Virtual reality is changing the way we experience so many things. Using computer technology with headsets, omni-directional treadmills or special gloves to stimulate the senses, the illusion of reality is created. The concept has been grasped in so many areas of life, particularly in the world of entertainment. It can also be used in the worlds of medicine, sport, architecture and the arts, particularly three-dimensional art like sculpting.
Sculpting and virtual reality
Oculus, an American technology company specialising in virtual reality hardware and software products, believes VR can change the way art, including sculpture, is created. Its modelling software Medium has created several pieces including robots and a collection of DC Comics characters. Although the Oculus Rift is mostly a gaming device, the company is broadening its outlook with software which allows anyone to put on the VR headset to create 3D models.
It opens up so many opportunities because you can just pick up the digital clay and start sculpting directly, draw in 3D using your fingers, paint or even copy and paste which you cannot do in real life. It’s very tactile so it could appeal to artists who are not comfortable with technology to give it a go. It has been embraced by Canadian artist Jon Rafman who has created a surreal landscape with Oculus Rift. His exhibition includes a dark labyrinth filled with strange sculptures – https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/oct/08/oculus-rift-jon-rafman-art-virtual-reality.
Changing face of art
People are tactile and love to handle works of art or see them without having to invest in special glasses or gloves. Investors also like to collect works. The feeling of bronze or gold and the way pieces age over the years is a joy to behold. Even those with just a passing interest in art like to collect pieces which coincide with a particular passion of theirs, such as dogs, horses or other animals. If you are interested in bronze animal sculpturers, you can see some beautiful pieces at http://www.gillparker.com/.
Whilst VR will certainly open up the world of art and sculpting to a wider audience gamers and younger people will enjoy the fun element of donning a headset to wander through an artificial world which feels real. But what will it mean for traditional art forms? It will probably become a complementary art form rather than changing the face of art.