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Traditional artists try virtual reality art for the first time

We all know that art can exist in virtual reality, from games like Adr1ft, to films such as Collisions. Virtual reality has shown itself to be a unique medium for immersing audiences in a work of art. But what about creating art within virtual reality? Google’s Virtual Art Sessions set out to experiment with exactly that.

Google invited six artists who all work with different mediums and material, to test out Google’s new Tilt Brush software. Tilt Brush functions as a palette and a brush that simulates painting in a 3D environment. Jeff Nusz, one of the people on the Data Arts Team at Google, commented in the behind the scenes video that it was interesting to take artists accustomed to working with physical things and “hand them this new medium, this new tool that no one knows how to use.”

In that same video many of the artists exclaim that this technology is “magical” and “incredible.” Yok, of the street art duo Yok & Sheryo described it as “legal acid.” But what is perhaps more intriguing is the art that was actually created, and how people are able to view it. On the site for the Virtual Art Sessions, you can view four works from each of the six artists. Not just as static images, or even 3D models that you can turn, but also the process during the act of creation. You can then choose whether to watch it in real time, or speed it up, and whether to view it from outside where you can turn and zoom in and out on the art being made, or from the artist’s point of view.

showing the act of creation from the creator’s eyes

Viewing this art, one may notice that even given this virtual space, the artists often are still creating something like their usual medium. Andrea Blasich’s sculptures made with Tilt Brush still express as much with shape as with texture. Katie Rodger’s flowing dresses and 3D drawings have the same organic, nature-inspired feeling of her other art. Seung Yul Oh is an installation artist, and although you can turn and view his work from any angle, the most compelling view is within the art itself. But perhaps the most interesting piece of art to come out of the experiment was the website itself. By allowing viewers to twist and turn the art as it’s being made, showing the act of creation from the creator’s eyes, Google’s Virtual Art Sessions become a sort of digital installation and performance piece itself. And that is truly unique.

You can explore the Virtual Art Sessions here.