Written By Wil Rios, Ana Alvarado & RayTrill Harvey

What is art to you? To me art is anything that exists, either manmade or naturally that compromises something beautiful, something that evokes emotion. Music is art, the simple beat of your heart is art and to many people, so is the manipulation of lights; also known as flowing. While I am not a manipulator of lights myself, I’ve found myself blown away at festivals watching masters of the craft capture audiences in a whirl of lights and shapes. I have found myself wondering through festivals and having to stop in my tracks to watch someone with LED gloves perform a dance with their hands that builds shapes with lights in perfect unison to the song playing and while I have never tried to do any of this myself, I find so much beauty in this craft. flow toys and the use of them have become standard in the EDM world and further hammer into the culture, self expression and the beauty of connecting music to the body. (RayTrill)

The art of flowing dates back all the way to Maori POI in New Zealand, “POI” is the Maori word for “ball” on a cord. At first, these indingenous people used poi to strengthen the flexibity in their hands for the use of hunting tools, but it laters developed into a cultural dance and has carried on and been passed from culture to culture through generations. Poi is now enjoyed by millions people all over the globe and can range from balls of light to even fire. (RayTrill)

Flow Toys range from POI, Orbits, Fire-flowing, Wands, Fans, Hula-Hoops, Gloves, Staffs and much more including, yupp, now even fidget spinners. 😉 The Flow Arts are a staple of EDM and rave communities. The lights provided by the venue combined with the lights of the Flow Artists provide the guests multiple sources of visual activity and excitement. Flow Artists love to “melt people’s faces”, or give them light shows while they party and dance. Many come out in full ninja attire to add to the visual effect and stimulation. It’s not uncommon to see groups of people form semi-circles around flow artists and act as their audiences at festivals or large concerts. Accompanied with the music, flowing becomes an art of pure self-expression and intricate skill mastery. (Wil)

They come in different shapes, different sizes, different modes and yet they call to us differently. I used to admire them from afar for many years. I took a trip to Utah earlier this year and my passion for them was ignited. As soon as i came home, I placed my first order on Emazing lights. I waited impatiently for those 10 crucial days to get my first levitation wand and my orbit. No one ever explains how hard it is to start. No one explained that you’re going to hit yourself in the face. There’s days I look at myself and realize how covered I am in bruises. Yet I keep going. I still practice to become better. To feel the music flow inside me and have my arms interpret how I feel. You want to know how I feel? Watch my story as I flow. (Ana)

I struggle from time to time with getting life on track. I look at orbiting the way I look at life. There’s times you’re taking a risk with a new move, but you’ll end up hurt. Other times when you try something new, you learn something better. (Ana)

At work, when I need to focus I catch myself thinking of new wrap patterns.  Even in the middle of traffic, I can feel my hands wanting to speak. If you ever approach me, you’ll see how anxious talking makes me feel. I used to be alone in a darker corner of the room, learning to flow on my own. Then one day, a group of flow artists approached me with their own orbits. I call these guys my family. That’s how I met Wil, who is one of my favorite people to watch flowing. I love seeing the joy, self-expression and interpretation, that the music feeds him. (Ana)

The Community of flowers are one of the kindest and most loving people you’ll find at a rave. They are always open to giving light shows, showing you their toys, and teaching you new techniques. There is a certain type of insta-bond that you create with a fellow flower, because you are both students of the art. You each enjoy the energy and excitement that comes with perfecting your craft. Furthermore, your admiration of each other’s skills is heightened for this very same reason. It is a beautiful connection that is mutually shared. (Wil)

Personally, I am a Martial Artist, so I view Flow “Toys” more as Flow “Weapons”. They are tools with which to defeat the evil Bad Vibes of the world. You feeling down? Come; let me slay your demons, bro. I’m also a fan of anime, Avatar: The Last Airbender being a favorite. Drawing on the theme of the show, I’ve come to see each Flow Artist as a member of a “Tribe” based on their weapon of choice: POI Tribe, Orbit Tribe, Hula-Hoop Tribe, etc. This concept of a tribe goes hand in hand with the Rave cultures use of “squad” or “squading”. Every group of friends that come out to events and party together consider themselves a squad. Some go as far as naming their squad fun and outlandish names, typically associated with fantasy or sci-fi shows and movies. These squads are simply extensions or recreations of family units. They cement the bonds you create and provide communities where you can be yourself and enjoy other people’s energy, which is what being PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) is all about. As such, your squad can be thought of as your brothers and sisters in battle. (Wil)

Just like Aang, – the protagonist of Avatar: The Last Airbender – flow artists must master their minds and emotions in order to “bend” the flow toy or energy of the universe . It takes practice and dedication to develop your skills or “level up”, but it is worth it to enjoy the art form alongside your fellow ravers. In the dark with the music blasting and electric energy permeating the environment, you can’t help but feel as if the flowers are conjuring up some sort of magical ethereal energy and portals to other dimensions. (Wil)

All in all, the Flow Arts are about cool lights, joy, and community. They come in their tribes to share their energy in a celebration of life and love. They train endlessly in order slay dragons with their magical abilities and transport you to alternate dimensions leaving your soul in a state of elation and elevation. They are here to quite literally en-light-en you. For the love, and for the culture, they’re here to Flow. (Wil)

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Posted by:Wil Rios

https://soundcloud.com/salvidoesthis

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