The painter and ‘tech artist’ Trevor Jones is launching a series of oil paintings, enhanced with augmented reality (AR), inspired by the cryptocurrency phenomenon.
After developing an interest in crypto and blockchain technology last year, the Edinburgh-based artist began work on what has culminated in 14 paintings, with accompanying technology and videos, covering aspects of cryptocurrency and investing.
They include portraits of key figures such as Coinbase co-founder Brian Armstrong, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, and the antivirus software creator John McAfee, as well as artwork with titles such as The Ecstasy, The Agony, The Hodler and The Day Trader.
Viewers can download the CreativMuse app to scan each work, trigger the AR features and find out more about the paintings and their subjects. His exhibition of augmented reality oil paintings inspired by the world of cryptocurrency opens at Edinburgh’s Dundas Street Gallery on 22 October.
Jones said he is the first artist in Scotland to have incorporated augmented reality into traditional painting, in 2013. “The technology offers viewers an opportunity to further engage with my art on levels completely unexpected and through entirely unique mechanisms to traditional paintings,” he said. “I saw a crypto-themed exhibition as very fitting for my particular type of tech-paintings.”
He has a history of disrupting the Scottish art establishment with the help of technology, having augmented the 188th Royal Scottish Academy Open Exhibition in 2014, and the following year transformed some of the National Gallery masterpieces into his paintings, including a Monet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.
This year, he “annexed” the National Portrait Gallery using AR to transform many of its portraits into figures from the cryptocurrency community including Tim Draper, John McAfee, Elizabeth Stark and the Winklevoss twins.
“After researching cryptocurrency for my forthcoming exhibition I discovered many of the key players in the crypto community were regarded almost as royalty,” said Jones.
“I thought it was fitting that I transform the portraits of some of Scotland’s greatest historical figures; kings, queens, philosophers and scientists, into these new tech entrepreneurs and ‘explorers’ of the 21st century.”