This vision came to me and although I wasn’t sure what it meant at the time, I knew I had to shoot it. Rather than using real snow, which I very well could have done, I got instant snow at a craft store. It’s like sand but when you add water it puffs up and becomes light and fluffy and wet… After choosing the best shot, I felt the composition was missing something. I added a cloud in the corner, because I felt it was more interesting to have a cloud in the image and yet my hand is the one sprinkling the snow… To me this is about seasonal depression. I don’t get it too bad, but I do really hate how the ice and snow keep me locked up inside. I don’t like feeling cold. I have seen snow every year of my life and I don’t think I would miss never seeing it again. Something tells me I need to move out of the Northeast.
Virtual Reality is quickly becoming an obsession for me. I am not (or was not) much of a gamer, but it is clearly an amazing platform for gaming because you become a part of the environment. What I was not expecting is for VR to be such an amazing outlet for creativity as well. So far I have been learning shape modeling programs, sculpting software, as well as painting in 3D.
Here I used Google Tilt Brush, a program that allows you to paint in 3D space with a variety of standard brushes as well as special effect brushes that glow, animate, and shift color. As you paint something you can walk around it as if it’s actually an object in your room… I created this silly psychedelic jellyfish that reacts to a song by Shpongle, which is also about jellyfish.
I recently bought Virtual Reality for my PC, and there is a really strange side effect that I wanted to talk about. I have never heard this mentioned before, but it is a real thing, and although it is really amazing, it is also quite frightening… This is a longer read, but fascinating.
Similar to getting lost in a good movie at a theater, the resolution on my VR headset paired with motion tracked hand controllers and six dimensions of freedom to move around in – basically, the experience becomes so incredibly immersive that you begin to feel you are in a different place entirely. It’s incredible, and undoubtedly one of the greatest feelings I have had in my whole life.
Some people get motion sickness or dizzy, but that wasn’t my case. Instead I experienced strange lingering psychological issues AFTER taking off the headset… It began with slow onset feelings of depersonalization and dissociation that lasted a few hours after leaving VR. It’s hard to explain the sensation, and I might sound crazy saying it, but I felt like my body was not my own. I knew these were my arms and legs, but I didn’t feel like I had any connection to them. As I walked downstairs I felt as if I was floating. Time had stopped moving, or I had no sense of it passing. The dissociation was so strong that I thought I might actually be going insane. Reality itself began to seem like an illusion. I would hold my phone in my hand and my fingers seemed to go through it rather than hold onto it. Worst of all, I knew I was out of virtual reality, but I had actual thoughts that perhaps reality itself is virtual, everything is fake, and I am stuck inside of it.
I spoke to the VR community and a majority of them said they had some of these feelings, to an extent. I must had been more sensitive to it. Everyone said it only happened for a week or two then the feeling never came back again. I wonder if it has to do with our brains having to get used to the idea of multiple realities, something very new to us in the tech world. Maybe some kind of neural plasticity remapping so that our brains can process the mechanics of going into a new type of perception. I’m not sure. What I do know is it was a very weird feeling, very frightening, but also incredibly interesting as a life experience.
Artists tend to be labeled as “creative” and “out there” people who don’t quite fit into certain roles or companies. I argue that to practice and master creativity is to be the best problem-solver there is. What business doesn’t thrive on finding new ways of doing things? What company wouldn’t benefit from that one person at the table thinking on a whole different level?
As an artist, we create our own problems in order to find unexpected ways to solve them. In this piece (“The Painter”) I was required to do a bit more problem solving and digital editing in order to make my vision come to life… What if someone were able to paint themselves into existence?