Creators of Tomorrow: Augmented Reality and 3D Artist Josh Conrad

Josh Conrad is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in 3D art and Augmented Reality (AR) from the Stó꞉lō Nation, located in Sumas Territory, British Columbia. Today he lives in the traditional, ancestral and unofficial territory of the Coast Salish-Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷy Nations (̓məθkʷ) Nations. Self-taught in 3D creation, Josh’s innovative work aims to empower Canadians to connect and interact with digital art in creative ways beyond the boundaries of physical spaces.

How did you start working in the augmented reality space?

My time as a screen printer sparked an interest in design and everything related to printing. I went to art school to complete a digital design program and later even started a print collective, a community for printmakers to share their creations. But my career path took its first major turn when a close friend of mine, Aaron KaufmanHe introduced me to the field of 3D graphics, which is a type of graphic design also known as animation.

Eventually I fell in love with 3D graphics and working in this field became my whole day. I created album covers, videos and GIFs using bubble shapes, colors and abstract images. In my first year, Aaron mentored me, and I connected with others in the artistic community to learn more about their work. My advice to anyone interested in this field – don’t be afraid to reach out to those whose work you admire.

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My career journey took a second turn when my studio mates and I started experimenting with AR and mural work. We started working together to turn physical art into 3D. We had fun turning some of their murals into 3D objects, and then eventually, as AR became more accessible, into augmented reality details for social media posting. This allowed us to make our art interactive and give our audience the opportunity to explore reality-altering art in real environments and in real time.

I started developing my AR skills by learning from the ground up and finding resources when I could, especially with Spark headquarters. It provided another way to get involved digitally and share not only my work, but the work of the people in my community. I helped them bring their artwork right into their audience’s homes, in a way that people could interact with shapes and textures within their space. This helped them create more personal interactions and engaging content.

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What were some career highlights?

I’ve worked on some amazing projects with nonprofits that align with my personal values. Being able to transform artwork from physical to digital and amplify meaningful causes virtually has given me a way to make a difference, and give purpose to the skills I’ve learned. These collaborations show how art is an important tool to support social movements, And how AR can be used to spread important messages not only in an engaging way, but on a larger scale than ever before.

Earlier this year, one of my very good friends, Priscilla Yu, brought me to support a project to promote civic engagement in Canada. Together we created a wonderful animated creation based on her artwork We have become AR. In the summer I worked with Mu thunder create a immersive experience For their works of art, which celebrate water and the environment. It was so meaningful to bring Moe’s mural to life online. Then last month, I partnered with Orange Shirt Society to develop an AR effect for National Day of Truth and ReconciliationInspired by the experience of residential school survivor Phyllis (Jack) Webstead.

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What role do you think immersive art plays in storytelling and reconciliation?

An immersive story is the future. Not everyone can always see static art, as it is hosted in a gallery or exhibition space. We can bring this art to social platforms in an accessible way so that more people can engage with these artworks and stories.

This will allow our voice to be heard, and our culture to be seen not only at the community level, but by the world. It elevates all our voices and lets our artwork rise and share in such an easy, interesting and engaging way. I think it will attract not only our youth, but other people and organizations, and it will increase more interest in our stories, cultures and history.

Learn more about Josh on Instagram.


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