We breathe life into your bold ideas

We breathe life into your bold ideas

Sally Coulden: Abstracted

We transformed visual artist and abstract painter Sally Coulden into an augmented reality artist hologram to demystify her creative process and artistic practice, and demonstrate how new technologies and fine arts can complement and amplify one another.

1

Artist’s creative practice

10

Hours of content

5

Minute experience

Partners

The ABSTRACTED augmented reality artist hologram is a collaboration between Bristol-based painter Sally Coulden, digital artist Scott Fletcher and immersive experience designer and developer Benjamin Walbrook, and supported by Arts Council England.

Combining abstract art and augmented reality artist holograms

Sally Coulden is a local artist who uses paint to explore transitions from the contained physical and psychological complexity of the corporate world into confinement and freedom of self-expression. She is influenced by Abstract Expressionism and often thinks of her painting practice as an attempt to frame infinity.

Alongside painting, she’s interested in the synergies between fine art and technology – particularly the potential for integrating experiential technologies like augmented reality artist holograms into her work to diversify audiences and evolve her practice accessibly.

In January 2020 she received funding from Arts Council England to develop an app-based AR hologram entitled ‘ABSTRACTED’.

This was partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to provide access to art to audiences during the UK lockdown, but ABSTRACTED also aimed to introduce participants to the processes and performance involved in making an abstract painting.

Capturing Sally's creative practice as an augmented reality artist hologram

Curio collaborators Scott Fletcher and Benjamin Walbrook worked alongside Sally during her creative process, capturing a 10-hour timelapse of the canvas evolving as she created an original painting.

Alongside the time lapse, they used motion capture technology to record Sally at work, giving us the true-to-life physical movements of the artist as she painted, deliberated and admired.

Each detail was recorded: everything from delicate and hesitant mark-making to confident and powerful strokes. We used this motion capture content to make a virtual Sally.

Rather than creating a realistic 3D avatar we wanted viewers to focus on her movement so chose to use a point cloud render as an augmented reality artist hologram that would highlight her gestures.

Though the underlying 3D model is still present it’s almost invisible, acting as the emitter of stardust-like particles which create beautiful trails and patterns as they follow Sally’s real time movements around the canvas.

We built the augmented reality interface and prepared the artist hologram to be presented as a miniature augmented scene which can be placed by users on any surface.

ABSTRACTED is about providing accessibility to abstract art for all ages and bridging the gap between art and technology. I hope this work helps to empower audiences by engaging them with the in-depth thought processes and ongoing decisions an artist has to make whilst painting."

Sally Coulden – Artist

ABSTRACTED is about providing accessibility to abstract art for all ages and bridging the gap between art and technology. I hope this work helps to empower audiences by engaging them with the in-depth thought processes and ongoing decisions an artist has to make whilst painting."

Sally Coulden – Artist

Witnessing Sally's AR hologram at work

The final augmented reality artist hologram is a piece of performance art that reveals Sally’s creative process and is presented through augmented reality. Sally’s AR hologram an intimate exploration of an artist’s relationship with their canvas.

ABSTRACTED invites viewers to explore the development of an abstract expressionist landscape painting through augmented reality.

Sally is transformed into a beautifully rendered augmented reality artist hologram that anyone can watch painting from anywhere.

The evolution of the painting is revealed, opening a window into the artist’s development process and allowing the public to become immersed in the physicality and psychology involved in abstract painting.

ABSTRACTED works as a touring installation and an iOS app. Upon launching Sally’s augmented reality artist hologram through the app, you are free to choose where to place the 3D scene before Sally’s creative process begins.

You can move around and reposition the scene as much as you want during the 5 minute experience. Sally also plans to tour the project to a range of cultural and educational institutions.

In Sally’s own words: “The future success of this work will consolidate [her] ambition that artistic abstraction should be available and accessible to anyone, including those typically missing from traditional contemporary art audiences.”

ABSTRACTED is an incredible project which breaks down the barrier between artist and audience by giving the viewer the power to place, rotate and manipulate the augmented reality artist hologram.

It’s a powerful example of how technology can increase access to art and explores the relationship between artist, subject, object, and audience by calling into question how, where and why we view art.

Contact us to find out how you could use augmented reality artist holograms or motion capture abstract art in your own work.

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