From the COVID Art Museum to bread art and this guy who tattooed himself every day during lockdown, art, in various forms, has moved to Instagram. With most museums and galleries closed to the public, people are now chronicling their art on the social media platform — and they’re getting really creative. This Belgian visual artist went so far as to make virtual gallery users can run around through augmented reality.
Brussels-based artist Benjamin Spark is known for blending European street art and American pop culture into his pieces. The result is bright collage-like images featuring icons like Batman, Astro Boy, and Spiderman.
Similar to the mobile game Temple Run, The $10,000 Run lets users control a character inspired by Stark to run around a virtual gallery. They must avoid visitors and paparazzi, and collect paintings and tubs of paint. It’s found under Instagram’s face filters and the entire game lasts for as long as you can survive.
To develop the game, Spark teamed up with Niels Soete, the founder of Vision XR, a startup that specializes in augmented and virtual reality products.
“The game is an allegory of the struggles of artists in the art market,” Spark told. “Artists have to deal with everyone including the press, galleries, fans and are constantly in a rush to get things done. This is what the game reflects.”
Soete told that the game, which was released on June 30, was viewed 400,000 times and played 40,000 in 60 days. Like similar games, The $10,000 Run has an addicting quality to it. Navigating your way through the art museum with mini Spark, avoiding the crowd, and catching all the paint in a fast-paced environment is thrilling.
But Spark is aware that art purists may turn up their noses at the unconventional execution.
For Soete, the AR game is just the beginning of many innovations in the art world. “Instagram is shaping the art industry, and we will continue to change it too,” Soete told.
Spark agreed, saying that he too has noticed that social media now plays a big role in showcasing and discovering new art.
“Previously, artists were told that we should never share our artwork before it is displayed, as visitors are excited to see the new artworks in the museums,” the artist said. “With social media, now it’s the complete opposite. People see artworks on their phone, share it with their friends, and then go to see it in person.”
“Regardless of COVID, art will always be accessible, in different forms and on various platforms, not just in real life,” Spark said. “The future of the art industry will be neither fully in-person nor fully virtual. It will be a perfect mix of both.”
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