Alex Simorré / Noah Ornstein

“[Digital art] not only strengthens the connection between artists and art connoisseurs but also enables real-time communication.”

— Alex Simorré

NO

You’ve just launched Load Barcelona. For those who don’t know, it’s a first-of-its-kind, immersive digital art gallery in Barcelona featuring globally renowned artists and showcasing your state-of-the-art, screen technology and proprietary Spotify-like software for digital art. But that’s far from where you started. What were you doing a decade ago, and what led you on your current journey?

AS

I began my career at MH Diffusion, an importer and distributor of sound, lighting, and video products, at the age of 18. For nearly 8 years, I climbed the ranks within the company, becoming one of the top salespeople thanks to my expertise and customer-focused approach. I worked in the stores during the day and would install or set up the products sold in their companies, my reputation growing.

Upon hitting a career ceiling, I was inspired to start my own business. So, in 2012, I founded Artbox, a company specializing in audiovisual products, particularly LED screens. I built this company around my personal values: innovation, creativity, constant learning, exceptional quality, and extended customer service. For instance, aware of the time lost in sending damaged screens back to Hong Kong or waiting for Chinese manufacturers to come for repairs, I created Fixlab, the only laboratory in Europe dedicated to the technical maintenance of LED products, whether made by Artbox or other companies.

Faced with clients’ difficulties in finding the right content and software for their screens, I launched Artbox Systems, a division dedicated to content and software. I also observed that many remarkable digital artworks were not showcased as they deserved. This led me to open Load; a gallery where digital art can truly shine and transcend beyond the ordinary, as our motto says. My insatiable curiosity, my desire to experiment, and to carry out ambitious projects, continue to motivate me day after day.

NO

We all love having success. But how about failures. Was there a failure since you started Artbox, Load’s predecessor technology company, that you most cherish and why?

AS

Certainly, I’ve experienced failures, but I consider them more as colossal challenges and learning opportunities. Running an entrepreneurial venture, especially in a field where innovation and creativity are key, and relying on your own financial resources is a constant battle. I went through times when the pressure seemed insurmountable, sleepless nights, and periods of doubt, but I never gave up. This perseverance is what allowed Artbox to become what it is today. Far from discouraging me, these tough times brought me immense satisfaction and pride that I cherish. They are living proof that persistence leads to success, and that the boldest dreams can indeed come true.

NO

What is it about digital art that draws you to it?

AS

Digital art, for me, represents an exciting evolution in the art world. It opens the door to unprecedented artistic expressions, reaching a wider audience and conveying messages, emotions, and feelings in a new way. What particularly attracts me is its potential for interactivity, its ability to integrate elements like music, lighting, real-time information etc., creating a richer and more dynamic experience. Painters don’t have this natural opportunity to combine their art with media or establish direct interaction with the audience. Digital art, on the other hand, opens new possibilities for dialogue, in the direct sense of this word. It not only strengthens the connection between artists and art connoisseurs but also enables real-time communication. For example, an artist can send messages, share new works—or “dropping” something in parlance du jour. Furthermore, the possibility of transforming these works in public art projects, through large-scale LED screens appeals to me a lot. These large visual installations can transform the space entirely, giving digital art a substantial presence and impact. Remember what Refik Anadol did with Casa Batllo? Imagine artists taking over buildings, squares, monuments! It’s this richness, versatility, and ability to revolutionize spaces and perceptions that fascinate and inspire me in digital art.

 NO

Do you have a favorite artist or artists right now?

AS

Yes, of course! Ezquiel Pini (Six N. Five), Le Fawnhawk, Andrés Reisinger, Luna Ikuta, Maxim Zhestkov, Azuma Makoto, Jesse Woolston, and many more.

NO

So, now that you’ve created these incredible experiences with your screens in Europe, you’ve come to America, starting with a collaboration with Snarkitecture and Ezequiel Pini in Jayaram’s Miami Studio. What’s your favorite project that you’ve done so far and why?

AS

My favorite project, “Next Stage,” is a state-of-the-art film set that represents the pinnacle of innovation in the film and television industry. (I know, I use the word “innovation” a lot, but it is the topmost value for me, the North Star of the business. I can turn down a project if it is too “banal” and I guess I attract people who bring to me their most daring ideas. And together we make the magic happen). But back to the project: what makes it so special is how it revolutionizes traditional shooting methods. By replacing green screens with large LED screens, on which the crew projects videos while positioning prompts in front of them, we were able to reduce post-production costs and improve reflection effects, making the visual output more realistic and immersive.

The major challenge was to design the right product: it had to be a high-end screen capable of meeting the highest expectations, yet it should remain cost-effective. This involved juggling budget, quality, creativity and technicality. What we came up with was a 14 x 14 x 14-meter U-shaped LED wall, 6-meter tall, offering an exceptional image resolution and quality. It was first of its kind in France, maybe even first in Europe. Every aspect of “Next Stage” was meticulously designed to push the boundaries of audiovisual production—and I can add that it does take a lot of thinking to design a screen and almost artisanal skill to install it. It’s far more demanding than many people imagine, and much more creative.

I particularly enjoyed working on this project because of its innovative nature and the challenges it posed. It marks a significant milestone in the evolution of shooting methods and how we interact with virtual and real environments in the film and television industry. I also got some inspiration for Load, the gallery you mentioned earlier.

NO

But your plan, of course, is much greater, looking to set up Load galleries in NYC, LA, Miami, London and Paris. What do you want your galleries to be to people?

AS

A new kind of cultural space, a hybrid place where digital art and physical art meet and interact. I see it foremost as a creative playground for artists, where they can try new mediums, experiment and realize ideas. Beyond presenting art, I wish the gallery to evoke strong and authentic emotions in visitors, touch the hearts and minds of people through a deeper, more intimate dialogue with art and thus artists.

NO

What does your daughter think about everything you’ve been able to accomplish and where you’re headed?

AS

When I ask my daughter what she thinks of everything I’ve accomplished and the directions I’m taking, her response is filled with admiration and pride. She finds what I’ve achieved to be ‘beautiful, grand, and impressive.’ She is proud of me and finds my projects ‘interesting and creative.’ What particularly touches her is the uniqueness of my work; she often tells me that she ‘has never seen anything like it.’