“Off The Wall” – Berlin’s First VR Art Challenge

One of the coolest things Grover has sponsored is VR art by Miguelangelo Rosario and the “Off The Wall” VR Art Challenge, where he introduced the next generation of mixed reality artists to the possibilities of creating with the latest technology.

Back in 2016, when the first models of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were being released, we wanted to do something a little different with virtual reality. Grover teamed up with Miguelangelo Rosario, a Berlin-based artist creating psychedelic landscapes and immersive experiences for our very first VR meetup, and for the last 18 months Miguelangelo has been using Grover-sponsored VR gear.

Since then, VR and AR art have exploded and we’ve had a front seat to see artists of all disciplines coming together to try painting in virtual space. For the “Off The Wall” VR Art Challenge, Miguelangelo mentored 18 artists, providing workshops and teaching them how to create in VR using programs like Tilt Brush and Gravity Sketch.

Then with the help of ARize, an augmented reality app team from the Netherlands, they converted their 3D designs to augmented reality. With the ARize app and scannable world clouds and art prints, their VR art jumps, literally, off the wall.

In January 2019, after months of workshops and preparation, all 18 artists selected for the challenge in September of 2018 presented their artwork at the VR Lounge in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz. Reality and virtual art coalesced into an immersive experience giving a glimpse into the future of urban art.

Instead of choosing a single winner of the art challenge, each participant will get an Oculus Quest kit sponsored by Grover, and we’ll be following up with them later this year to see what kind of magic they produce with the latest tech at their fingertips.

Meet the artists

You can get a taste of all the artists’ work who participated in the challenge by downloading the ARize app and scanning their word clouds here, or checking out the short videos of their “Off The Wall” challenge pieces below each bio.

Dan McGarry, aka Bioptix, comes from the UK and has a background in theater, visual arts, and audiovisual art and video, including VJing. He used the challenge to continue work on a music video that originally featured projection-mapping onto a 3D sculpture by recreating it with Gravitysketch and applying additional effects in Tiltbrush.

Andi Ponto, aka Cokyone, hails from Düsseldorf and is part of Dac Crew, a German and international graffiti art and creative service company that offers mural painting, custom art, airbrush and tattoo designs. With his urban art expertise, he brought his 2D style into 3D for the first time.

Michel “Cren” Pietsch, aka CrenOne grew up near Hannover, and has been graffiti writing since 1989. For the VR challenge, he brought his passion for lettering and contemporary urban art skills.

Malte Fiks Ortmann, aka DJ Fiks is from Schöneberg and has been part of Berlin’s hip hop scene for over 20 years. After working with vinyls, spray cans, acrylics, and watercolors, he brought his signature style to VR.

The artist “Edga” from NOWARGraffitis doesn’t share much personal information, but also offers custom artwork such as murals, canvases, and digital designs. The “Edga Islands” they created for the challenge are a psychedelic fantasy world.

“Frost” is also only known by their artist name. The graffiti writer is part of the Bongo Clique and has been painting since 2006. For their VR challenge artwork, they imported a subway car to tag without bothering the BVG.

Heiner Radau is a Berlin-born artist and textile designer. His illustrations have appeared on garments for Alexander McQueen’s menswear and costumes for Jean Paul Gaultier in Berlin’s “THE ONE grand show.” He incorporated his dense, flowing illustrations with colorful graphics for his VR creation.

Karina Donis is a Berlin-based, Russian-German visual artist. Her work for the VR challenge incorporated hand-drawn textures like the ones you see in her drawing and painting work along 3D models and Tilt Brush effects.

Roger Berndt, aka Kobe Eins, is a Berliner with a “surrealistic comic” style. To describe his artwork for the VR Art Challenge, he writes: “i eat food……thats why i make fruit……” Enough said!

John Hunt, aka Marlonstyle, creates cyberpunk-influenced music and graphics. His VR Challenge submission features an art gallery within the art gallery.

The artist known as Metraeda comes from the graffiti art scene, and is known for strictly using triangles. This green dragon they created for the VR art challenge is no exception 🐉

Lucas Kämmerer, aka Muffe & Pranke, has published and sold artworks featuring flora and fauna since 2016. He took one of his paintings as inspiration for the VR art challenge, brining animal and plant forms into virtual reality.

The artist known as Rolf Rolfe is known for street art and apparel. For the VR challenge, they have taken inspiration from the ancient feathered snake god Quetzalcoatl to create “Quetzarolfe.”

Philip Wallisfurth, also known as Señor Schnu is a street artist originally from Aachen whose happy-style popsicle stick logo can be found all over Berlin. Schnu has worked in other mediums besides painting an urban art, most notably with moss graffiti. For the VR challenge, he brought his “Schnuniverse” into three dimensions.

Silvana Vásquez-Keller has a background in fine art painting and took “The First Step,” into a new medium with her work for the VR art challenge. She writes, “As the title says, it’s my first step into the VR. It shows the separation from the classical painting. However, no separation is easy, sometimes you have to free yourself first. But even if you’ve achieved your freedom, you don’t necessarily know what you can do with it. There is often a lack of awareness of the possibilities that are opening up now. This process is characterized by uncertainty. Like a child, one tries to discover, but often adult claims inhibit a naive discovery of the new possibilities. But then it’s just the first step.”

The artist known as Skalmo normally works with sticker art and pop art influences, and has lately been papering Berlin with Skalmo-face-swaps. Skalmo’s VR art challenge piece called “iC.O. – consume overload” is “not about eating something you like, it’s about consuming the label, the brand to become associated with.”

The mysterious artist Trip has written, “Dancing letters since 1996, Flying letters since 2019,” but that’s all we know about them. They created a UFO for city sightseeing in the challenge.

The artist known as Tyll comes from Kreuzberg’s graffiti art scene and “power” lettering is the basis of their art practice. “VR Power,” their submission for the challenge, gives the fundamentals of graffiti writing an elemental form, “as if the writing came from a time when the earth was born and as if it were made of lava.”

For more information about the Off the Wall challenge and updates from Miguelangelo’s VR art world, follow Off the Wall on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what they create next!