco ball in the center. Then there was this man who was very quietly, almost [with] that thousand-yard stare, standing behind these two turntables, his gaze just going across the whole dance floor."
"When [David] found out I was getting married he said, “Just get married here.” [We were] married at the Ukrainian the day before we had the party on Sunday, with all the decorations for the party. [David] asked me what colors I wanted, asked my wife what colors she wanted. The place was decorated in white and silver balloons. We had a great time. Everyone loved the space. It was a Loft wedding."
"[David and I] had a very spiritual relationship. We started this [ritual] in the Ukraine. There were a lot of people who had passed – friends of his and people who were big Lofties. So he asked me to light candles at each party. So we set up a spiritual candle table, and he only wanted me to do that because he knew where my head was. So I had this table for our beloved ancestors. The party [after his passing] it was for David. So as I was lighting the candles, it was different because we had his picture on the wall. Really beautiful. I did only white candles, and I just was saying, “Oh, I can’t believe that I’m lighting these candles for you.” But I was. He was the beloved ancestor that time."