Art

This Kiwi artist is turning to augmented reality to make paintings

The Other Art Fair is returning to Sydney for a third edition, and with it comes a first for the event: a painting mapped with augmented reality.

Charles Clapshaw, a New Zealand-born, Australia-based artist, plans to unveil a piece that marries postmodern art with modern technology. Using augmented reality, the creative hopes to make the viewers a part of the painting process, allowing them to interact with the piece using their mobile phones.

According to a press release, the AR objects will be a “one-off, custom crafted experience” that will surely open up “new options for art.”

Clapshaw’s works will be among other pieces by 109 other artists at The Other Art Fair. The so-called “world’s leading artist-led contemporary art fair,” is a highly-anticipated event wherein art lovers can meet and buy direct from the best emerging, undiscovered artists – all handpicked by industry experts.

The Fair will include an immersive four-day program filled with workshops, talks, art tours, VR story-telling, activities for families, and live performances from street artists. It will be held at the Eveleigh’s Australian Technology Park from 26-29 October 2017.

We recently had a short chat with Clapshaw to know more about his work, as well as what to expect at the upcoming Fair.

How would you describe your artistic style to a stranger who hadn’t seen it before?

“Ah yes – this is always the first question I am asked when people discover I am an artist. Normally, I just say I paint squares. Then I say with some colour theory. Then I get a confused expression and I end up showing Instagram. It’s actually an effective way to get followers.

“But actually I would say that I am an abstract expressionist using geometric colour as my tool. I look to create a painting where you can find shapes and spaces – that change on each viewing. I love how painting is both a verb and a noun, my goal is to keep the verb happening.

“An action painter is also how I have been described, which is more often now that I am doing more murals and playing with technology such as projection mapping and augmented reality.”

Who are the artists/creatives that have inspired you over the years?

“My first inspiration was via my good friend Oliver Marsden who demonstrated to me the full gauntlet of what you can do with abstraction – pulling out people’s emotional response to a work as well as some illusions.

“From there I went into a lost wonderland until I discovered Frank Stella. From Frank, I went to Saul Lewitt who took me to Josef Albers, a slight detour to Le Corbusier until the current destination of Kandinsky and Klee. The early abstracts speak to me with their simplicity and optimism.

“Australian artists that have also influenced me include Michael Johnston, closer to home is Milan Mrkusich – both of whom I believe deserve more recognition for what they are achieving on their canvases.”

Tell us what people can expect to see of yours at the Other Art Fair?

“A very good question given that we are just two weeks from the show! I’m very happy to have two pieces hanging with the Samsung installation as it’s very hard to decide what to show with just 5 metres and so this has given me a bit more space.

“I’ve just moved back to Australia after a couple of years painting and hiding murals in Asia and so the work is all new – mostly taking inspiration from the mural completed in Bondi and the colour palette from the glorious beach – both the water, the skies, and the boards.

“I did a couple of experiments in the backyard to test the paint and shapes, these will be on sale as well as the finished pieces. I’ve also integrated augmented reality into the painting to continue the metaphor, it’s still in the R&D phase but there will be the opportunity to have a broader interactive experience via a mobile phone.

“I’m really interested to see how valuable these extra experiences are – and if they will sell as an extension of the painting. The verb. How far can it be extended?”

Tell us about how you learned or were trained to create the way you do?

“I am mostly self-taught. Early in my career, I was the studio-slave for a couple of leading artists in the Edinburgh art scene but since then I have been a solo explorer.

“Recently, I have had the pleasure of a mentor from the Royal College of Art (London) as well as being part of the mentoring program with Turps Magazine (UK). This really helped with some of the thinking about the works as well as learning about artists who are/were looking at similar spaces.

“But mostly it’s all about discovery. I never sketch or pre-plan, it’s all about finding the painting as it goes. Which does tend to make it quite stressful until the painting reveals itself… but recently I’m finding that this means I am forced to innovate and so a necessary challenge to make it happen.”

For more details about The Other Art Fair, head on over here. You can also check out Charles Clapshaw’s other works by visiting his website.