"The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways" (Greene, 2012, p.64).
As a painter, my work has been concerned with telling stories through staged cinematic scenes with implied narrative and intertextuality being some of the key concepts used within their framework. By adopting the mechanics of cinema and focusing on cinematography, lighting, set design and editing it allows one to create paintings that are emotionally engaging and theatrical in nature. That being said, how emotive can a still image truly be?
My curiosity regarding image-based mediums and narrative structures has led me to begin questioning traditional forms of visual story-telling and thus leading me to search for new ways of communicating ideas that address some of the issues and limitations that I encountered with “the static image”. Issues such as the absence of a sensory experience and also with viewer participation. With this in mind, I stumbled upon an emerging technology that seems to be the perfect counterbalance to these issues. That is the medium of virtual reality. VR forms the perfect synergy between story-telling, creativity and technology where one can manipulate how the viewer interacts with the work by creating either simple or complex narrative structures that allow the viewer a greater sense of presence and with that comes a greater sense of empathy. With computer graphics and virtual reality, one can combine elements of photography, painting and sculpture to create realities that envelop the viewer – potentially allowing the viewer to be in a painting as opposed to merely looking at it. Ultimately, this is the goal of my current body of work, to bring awareness to the role of the viewer and create art that encourages the audience to engage and spend time with the work; therefore, countering the main frustration I previously had with my work – a lack of viewer engagement.
When we think of painting we think of oils and not pixels in space. By bringing traditional painting and virtual reality together it allows a dialogue between the past present and future to open up and some interesting concepts arise. Concepts such as; Immersive storytelling, sense of embodiment, experientiality, existentialism, agency, empathy, and simulation theory. By temporarily putting down the brush and picking up the digital pen it has broadened my understanding of what a painting is and how it exists “off the canvas”. This merging of old and new has positioned my artwork in a positive feedback loop where my traditional work is influencing and encouraging my digital work and vice versa. I feel that this combining of knowledge across traditional and digital mediums put me in a position of great benefit where I can explore and aim to find new and exciting ways to tell stories visually and furthermore I can give the viewer a chance to slip into the world and experience the work in a whole new way.