7 AR artists who are raising the bar for augmented reality art
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7 AR artists who are raising the bar for augmented reality art

7 AR artists who are raising the bar for augmented reality art

Nickolas Menescal

With augmented reality art and AR marketing trends on the rise, it’s safe to say that the demand for AR artists will soon increase drastically. Augmented reality technology is an enormous, powerful, and revolutionizing storytelling tool that is changing the way artists and companies brand themselves. In this article we’ll present a few AR artists who have already dared to experiment with this technology, bringing you examples of how AR and art can interact and exemplifying the strong impact augmented reality can have in advertising. 

Most of these AR artists disclose their artistic processes and share the tools they use to craft their works, so we most definitely encourage you to check them out – and dare you to create works as engaging as these.


Maurício Nocêra releases his art under the pseudonym Lito. He’s a muralist and independent AR street artist based in São Paulo, Brazil, who’s creating a name for himself internationally because of the way he fuses augmented reality and street art. He takes iconic works like The Birth of Venus, Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Creation of Adam, and many others, and integrates graffiti tags and street art elements like vibrant, bright colors and a spray can effect. 

But Nocêra’s fantastic AR work isn’t the only reason he’s on this list – he also has an incredible ability to connect his art with the audience through social media filters. He’s developed an intriguing and entertaining Instagram filter that allows users to use a virtual spray can to create their own AR graffiti tags. The result feels like a tool you could spend hours playing with, and it gives street artists a taste of the magic that creating AR graffiti generates.

Lito's AR graffiti Instagram lens


 

Susi Vetter’s soothing AR nature


Susi Vetter is a Berlin-based AR artist and former Adobe creative resident who also gives us brilliant social media filters. She’s created impressive psychedelic and surrealist masks that make you wish you could wear them outside the virtual realm. 

Despite doing an amazing job at creating these virtual masks, that’s not where her focus lies. Vetter describes herself as an illustrator, multimedia artist, and digital product designer; she focuses on telling immersive stories while blurring the lines between physical and digital realities. Her pieces feel incredibly relatable and seem to blend gloomy motifs in a soft and delicate way. Her AR works vary from simple doodles to intricate and elaborate collage-style drawings. She has a wonderful way of combining shapes, colors and lines to create a world that makes us see nature in a new light.


On social media, Vetter often mentions the programs she uses to craft her digital work, and she sometimes exposes parts of her workflow and creative process, which are always inspiring to see. She’s keen to pass on her knowledge and offers in-person or remote AR and illustration workshops. While viewing her work, you may come across some great collaborative pieces made by Susi and other digital artists; it would be wonderful to see what she and our next AR artist on this list could design together! 


 

Dunaway Smith’s informative AR artwork


H.C. Dunaway Smith has so many incredible mixed reality pieces, it’s hard to choose only one that showcases her interdisciplinary genius and wide range of skills. She’s found clever ways to incorporate three of some of the most important and effective uses of AR into her jaw-dropping art: she entertains the audience with emotionally magnetic moving imagery in all of her mixed reality work; she promotes her musical project through interactive and informative AR album cover art; and she even educates the viewer on political matters with her brilliant Ruth Bader Ginsburg AR Memorial. 

Some of Dunaway’s more commercial pieces involve festivities like Halloween or Valentine’s day, and she has developed an out-of-this-world AR Holiday Card that’s impossible not to mention. Her impressive list of clients includes classic brands such Harley Davidson and Mini.

 
This AR artist has a compelling way of exploring how small human existence feels when seen in a broader universal context, and a clear understanding of the importance of allowing the audience to interact with art. And not only does she encourage the viewer to really engage with her work, she also invites them to try making it themselves with simple tutorials on her social media and website. 

Art plays a central role in Dunaway’s life and it’s exciting to see her finding ways to bring technology to the game. Dunaway is an innate storyteller; we can sense it from the way she describes aspects of her artistic process while still leaving some mystery for the viewer to uncover by themselves.


 

Andrew Wilson’s AR lettering art (Letters Pray)


Andrew is a lettering AR artist who takes playing with light, shadow and depth to another level. His work is extremely polished and – dare we say – impeccable. Because depth is already such an impactful characteristic of his 2D works, his use of augmented reality enhances this element in his art, making his work feel even more realistic and detailed. His ability to recreate texture in his lettering adds to the realism, from vintage-looking wood to shiny or rusty metal. 


