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Caitlin LeMoine: Interactive Artist

As a creative director at the art company Meow Wolf, Caitlin LeMoine designs interactive art spaces that make the abstract tangible. One of her most recent projects is called The Real Unreal (pictured) in Grapevine, Texas. (Photo Special)

The Real Unreal

Picture an old arcade.

There’s a robotic voice yelling in a New York accent, some ethereal music, techno sounds, and a few beeps and boops. Just outside, an ATM quacks. A few wires hang down from the ceiling, neon paint splashes the walls, and the glow of game monitors lights the room.

None of the games are familiar, though, and they don’t require money to play. Because this isn’t an old arcade—it’s an art exhibit.

Welcome to The Real Unreal, an interactive artscape experience in Grapevine, Texas. It is one of the art company Meow Wolf’s many exhibits, and it weaves together bright colors, neon lights, hidden doorways, and the story of a family encountering the extraordinary. Behind the arcade, and many other Meow Wolf exhibits, is one of the company’s creative directors, Caitlin LeMoine BFA ’15. She joined Meow Wolf in 2018 after visiting its flagship art installation in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“We were actually too cheap to buy tickets for the full-price exhibit, and instead we bought cheap concert tickets so we could get in,” LeMoine says. “I was totally blown away by what Meow Wolf made. It was this amazing mesh of art and space and a chance to experience art in a totally new way.”

Meow Wolf got its name from employees randomly drawing words out of a hat, and its exhibits similarly bring together the unexpected. When a graphic designer position opened, LeMoine saw a chance to change how people experience art. She brought along her graphic design degree from UGA and experience in print and packaging design from freelance work and her time as The Red & Black’s design editor. These roles provided not only technical and time management skills but encouraged a lot of curiosity.

Connecting with other artists, engineers, and leaders at Meow Wolf, as well as her talent and hard work, helped LeMoine climb the ranks to lead graphic designer, associate creative director, and now creative director.

“My personality also lends itself to bigger picture things,” LeMoine says. “I was really lucky that I had a team that wanted to support me, and I wasn’t scared to ask, ‘Is this the best job for me? Could I contribute in another way?’”

LeMoine has worked on all four of Meow Wolf’s permanent installations, from graphic design on merchandise and posters to supervising design plans. But the Grapevine arcade is a point of pride.

She collaborated with indie game designers to push the boundaries on storytelling and highlight the artistry of their work. This faux arcade celebrates experiencing art through action and touch, rather than just looking at a frame behind a velvet rope.

“It was a labor of love, trying to bring different mediums of art into the world we were creating in the installation,” LeMoine says. “I’m really proud to have been able to shepherd in a new kind of art like this.”

In November, she was included in the Blooloop 50 Immersive Influencer List, which recognizes professionals who develop immersive and innovative spaces in the attractions industry.

As Meow Wolf continues to grow—with a fifth location opening in Houston later this year—LeMoine looks forward to supporting new artists, expanding collaborations, and, most of all, inspiring visitors.

“Some of our most successful work comes from us taking the things that bring us joy and the things we’re drawn to and putting that into the world,” LeMoine says. “It turns out that when you draw inspiration from yourself and your experiences, it becomes a pretty powerful way to connect on a human level.”

Meow Wolf weaves together bright colors, neon lights, hidden doorways, and the work of local artists in all its exhibits. Visitors are encouraged to wander the spaces as they enjoy the art around them. (Photo Special)

About the author

Erica Techo