Exploring new realms of art is something Katie Rodgers welcomes with open arms. Showcased on the website “Paper Fashion,” she has built an extensive portfolio, working with singer Alicia Keys, the Boston Ballet, and the Screen Actor’s Guild. Her Instagram account, where she posts her artwork and additional photos, has amassed over 660 thousand followers, and her Facebook page has over one million likes. Last year, she got the opportunity to work with Google’s Data Arts Team and bring her creative talents to the world of virtual reality.
Innovation & Tech Today: You created some fascinating VR art with Google’s Tilt Brush last year. Tell me about your experience with that.
Katie Rodgers: That was awesome. I had been kind of following this Tilt Brush technology before I started working with them and I was just so fascinated by it. Because I’m an artist and I love working with new mediums and bringing things a little more tech or modern. So when they asked me to work on it with them it was super exciting, and it was just a really cool way to take what I do and bring it into this completely digital, virtual world.
I&T Today: Was it pretty jarring going from traditional art methods to VR-generated art?
KR: I wouldn’t say it was jarring. As soon as I stepped into it and put the headset on it was just fascinating. It was kind of this thing that you maybe would have dreamed of, but it’s actually there now. It was like stepping into your own world that had always existed on paper. But to be in that world in a real-life situation was really cool. It felt very natural to go from what I was already doing to that. It sounds weird, but it felt very natural.
I&T Today: What was the most notable difference utilizing the Tilt Brush controllers as opposed to a standard paintbrush?
Katie Rodgers: It took a minute to figure it out. It felt very similar. Of course, you didn’t have that full tactile texture feeling you get when you drag a paintbrush across a paper or a pencil. It just felt like moving your arm. So you didn’t have that, which was the notable thing for me. But you quickly forgot about that when you’re seeing these textures come out in front of your eyes and clicking the button to choose color and release the paint or whatever it is helps with that a little bit.
I&T Today: Just viewing the video, we only got to see it from the VR perspective, but what did it look like from your perspective?
KR: It was amazing because it’s almost like…me looking at that VR video doesn’t feel nearly the same as being right there in front of it. But it’s all cool because it’s literally this thing right in front of your eyes and it feels very 3D, and it feels real. So I think that was probably the main difference.
I&T Today: After that experience, are you planning on doing any VR pieces in the future?
KR: Yeah, I’ve done some since then which were great – to go back in there with already having a little bit of experience with it, to explore a little more. I don’t have it set up at home but it’s something that I want to get set up eventually, just to kind of play around with and see where it can take my work. And it also makes you rethink your own work completely because you’re going from 2D to 3D and it generates new ideas. So that’s something I want to do.
I&T Today: Was this something Google approached you with? Or did you contact them?
KR: So, originally, I saw the video they did of Glen Keane with Tilt Brush, and I reached out to the creators of Tilt Brush. I think that was before Google had it. I can’t remember. But nothing came of that and then Google reached out to me a few months later. And they had no idea I had even written about it on my website already. So it was this perfect coincidence of us both finding each other somehow. But, yeah, they reached out to me to do the Chrome Experiment.
I&T Today: Outside of virtual reality, is there a technology you’d like to work with for your art that you’ve never tried before?
Katie Rodgers: Yeah, I’m fascinated by doing anything new with my artwork. And, this is still a virtual thing, but the augmented reality stuff – I’m also obsessed with that, and I think that would be an interesting platform as well to bring the art into.
I&T Today: Well, I know AR has definitely gotten much more popular in the gaming world, even the business world is starting to integrate that. So it’s going to be interesting to see how the art world approaches it.
KR: And even seeing that stuff and virtual reality has influenced my work as a 2D artist as well. I did something yesterday that appears to be an AR kind of saturation, but it was created without that. But I just love the look of that virtual thing mixed in with the real world.
You can find more of Katie Rodgers’ art by going to <a href="Paper Fashion
Interview by Anthony Elio
If you liked this interview check out our interview with Scarlett Johansson