VR In Art

How Art is turning Virtual

Art always has and always will play a huge role in society. The way it has been fundamental to individual development and expression means that art is a staple which is simply another form of communication; an outlet which changes with the culture and times.

Even now, it’s continuing to adapt and echo our modernity… Virtual Reality can now be added to the many different mediums of art, along with more classic forms of paintings, sculptures and photography.

The new technology being adopted by the art industry means that the hire of virtual reality headsets could be a substitute for trips to art galleries, or for artists, the extent of their equipment. Viewers and creators can easily rent one of a variety of the new consumer friendly headsets and have a go for themselves.

Now we are no longer limited by our physicality; art is becoming three dimensional, and we can take viewers into a piece – a hugely exciting step towards new perspectives on art education and appreciation.


Artists using VR:

Many artists have already had a go at expressing themselves using the new equipment.

Time Magazine have conducted and recorded an experiment which documents ‘what happens when 7 artists paint in three dimensions’. It impressively showcases the new possibilities artists can reach and explore when given the new medium of a virtual reality canvas. Watch the results here.

The experiment uses the application Tilt Brush, by Google. It is one of the more popular and well known VR art apps, available on the HTC Vive, and turns the world around you into a canvas. This allows you to draw, paint and mould life size art pieces in the air around you with access to a broad palette of colours, textures, and brushes which are exclusive to a digital platform and otherwise inaccessible.

They have an ‘Artist in Residence’ programme; a database of work in Tilt Brush from illustrators, dancers, painters and designers- a possible inspiration for why more and more artists are turning to VR rental to explore this new platform.

For example, Fabio Giampietro won 2016’s Lumen prize for his piece ‘Hyperplanes of Simultaneity’, which he created using the Samsung Gear VR. It uses the headset to transform a series of cityscape paintings into immersive 3D environments.

Matteo Zamagni is also going virtual, and has created a psychedelic experience in his Nature Abstraction, which appeals to the senses by subjecting the viewer to both kaleidoscopic patterns and relaxing music, creating an abstract but almost meditative environment.

TruVision is a company helping particular kinds of artists – architects and interior designers – to get the most out of their creative process through visualisation and hands-on interaction. It uses a whole range of virtual reality headsets, from the Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift. In this way, virtual reality may not be the setting for the art, but is a huge catalyst in getting artists to their final destination.


A new perspective:

VR is not only changing the way we create, but observe.

A current exhibition by The Royal Academy, ‘Virtually Real’, showcases VR sketches by artists and lets you view their creative process, as well as letting you join in with your own creations – fulfilling the desire for constant immersion and stimulation that our generation crave.

We are thrown into the past when we are able to explore works of Vincent Van Gogh in Samsung’s app ‘The Night Cafe’, which allows users to actually enter the masterpiece and view it from what would have been the artist’s point of view.

Similarly, Samsung recently launched an app called ‘Woofbert’, which allows its users to tour galleries and art exhibitions with an informative commentary, and is working on letting viewers enter into the paintings.

The ease of VR hire today means these new forms of art exploration are almost easier to access than many of the great pieces of art in the world today.

We must, however, remember that the artistic sphere is by no means limited to paintings and installations, but also encompasses film, fashion and music; other artistic spheres which are also being transformed by virtual reality.

What’s more, VR Art is a hybrid of new technology and an ancient form of creativity, it merges together two worlds, simultaneously bringing art to new audiences while expanding the scope of people who use and engage with virtual reality.