Images courtesy of Martin Sanchez. Gallery created with D Emptyspace app (coming soon).

D Emptyspace helps artists and photographers showcase their work in immersive virtual galleries, so you’re probably expecting that our initial inspiration came from artists.

That’s only partially true.

When our founder, Ryan, studied in London from 2010 to 2012, he lived in a neighborhood full of artists who shared their stories, their struggles and their work with him. While that planted the seed in him to do something related to art, the specific idea for D Emptyspace came from another one of Ryan’s passions: Basketball.

Art Inspired by Hoop Dreams

Here’s the story that Ryan told me:

Do you know the story of why NBA star Steph Curry is contracted to Under Armour? He started with another big sportswear company, like about three-quarters of NBA players who get endorsements, but during a pitch meeting to renew his contract, the company representative mispronounced his name multiple times and left another player’s name in the PowerPoint presentation he was showing to Steph and his father.

Steph signed with Under Armour instead and now the Steph Curry signature shoes outsell everything but Air Jordans. According to an investor note from Morgan Stanley in 2016, “UA’s US basketball shoe sales have increased over 350% YTD… Its Stephen Curry signature shoe business is already bigger than those of LeBron, Kobe, and every other player except Michael Jordan.”

Watching these Steph Curry highlights, it’s easy to understand why he’s so “inspiring”.

Back to the Start of it All

Speaking of Michael Jordan… His story of finding sponsorship is just as interesting. Here’s the opening of an article from Edgar Daily about how Michael Jordan forged a decades-long (highly lucrative) partnership with Nike:

Five thousand dollars. That was the fine that the NBA slapped on a 21-year-old Michael Jordan every time he stepped foot on the basketball court in 1985. Given the choice, most people would deem being fined $5,000 every time they went to work a rather unwise investment — but most people aren’t Michael Jordan.

But what did the undeniably talented rookie from North Carolina University, who had only recently made the transition to professional sports after being drafted by the Chicago Bulls, do to incite the league’s wrath? What crime could he have committed that would cause him to be fined $410,000 for the season? The answer: his shoes.

Daily goes on to explain exactly how big a bet this was. Until Nike’s $7 million five-year contract with Michael Jordan, the biggest sponsorship deal had been a $150,000 per year deal between James Worthy and New Balance. But by betting on an untested rookie and using an attention grabbing marketing strategy created an unstoppable hype machine.

And exactly how did this inspire D Emptyspace?

First off, we’re committed to growing along with emerging artists, putting our faith in them and support behind them before anyone else will.

Eventually we’re also planning to become an art marketplace. If we’re able to discover even just a few amazing artists and put them in front of fans and buyers, our bet can pay off, just like Under Armour’s bet with Curry and Nike’s bet on Jordan.

In the process we can also do a lot of good for a lot of artists. It’s in keeping with the belief that underpins what we do and inspired our company’s name: Discover the Gift.

So, now you know how basketball can inspire an app for artists and photographers.

Images courtesy of Martin Sanchez. Gallery created with D Emptyspace app (coming soon).

Download the app on iOS:

Android version coming soon!

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Where we make D Emptyspace

As you might guess, as a company that’s creating a virtual gallery app, we pay very careful attention to spaces.

In our app, D Emptyspace, you don’t just upload photos into an album to share. The app encourages you to take time to arrange the photos, to tell a story, and to set the context so that fans and potential patrons can become a part of that story.

When we went in search of an office, we knew it had to be inspiring, to fit our aesthetic and, of course, help us tell a story. Here is a quick peek inside of our office. What story do you think it tells?

Our office is part of a space in Seoul called Hyundai Card Studio Black, which caters primarily to startups like us.

We have a tradition that when someone visits our office for the first time, they leave us a note wishing us good luck. This one, written in Korean, reads, next time I visit, I’ll come with my hands full, implying that we can expect some office warming gifts!

Here are a few pictures of us getting down to work, attempting to make D Emptyspace great.

We couldn’t possibly design an app for artists without some actual “art” in our office. You’re welcome to suggest some names for the pieces below.

Stick with us. We’re more than just a pretty office. The D Emptyspace app will let you create immersive virtual art galleries on your phone and unleash your creativity!

Download the app on iOS:

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

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Why You’re Wrong if You Think VR Art is a Gimmick

Why You’re Wrong if You Think VR Art is a Gimmick

Photo by from Pexels

Most artists — at some point in their creative journey — fantasize about creating their own world… their own reality. A place born from their imagination and will.

