Optical Animal is a Brooklyn based digital arts collective founded by creative duo JR Skola and Max Nova. Since 2008, they have found a home in creating unique experiences that employ new ideas and technology, while remaining firmly rooted in the ancient human love for storytelling. Optical Animal has presented video and projection art at events and festivals around the world including Mutek IMG in Montreal, Art Basel in Miami, Adelaide Festival in Australia, NXNW in Toronto, and the Westbeth Gallery in New York City. Work by Optical Animal has been commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, the New World Symphony, Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Calvin Klein, Christian Louboutin, and the New York Times, among others.
Named after a vision his father had in a sweat lodge, Max Coyote Nova has been telling stories since childhood. In addition to creating both narrative and abstract video artwork, Nova composes and performs classical piano music and dabbles in quantum physics as a hobby. Nova is also professor of “Live Video Performance Art” at New York University.
JR Skola grew up in the grassy suburbs of New Jersey, fascinated by history, ephemera, and the great outdoors. A move to New York in the early aughts, and a career in graphic, sound, and video design, led him to the world of storytelling, video art, and the subsequent co-founding of Optical Animal. These days he is occupied by the exploration of analog materials and processes, their relation to a spirit of simplification, and their relevance in the evolution of AI.