Artists are often at the front of technology use and innovation. In David Hockney’s book “Secret Knowledge,” he revealed how old masters such as Caravaggio, Diego Velázquez, and Leonardo da Vinci used emerging optics and lens technologies to create their work and reproduce the world around them in stunning accuracy. In the mid-1900s, the invention and rise of acrylic paint opened up the world to artists such as Andy Warhol, Kenneth Noland, David Hockney, and Roy Lichtenstein.
The invention of photography created an entirely new category of art making, explored and mastered by artists like Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, and Man Ray. Eadweard Muybridge’s photography experiments led to video, and video gave us artists like Nam June Paik, Fritz Lang, and Valie Export.
Artists grow through the media that surrounds them. This year in the art room, we introduced virtual reality technologies, specifically the Oculus Rift and accompanying software: Oculus Medium, Google Tilt Brush, along with artist and artwork specific software. This technology provides a unique and innovative art making experience. Oculus Medium builds upon our understanding and use of clay, as it is most similar to sculpting using additive and subtractive methods. The software has unique tools that can only exist in a virtual environment. These VR creations can then be exported and printed using a 3D printer.
Google Tilt Brush provides a truly unique creation experience that can only be experienced within the VR environments. Artists can paint in 3D using light, waveforms, and dazzling special effects. The experience of creating in this program is unlike anything students have experienced before.
Currently, we are just scratching the surface of the possibilities of VR in the art room. Our experimentation and play with VR is the first step to understanding the possibilities, which will stretch our imaginations.
While we are just dipping our toes into the possibilities of VR, I look forward to the seeing where our Harrisburg Academy artists will take this new technology.
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