Profile: "Alumnus Christopher Baine's software fuses arts and technology"

Full article originally appeared on University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ websi

As a sound designer and composer on the Washington, D.C. theatre scene for more than 15 years, alumnus Christopher Baine (Sound Design ’06) is no stranger to creative problem-solving. When he noticed the need for a new tool that no one was filling, he decided to build it himself.

He started his own company, Avae, and developed Canvas—a software that aims to fill the gaps between technology and the arts and simplifies design for sound, lighting and other designers. In addition to being named UNCSA’s first Artpreneur of the Year for his work on Canvas, Baine’s sound and composition work has earned four Helen Hayes Awards and seven nominations.

For Baine, the leap from designing sound and composing music to writing code and developing software was not as unusual as one might think.  

Arts & Technology

Sound is a combination of both the creative and the technical, he says, in the way that the technology of a microphone enhances an artist’s singing voice. “So, technology is a part of who I am and it was easy to sidestep into developing this tool.”

Baine had known for some time that he had a need for a tool like Canvas, but it was when he wrote the music and designed sound for “When She Had Wings” at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland, that he was able to turn that desire for a new tool into action.  Listen to “When She Had Wings” below: [view full article to listen]

“This was a dream project for me,” he says. He spent about three months working solely on “When She Had Wings,” creating ways to integrate sound, music and electronics.

The music was built upon sounds made by objects on the stage–a weather vane that squeaked when it moved, a piston that tapped the side of a flower pot for a hi-hat effect when an actor touched it.

When he finished the show he was exhausted, but inspired. “While I was working, I just kept thinking, ‘I wish I could…’” Finally, Baine told himself that he would create the tool he needed since no one else was.

He spent two and a half years designing Canvas full-time, scaling his previous coding skills into a full-blown software program and learning about every aspect of building a business, from funding to marketing and everything in between.

He also drew on his hard work and experiences from his career as a sound designer and composer. From his earliest days as a teenager working the sound booth at his local church and professional theatres in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, he has been in the business of problem-solving. 

To read the full article, please click here.

Christopher Baine