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The Champions of FaceMelt : Outlaw

A look into the mind of one of DMVs premier lightshow artists

Gloving, like any art form, has its titans. These artists are seen as the best of the best, and who act as idols to those just entering the scene. Often times we forget that, while they may seem larger than life online, these are just normal people.  This interview series will focus on the person behind the gloves, and you will be able to see how a top class glover views gloving as an art, their own style, and many other aspects of the scene (both online and in person).

In honor of the beginning of the FABLE Chapter 2 Competition, I decided to bring in the winner of the last FABLE competition as the first to be interviewed for this series. Considered one of the current top glovers, Outlaw has made his mark on gloving with a kind heart and a style which is equal parts unique and ruthless.  He was more than happy to answer all the questions I had for him, and his humble personality always makes it a joy to be able to talk and discuss anything with him. He’s a dedicated glover, an amazing teammate, and a fantastic influence on the scene.

The Experience of Gloving

The kick off the interview, I decided to ask Outlaw some questions that revolved around gloving as an experience, as something more than just the art. All of us have memories from gloving that we cherish and hold dear, and these are so important to our identity as artists. It’s these types of experiences that really show a love and passion for the art, and connect us all together as glovers.

Q. How did you start gloving?

A. “I found out about gloving about half a year before I had decided to pick up the art, but the first time I saw it I just thought ‘I’d never be able to learn how to do that.’  But then later on that year I saw someone with gloves at a party and I got my first actual lightshow, and from there I was hooked. I picked up my first set that week!”

Q. What is your favorite part about being a glover?

A. “I’d have to say the happiness it brings to those who appreciate it. I’ve had horrible nights get completely turned around by just one light show, and I know that’s happened to others as well.  Knowing that I’m expressing myself in a way that can touch people like that is extremely satisfying to me.”

Q. How did it feel when you first heard you were sponsored?

A. “It may sound cliché but I didn’t believe it was real. I found out through a video [UV] Flow posted on my Facebook wall, telling me I had just gotten sponsored and I had to talk to him just to make sure it wasn’t a joke.  But it felt really accomplishing knowing that I’d achieved one of my gloving goals. I’ve always looked up to the Emazing glovers, especially when I first started, so I was happy to get the chance to be sponsored by them!”

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The Style of Gloving

        As a top-class glover, Outlaw has an extremely distinct style that you could pick out with ease. And like all glovers, Outlaw has his own personal views on how to create new concepts, and how to approach giving a show or filming a video. It’s massively interesting to be able to pick another artists brain and be able to take those ideas and implement them into your own process

Q. How would you describe your style of gloving? What makes it unique?

A. “Hmmmm, I guess I’d have to say what makes my style unique is my storytelling and musicality.  I do my best to convey musicality not by just hitting all of a song’s beats, but also by capturing the energy and emotion of the music and building a story around the progression of the song to make the viewer feel like they’re being taken on a journey.  I like to describe my style as two sentient endless puzzles struggling to solve each other and getting frustrated by their inability to do so.”

Q. What’s your thought process when creating a project video? What are your steps for color selection, song selection, location etc.

A. “When I make project videos I typically just record to whatever song I happen to be listening to that really makes me want to move my fingers. I look for locations with a decent amount of back lighting to highlight my silhouette as well as a slight front light source that helps to illuminate the gloves.  I typically use modes that have 3-4 colors with 1-2 high colors mixed with low colors. I usually pick them based on whether I want the colors to match or contrast the colors in the background! In order to get myself in the zone for recording, I imagine that instead of giving a show to a camera, I’m giving a show to myself in the future.  Since I’m the first person who gets to watch it after recording I do my best to throw the kind of show that I would want to get.”

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Q. Who has inspired you the most throughout your gloving career?

A. “I’d have to say (Ayo?) Sharky.  There are a few other names that I wanted to put here because over the course of 3 and a half years I’ve been inspired by a lot of different glovers but I credit Sharky’s lightshows with showing me the potential of what gloving can be.  There was so much feeling behind each of his performances and it always kept me feeling passionate about this hobby, practicing even before I had other glovers to hang out with.  I don’t think I’d still be gloving if it weren’t for him.

[UV] Flow and [IM] Puppet get honorable mentions here for currently being my biggest inspirations behind not just what it means to be a good glover but also what it means to be a community leader.”

The Sport and Culture of Gloving

        Gloving has evolved rapidly over the past few years. Going from a very niche art to a widespread competitive community, the future is extremely bright for the sport of gloving. IGC has gotten increasingly more popular, competitions pop up both in person and online, and the art has gotten more accepted throughout mainstream media. Where gloving goes is entirely up to the community, and it’s going to be a pleasure to watch that evolution.

Q. Where do you see gloving in 5 years? What role do you want to have in the community?

A. “I see two roads that gloving could take.  Five years is a long time to be able to introduce gloving to new people and solidifying the image of the community as a group of dancers participating in a legitimate and publicly acceptable flow art.  Alternatively, some active glovers might start tapering off leaving only the people who have really dedicated themselves to it, causing growth to slow as less new people are sticking with it.  That really all depends on how passionate the community as a whole is.  I’d like to play the role of being one of the big motivators behind keeping people passionate the same way glovers like Sharky and Flow and Puppet kept me passionate: by expressing themselves and having fun doing it.”

Oh Dag Yo Photography © 2015

Oh Dag Yo Photography © 2015

Q. Who do you think will win IGC 2016?

A. “It’s hard to say with any certainty since a lot can change come competition day, but I think that Vex will win.  I thought he was going to win last year honestly.  His style is just so well rounded and complex, he and competitive scorecards get along very well.”

Q. What are some tips or bits of advice you have for new glovers?

A. “For anybody new to gloving, I’d say be as creative as you can be.  Don’t copy people move for move because the purpose is to find your own flow and express your individuality.  Also when learning fundamental concepts like finger rolls, liquids, whips, etc. don’t settle for them looking “good enough.”  Cleanliness in your foundations helps so much with expanding your style in the future and will make your lightshows more pleasant to watch overall.

Instead of letting them be just “good enough,” get them squeaky clean and looking as perfect as you can and your future gloving self will thank you for it!  Other than that, don’t forget the reason that you got into gloving in the first place!  Whatever it was that made you fall in love with it, don’t lose that because that’s when passion starts to fade.”

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If you enjoyed this article, and have a sponsored glover or high-level glover you want to see interviewed, comment below! I had a blast interviewing and getting to know how a fellow glover thinks, and I can’t wait to do many more!

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