Back in August, 2016, I receive an email inviting me to come and play. Not one to ever turn down a playdate, I responded, but with some trepidation. This was not your normal request. I was being invited to take part in a newly launched Artist in Residence program, by the folks at TiltBrush. If you’re not familiar with the tool, here’s the basic premise: Take your average painting software (think Adobe’s Photoshop, or Corel’s Painter), and stick it inside of Virtual Reality. That’s right – painting in 3D space, and you are inside the space.
I’ve personally tend to avoid tech trends in the art, theater, and storytelling worlds (including VR), on account of the principle that tap dance is fundamentally a live experience. The more intimate and acoustic, the better, I think. I wondered what I could be asked to do with TiltBrush as a tap dancer, and secretly thought the folks inviting me had found out that I had attended School of Visual Arts for Computer Art (2001). Well, I said yes, and after 3 days painting in VR, I’m glad I did. I now have a body of work that I’m excited to share!
Everything has been under wraps until the official public launch of the TiltBrush Artist in Residence Program. That happened last week with this awesome video, this article in the New York Times, and this post on Google’s blog.
As for tap dancing in VR – it happened. I created a piece that incorporated storytelling, tap dancing, and painting in TiltBrush, for the 2016 Future of Storytelling Summit. It was great. The audience loved it. We’re waiting on the official video before we share it here. Once I get it, you’ll be the first to know. If you’re a social media maven you might be able to find a bootleg of part of the performance on twitter.
Here’s to the future.