What's your story? Hallucinations Media

This is a longer version of a story I wrote for Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts’ 2016 Impact Awards night. Hallucinations Media designed centerpieces and did other work for the Oct. 20 TBBCA event.

Hallucination Media exists at that place where creativity collides with the cutting edge.

Steve “Monk” McClure and Bryan Nichols run a company that on any given day might project LED video images on a nightclub ceiling or sculpt a 4-foot tall stack of pancakes complete with the appearance of melting butter for a business promotion. The eclectic mix might call for collaborating with well-known local artists or using their laser to create candle holders and lanterns to sell directly to the public through etchpros.com.

“We want to give inspiration to people to use our talents as creative artists and visionaries to help develop certain things for them,” McClure said.

McClure built a multitude of contacts as a member of the electronic music group Rabbit in the Moon, which was one of the biggest touring electronic acts in the country in the mid 1990s.

“They were part of the first wave of the electronic era,” Nichols said.

McClure then found success working to bring electronic visuals to Tampa clubs and raves such as DNA, Evolution and Masquerade.

“It kind of gave me a lot of insight into how to entertain people,” he said. “It was just my passion. Pretty much my whole life up to now was spent with music and visuals and graphics.”

McClure and Nichols began working together in about 1999 on Hallucinations Before Christmas, an underground dance event that spoofs Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and raises more food for charity than any other one-night event in Tampa. They are part of the fabric of the Tampa club scene.

“We wanted to be on the bleeding edge of everything always,” McClure said. “Once we met Bryan it helped us to do that.”

McClure and Nichols formed Hallucinations Media in 2007. They have pushed the limits with video projection imaging and the laser cutting, bringing local entertainment to new levels.

Stuff you would only see with major touring acts.or the big festivals,” Nichols said, “we brought that to the small club level.”

While both contribute to the creative collaboration, McClure is more prone to brainstorming and getting a client fired up about an idea while Nichols handles the graphic and web design aspects.

He’s creative director and grunt-work guy,” Nichols said. “And then I’m like the tech guy. I can do the programming, do graphic design, do programming the laser … and then we both do the final touches on everything.”

McClure loves to pursue an idea or twist on an idea that he never has seen done before, “And I’m in the background grumbling because I have to figure out how to do it,” Nichols said.

The goal is to emerge with Hallucinations Media as a design-build company that can conceive, design and execute projects as a single entity. So far, the variety of work has kept McClure and Nichols’ creative juices flowing.

Just when we might be sick of one thing, we get the introduction to something new and we get inspired,” McClure said. “It’s a nice business to be in when you’re surrounding yourselves with creatives all the time.”