Those starting to experiment with AR can read about his creative process and be inspired by the short time-lapses showing how he makes his hand-drawn pieces, viewable on his Instagram account. If you look beyond the mesmerizing skills and technique, you’ll notice that his pieces are also casually political and reveal a lot of Andrew’s ideals. You’ll find yourself reading words and expressions like “Equality”, “Let’s Be Allies”, “Vote” and “Oh No She Better Don’t”, to mention just a few. It’s brilliant to see artists using their skill to boost important campaigns, and we’re excited to see what Wilson does next.


 

Glenn Segard’s AR Tattoo (Caledonia Tattoo)


When most of us think of how augmented reality and tattoos interact, we think of how we can use this technology to preview the drawings on our skin. But it wasn’t until we came across Caledonia Tattoos’s Skull project that we realised augmented reality could bring drawings on our skin to life in the same way that it does drawings on other surfaces – making tattoos even more unique.
 
Caledonia Tattoo’s AR Skull project.


Glenn Segard, the artist behind Caledonia Tattoo, had an interesting upbringing and has a special relationship with art. Today he’s based in Vancouver, Canada, and plans to deliver more AR tattoo projects in the future. As Caledonia Tattoo’s branding explains, AR tattoos mean that the artform is “no longer confined to a static image … This artistic project pushes boundaries, and challenges the very conception of body art… The evolution of tattoo has just begun.”

The idea of having a tattoo that transcends your skin and becomes an interactive 3D artwork is already incredible. But if we think beyond aesthetics, imagine the possibilities: we could carry vital information about ourselves that is only accessed when a camera is pointed at our AR tattoo. This could be used to inform doctors of allergies in emergency cases, or to identify unconscious people if necessary. Thank you, Caledonia, for blowing our minds and introducing us to yet another wonder of augmented reality!



Yunuen Esparza’s Pop Art AR paintings


Yunuen is a contemporary oil painter and AR artist from Mexico City, known for integrating augmented reality into her radiant deconstructivist art. She considers herself a control freak when it comes to her paintings, giving a unique color to each piece of the intricate geometric pattern that is her compelling signature style. The longer you look at this pattern, the more compelling it becomes – fittingly, considering Yunuen expresses interest in both “celebrating the strength in individuality” and the desire to “make sense of nature’s random origins”.

Yunuen Esparza’s augmented reality art show in New York City.

 
Besides geometric patterns and the use of AR, another one of Yunuen’s signature moves is blending human bodies with different animal heads, which gives her pieces a sort of folkloric spirit that can be interpreted by the audience in many different ways. The cultural references in some of her artworks are quite clear and bold, with symbols reminiscent of Mexican traditions such as the Dia de Los Muertos and lucha libre fighters, as well as iconic political figures like Frida Kahlo. Yunuen has put together an engaging book compiling her most recognized AR pieces, available both in English and German. 


Marc O Matic’s AR World


Marc O Matic has everything it takes to become a solid pop culture icon. He has managed to create a whole world so unique and true to his aesthetic that anyone who’s familiar with his work can immediately recognize it. By mixing pen drawings with innovative technology, in tones of copper and metal, his style feels like a fresh reinvention of steampunk, one fitting for this day and age. All these elements are heightened with supporting sound design that helps shape the storytelling elements of his AR work. 

Marc O Matic showcasing his collection of augmented reality art.

 
There’s also a recurring sense of anonymity when it comes to how Marc presents his persona online, which can be seen with other pop culture artists like Daft Punk, and more recently Corpse Husband, who use art to disguise their true identity and let the audience truly dive into the fantasy of their world. You can find explanations on Marc’s socials of how he creates his works, and he’s currently developing a new generation of NFT crypto AR art that we’re looking forward to seeing. 

At the end of the day, no matter how you decide to brand and advertise your company, there will be a way to incorporate AR into the work. Like these AR artists mentioned above, we encourage you to get creative and try it – not only because of the promising rewards of AR campaigns, but also because it will allow you to think of art, storytelling and branding in new ways and the outcomes could be revolutionary.

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