Durham artist creates his work in a virtual world

DURHAM, NC — As technology evolves, it’s changing the way artists paint.


What You Need To Know

  • Jaguar Perry is a visual artist and creative director
  • Perry, a public artist for the City of Durham, once hid under bridges to create graffiti
  • Perry now creates 4D art using virtual reality

Jaguar Perry is a visual artist and creative director who is taking his art to a different dimension.

“I’ve been creating art literally my entire life,” Perry said.

One of the first mediums that Perry started working in was aerosols, or graffiti.

“Like many other people, I took to the streets at nighttime. I had my spray can and I’d hide under the bridges in Charlotte and that’s where I did a lot of my work,” Perry said.

While earning a degree in fine arts from North Carolina Central University, Perry was given the opportunity to be the assistant director for a mural project.

“It was sanctioned, it was signed, it was a very different experience for me to not have to hide my work. That’s where these pieces were inspired from, a place of remembering my past,” Perry said.

In 2020, Perry was commissioned by the City of Durham for an artist relief program to create art on boarded-up buildings in the city’s downtown area.

“Being in this situation where I was out there on the streets during COVID, the streets are empty, there are tumbleweeds out there. I’m out there, it was a very nostalgic feeling of being in the past and being comfortable in that space , “Perry said.

As technology changes, it’s giving Perry’s art a whole new meaning.

On a trip to Los Angeles, Perry took a virtual reality painting class. During the class, he used an Oculus headset to create paintings. The Oculus headset provides access to a virtual reality.

“For me it was really weird not working on the actual surface I was working in, being a painter by trade. Starting off as a painter, that was my medium of choice. I was used to working directly with the medium with my hand, “Perry said.

It was the ease and limitless uses of digital art that got Perry hooked.

“It’s very tactical. I am actually moving my hands the same way as I would if I was painting on a 3D surface, this is exactly what I would do. I would grab it with both hands and shift it in the direction I want it to go in, “Perry said.

At the Fruit in Durham, where Perry’s art is being displayed, he is taking his graffiti creation from the boards to a 4D world.

“It’s going to go from inside my head, to a wall which is 2D to actually 3D and there will also be virtual projection, so it’s like 4D,” Perry said.

While the evolution of art grows, Perry says it will never replace traditional art.

“You can’t really replace the feeling of mixing paint with your hands,” Perry said.

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