Virtual reality and artistic reality meet at Aspen Highlands art gallery | PostIndependent.com

Virtual reality and artistic reality meet at Aspen Highlands art gallery

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times

Local artist and gallerist Olivia Daane is bringing the future of art and technology to her gallery this fall.

Daane's LivAspenArt will be hosting events that bring tried-and-true art-making of the human hand together with cutting edge 4-D virtual-reality painting inside Google's Tilt Brush.

Daane has partnered with the artistically minded startup Liquid Light Project to host demos on the Tilt Brush virtual-reality headset. During weekly events, patrons can paint in the virtual world inside the headset and also make art with traditional materials like charcoal and watercolor paint.

The series launched in the gallery at Aspen Highlands on Aug. 18 and drew about 20 people in its first outing.

"It's a way to bridge that transition to technology," Daane said. "It was great to see someone painting, with someone else in the headset."

Daane is planning to host regular events through the offseason. They'll run every Thursday starting this week.

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Come ski season, Daane is eyeing apres-ski virtual-reality art happenings in the gallery and special events elsewhere at the base of Highlands.

The Liquid Light team uses motion sensors, a vibrating pack and live DJs to enhance the virtual experience, inside which people can sculpt and paint virtual works of art.

"It's fascinating to see what happens when someone who would normally be embarrassed to paint in front of someone else tries it," she said. "People who might be conservative are very free-form."

Daane, a painter known for her series of vibrant butterfly works, describes herself as a bit of a Luddite — and perhaps an unlikely early adopter of virtual-reality technology. She recalled meeting a member of the "Star Wars" visual effects team at a conference a decade and a half ago and telling him she was uninterested in the tech world. He convinced her that, as a parent, she'd need to get used to her kids interacting with screens.

Since then, she's searched for ways to fuse the virtual world and her real-life creative world. As virtual reality begins to make its way into the mainstream, Daane wants to foster social and artistic experiences while introducing people to these new virtual ones.

"I think it's going to be really interesting to see what happens when people lose touch with day-to-day tactile interaction," she said. "I can see how it's going to be an addictive thing, as well, which is why I want to think about more constructive ways to use it than just escapism."

atravers@aspentimes.com

If You Go …

What: Drop in Paint Plus DJs

Where: LivAspenArt, Aspen Highlands

When: Thursday, Sept. 8, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

How much: $20

More info: http://www.livaspenart.com