There have been lots of exciting crossovers between the art and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) industries, from the Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) trying to preserve local artworks to British rap artist, Giggs, using AR art to promote his album in London, UK. Further diversifying the space, next week the Thomas Crown Gallery will open in Birmingham, UK, as a specialist in AR and street art.
Thomas Crown Art is the brainchild of Birmingham-born international art dealer, Stephen Howes, looking to merge the worlds of art-tech and blockchain as an innovative solution for artists and art collectors. “It houses some of the country’s most original and lauded graffiti and street artists who have been inspired by revolutions and by ideas that disrupt convention, such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and activist groups,” says Howes in a statement.
Like many others such as Psychic VR Lab with its AR art app Styly, Howe sees the potential in AR technology as a new means of expression, allowing artists to bring their creations to life, jumping off the canvas.
“Mobile technology is now part of our everyday, with more and more of our smartphones offering augmented reality experiences. Art is set to become one of the biggest beneficiaries of this digital revolution,” Howes continues. “AR allows artists to add considerably more layers and depth to their works, aside from just simply replacing one section in a painting with another still image, animation, effects and even technical details can be applied relatively easily with several purpose-built apps. It doesn’t end there – 3D visualisations can also be used to make the works even more intricate.”
Another side of this technical revolution is the way each piece of artwork is embedded with blockchain technology to provide Thomas Crown Art customers with authentic artwork. “All our works of art are logged on the Ethereum’s blockchain with a unique ‘smART’ contract. This means that all the artwork is authenticated, and all providence issues are solved. This is a major step forward in the art world where forgery is a growing and expensive problem,” notes the gallery’s tech expert and business analyst Ian Mcleod.
“In the AR world, you can explore and interact with art like never before in history,” Howes adds. “Tech is democratising art. The gallery, which is a statement against the elite, symbolises this like nowhere else in the UK.”