It appears we're in the midst of an augmented reality art boom, because in the same month that the famed Christie's auction house launched its mobile AR app, leading art gallery and art seller Saatchi Art has also announced its entry into the AR space.
Presented as an update to the existing Saatchi Art app (iOS only), the new feature allows users to see what art will look like on their walls before buying it with the app. To get started, go to the Discover section of the app, select a piece of art, and then click on the blue "View In Your Room" button to enable the AR feature.
You'll then be prompted to scan the room and place the artwork on any real-world wall you'd like. There's also an option that allows users to snap a photo of the art sitting rather realistically on their wall, which can then be shared via email and Twitter, or saved to the iOS device. In addition to traditional art (paintings, drawings, etc.), the AR functionality also works with photographs, but not sculptures.
Of course, sitting right at the bottom of the AR screen is the option to place the art in your shopping cart if you want the real thing (but be warned, much of the art is pretty pricey). Each artwork includes information about the work including its title, creator, size dimensions, and the materials used to create the piece.
And because social media has gotten us accustomed to filtering at least some of our choices based on Likes, there's even a button that allows you to "Favorite" a piece of art (registration within the app is required). It might seem trivial, but once you begin browsing, part of the fun is seeing which pieces art have racked up the most Favorites.
However, if you just want to use the tool as a kind of bookmark, it's a good way to save art to your personal profile on the app if you want view or buy the art later.
If you're an artist yourself, the app also allows you to upload and sell your work after you've verified your identity and details via the company's website.
"80% of hesitant art buyers report they want to see art and imagine it in their space before they make a purchase," Jeanne Anderson, general manager of Saatchi Art, said in a statement. "Saatchi Art's new leading-edge augmented reality view solves this key concern for buyers. This new tool is just one of the ways we are working to transform how people shop, view and purchase art online."
Is this the next best way to sell high-priced art, or just an AR cheat code that allows anyone to share social media photos of their home decorated in the best the art world has to offer? Probably a little bit of both.
Nevertheless, despite the edge technology nature of AR, it's clear that the sometimes stuffy and overly traditional world of fine art has embraced immersive computing. So this is probably just the beginning of a whole new range of AR-powered experiences we'll see in the coming months and years from the art world.