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QR Codes Help Paint the Deeper Pictures Behind Art

Artist Jose Torres combines traditional painting with QR codes, letting his work tell stories like never before.

What if traditional forms of art could be more interactive? That's exactly what Jose Torres, better known artistically as Tony Taj, wondered. Jose, a painter and mobile designer, mainly paints intricate cityscapes on canvas, and is inspired by imagining the lives of the people who live and work on each floor and in each building he paints. So he came up with a way of sharing the stories he created around each character with you as you view the painting--all you would need is your smartphone.

Jose combined both his professions to create what he calls the Ambient Media Portal (AMP). Integrated into each of his works of art are a number of blended QR codes. When you scan a code, you will get a deeper insight into what is happening in the painting.

The code will link to further artwork, be it a live character video, animation, a song, or lyrics. Jose periodically changes this extra material so you can revisit again and again to learn more. Give it a try with the QR code in the above photo--it's really cool.

Speaking to GeekTech, Jose said:

"This idea has been on my mind for a little over a year. I first started playing around with QR codes when my business partner Beau Simensen and I developed a real estate web app called Propmarks. Most flyer boxes sat empty and most phone numbers led to voice mail. Barcodes on homes made sense to us. We built something that added value to the experience of locating a new place to live."I applied this same thinking to this idea. I did not what it to be gimmicky. I wanted it to be something that enhanced the physical experience of looking at the art and a way to evolve its meaning. It is so rewarding to see people really excited when they scan the painting and the animation starts playing. They don't even notice the codes at first, they just like the art, so its an added bonus."I'm thankful to be an artist in a time when such powerful technology is so readily available."

At present, three of Jose's paintings have codes hidden within them, and for now the QR codes only link to animations. In order produce and expand more fascinating character stories, the artist has turned to Kickstarter for help. His aim is to raise $20,000 within a month, and pledges start at only one dollar.

"I'm thankful to be an artist in a time when such powerful technology is so readily available."

--Jose "Tony Taj" Torres

The funding will be mainly used to pay extra artists and Web developers to expand the AMP project. Those who pledge a certain amount will also be able to receive limited edition prints and canvases of the sets--limited as in Jose will produce the sets for the number of backers only.

Jose isn't stopping with QR codes, however. Eventually, his work will be improved to move with the times: "Right now my AMP's are using QR code technology but they could easily be replaced with something like NFC or whatever tech is dominate in the near future."

Go to Jose's Kickstarter page to see how you can help.

[Kickstarter / Photos courtesy Jose "Tony Taj" Torres; used with permission]

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