We had the good fortune of connecting with James Lopez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi James, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The Exposure Project stemmed from my curiosity about the creative process in immersive theater and a fascination with the Spanish literature concept of Magical Realism. I loved the idea of incorporating a sense of disbelief and magic into the real world without having to build out a large spectacle environment. What at the core makes an audience want to believe and play in the world you create? How do we foster that? What elements are crucial for that to happen?

A lot of the companies I work with or know of weren’t really exploring these ideas in a way that made sense to me so I wanted to create a testing ground where I can strip down and explore the things in the immersive world that excites me like audience buy-in, narrative storytelling, and experiential performance. I can dive into each of these elements deeply and suss out what makes these components so important to good immersive experiences.

I also am a magician and was always in love with the concept of secrets and how we as magicians hide them and are so afraid of exposure. When instead, exposure, sometimes, can be a beautiful concept that can create a richer and more magical experience. I wanted to create a company that didn’t shy away from exposure but instead figured out how to utilize the concept for better art.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My company is fairly new, only started during the pandemic, and an avenue for me to do art when everything was shut down or paused so I am still learning things and building it very slowly. It is a performing art company so that means that everything I create should be for audiences. As I have created new pieces and explored different types of concepts and ideas, I have had to redefine what audience is and overcome some blows to my ego and pocketbook for sure. But I am learning more by taking big swings that I know will help me improve and create better faster.

One of the things I created with my company was an unwritten rule that I wanted “what if” and exploring to be prioritized over commercial and financial success. Instead of feeling an obligation to create something on a consistent cadence or something commercially viable, the more important thing to me is creating something that feels real or true to the original concept or idea.

Because my background is in magic, I want to structure everything I do like a magic trick, I want to create a sense of wonder and mystery and be present in the moment. I want to create things that are secretive and exclusive and lead them down the path to a real transformative experience.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For sure I would recommend my favorite bars: Run For the Roses
Forest Room Five
Gold Point
Forte Greene

My favorite places to go explore:
I actually don’t like to give the cliched places, people will go there, I usually recommend geocaching the city. You can find a best-of list that will list all of the standard places to go. The recently release Meow Wolf recommendations of Denver is spot on, so what I do is go near those places and find geocaches. It allows me to see the city in a whole new way.

When you want to get out of the city, honestly for a weekend trip, Golden is just as breathtaking as going farther in the mountains if you are on a time crunch. Most of the trails are not trafficked because people think they will just see the city but when you turn the right corner, it can be breathtaking views and you are back in town by happy hour.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Too many to count. I want to give a huge shout-out to my parents of course who were VERY supportive of my crazy endeavors even when they didn’t understand any of it.

I want to thank Denver-based companies, Control Group Productions, Handsome Little Devils, and Invisible City as some of my first opportunities to dip my toes into Immersive. And the local magic clubs here in Colorado, who even though I feel like we have an on-again-off-again relationship, were my home bases and the start of my career in a magical performance.

Inspirationally there are a ton of artists I am inspired by and know, Derek Delgaudio, Joshua Jay, Studio.Drift, Gabi Pareras, Maggie Smith and Bluets, Denise Jarrot, Empire Records, The National, Italo Calvino and Invisible Cities, and a litany of other artists but these were top of head.

Finally, my biggest inspiration, Jenny Filipetti and her company ChromaKairos. There are things called the Solfeggio frequencies, where you align with the frequency of creativity, she and I were aligned long before we knew of each other and will be long after.

Website: exposureproject.co

Instagram: the.exposure.project

Image Credits
B&W Photo MWirth Photography

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