“I paint flowers so they will not die.” — Frida Kahlo

Humans have been fascinated with the concept of virtual reality since 1935 when American science fiction writer Stanley Weinbaum presented the idea in his short story “Pygmalion’s Spectacles”. And since the Oculus Rift (a popular VR headset) was launched in 2012, VR is becoming more immersive and more prevalent with every passing year.

Cover of Pygmalion’s Spectacles short story

And with software like Google’s tilt brush becoming more intuitive and easy to use, artists are starting to create works that live exclusively in the digital realm.

And no, it’s not only digital artists who are doing so. Fine artists are taking up the mantle as well.

“In short: technology provides new tools for expression and it changes the way we think about the world. It has the power to fundamentally change our collective understanding of art. But technology alone does not have that power. Certain historic and philosophical conditions had to be in place as well.” — Dalibor Polivka, The Real Politics of Art

Artists are building a ‘portal’ into a reality of their own making

This is a major VR art installation at Círculo de Bellas Artes titled “Temperate Forest” presented by Cristina Garcia-Lasuen. And she’s coined the term “Portal Art” to encapsulate a genre she describes as “3D, VR, immersive, interactive, realistic, multi-sensory, of the world.”

She also states that for virtual reality art to be considered as “fine art” it should fall under these criteria:

Criteria 1

For a creation to be a work of art, it must be done by an art professional: an artist.

Criteria 2

The objective must respond to very elaborate intellectual criteria and not merely aesthetic ones. The exclusively aesthetic, without previous intellectual development, is not art; it is ‘something decorative’.

Criteria 3

For conceptual art, as an essential priority, the work must be the result of a long reflexive process, in accordance with artistic, philosophical, literary and art history concepts. The concept that has inspired the reflexive work is the most important thing — much more than the final result or aesthetics.”

One of the most difficult things about promoting and sharing virtual art is that it can only be done in virtual reality. However, the video above depicts exactly how an artist can go about creating a portrait with Google’s tilt brush.

“The Chalkroom” by Laurie Anderson

Fine artists are setting up installations at well-known museums. And their popularity is overwhelming. “The Chalkroom” by Laurie Anderson at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) is booked out up to 30 days in advance. And Jon Rafman’s “View of Harbor” by Jon Rafman(where a tsunami sweeps you out into the ocean) is capturing the imagination of thousands at the Institute of Contemporary Art

The Artistic community is excited and gearing up to keep improving the tech

“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” — Victor Pinchuk

Google’s serious about getting on board with the artistic community. They’re working with 60 professional artists to explore and improve the current tools available.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Other Realities is an exclusive VR museum that hires, pays, and promotes artists across multiple disciplines.

And there’s many, many more VR projects,art pieces, and worlds out there — most in their infancy — for you to experience.

And here’s the good news — people are investing in and collecting VR art installations

The bad news is that it can be a little tricky to purchase, install, maintain exclusivity, and keep the tech working for years to come.

Private art buyers can now purchase a VR art installation for either investment or display in their home. All that’s needed to view the piece? A headset and a 3×3 block of empty space.

Galleries focusing on new media (like TRANSFER Gallery in the US) are actively supporting VR artists by providing funding, promotion, and installation.

“TRANSFER offers support for artists who are experimenting with new forms of installation and exhibition of Virtual Reality works.”

However, once you’ve purchased an artwork, how do collectors and investors retain and preserve their exclusivity? And how do you ensure the art remains viewable as new technologies emerge and may not be backward compatible. The answer deserves a whole article of its own, but this quote describes the underlying problem clearly.

“Let’s say you’re acquiring a Wolfgang Tillmans photograph. The work would be editioned, perhaps with additional artist’s proofs — but the gallery representing the artist would probably not concurrently post a high-resolution file of the image, welcoming anyone to reprint it at their local copy shop. For some working on the cutting-edge of VR art, collecting such material involves letting go of some of the preconceptions we have surrounding unique art objects and their attendant value.” — Scott Indrisek, contributing writer for Artsy. Link to the full article.

So do you want to create your own VR artworks?

All the equipment and software you need to get started will set you back around $1000. But from there, all you need is an internet connection and power. You have an unlimited virtual canvas that can be as big (or as small) as you want it to be.

If you want to get started with taking your art digital, head on over to the app store and download D Emptyspace. It’s a virtual gallery app that’ll give you a taste of what you can accomplish in a new, virtual world.

Download the app on iOS:

Android version coming soon!

Follow D Emptyspace for more company updates and art-curated content!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Download