Josh Conrad is a multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in 3D art and is a native of the Stó꞉lō Nation, located in the Sumas Territory of British Columbia. He lives today in the ancestral, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish-Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Self-taught in 3D creation, Josh’s innovative work aims to enrich Canadians by connecting them with digital art and creating ways beyond the limits of physical spaces.
How does one start working in the augmented reality space?
My time as a screen printer sparked an interest in design and all things print. I went to art school to complete a digital design program and later also started a printmaking collective, a community of printmakers to share their creations. But the course of my life took its first course with my best friend; Aaron KaufmanI am referring to the field of 3D motion graphics, which is a type of graphics also related to animation.
I ended up in love with 3D motion graphics and working in this field became my daily life. I created album covers, videos and GIFs using bubbly shapes, colors and abstract visuals. During the first year, Aaron mentioned me, and I joined with others in the art community to learn more about their work. My advice to anyone interested in this matter – don’t be afraid to reach out to those whose work you admire.
I took my second career path with my students and started experimenting with AR and mural work. At the same time I started working on turning physical art into 3D. We had fun turning some of their murals into 3D objects, and then finally as AR became more visible, they paid off into enhanced social media. This has allowed us to make our art interactive and provide our audience with the opportunity to explore interactive 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 when Goal Spark. It provided another approach to digitally and share not only my work, but the work of those in my community. You have helped the artist right into the homes of the audience, so that people can interact with the shapes and textures in their space. This helped them create more personal interactions and engaging content.
What are some career highlights?
I’ve worked on some amazing projects with non-profits that align with my personal values. The ability to transform art from physical to digital and enhance meaningful causes virtually gave me access to making a difference and the skills I learned. These collaborations show how art is an important tool for supporting social movements, and how AR can be used to spread important messages, not just in the beginning, but much earlier than ever.
Earlier this year, one of my best friends Priscilla YuIt brought me back to the plan to promote civil war in Canada. We co-created a wonderful, animated piece based on his artwork us in AR *. In the summer I worked with Mo Thunder to create an an immersive experience for their works that celebrate water and the environment. So it was meant to bring Mo’s murals to life online. Then last month, I collaborated with Tue Orange Company to develop an AR effect for the box National Day for Truth and Reconciliationfrom the residential school experience of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad.
What role do you think immersive art plays in storytelling and reconciliation?
It’s going to be an immersive experience. Static art cannot always be viewed by everyone when it is hosted in a gallery or exhibition space. We can make this art on social platforms accessible in a way that allows more people to engage with these artists’ pieces and stories.
That allows our voices to be heard, and our humanity to be seen not only in the community, but in the world. All of our voices are raised and the release of our creativity is born and shared in a way that is both easy, fun, and difficult. I think it will attract not only our youth, but other people and institutions, and it will make more progress in stories, cultures and histories.
Learn more about Josh Instagram.