Yunuen’s Esparza a popular visual artist reimagined an iconic landmark in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, using augmented reality AR.
Challenged by HONOR’s Gateway to the Future, Yunuen’s Esparza AR experience pays tribute to the transformation and evolution of the city, showing how it has developed from a port city to a thriving, multi-dimensional metropolis.
The initiative aims to make culture more accessible and engaging in the era of the metaverse, giving users the option of experiencing the AR artworks on-site in Hamburg, or anywhere in the world.
From Paint to AR – What inspired you to start your digital journey?
My first venture in AR was in 2014 to experiment with new technologies. Since then, I’ve been using AR to deepen the story behind my artworks, infusing social messages and engaging experiences that take full advantage of the marriage between traditional media and technology.
Working with HONOR, you had to creatively reimagine an iconic landmark located in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt. What was the most exciting thing about working on this project?
Smartphone technology is making it possible to celebrate cultural heritage in new immersive ways from all corners of the world. My design concept for HONOR’s Gateway to the Future project pays tribute to the evolution of the city’s port, showing how innovation in marine logistics transformed over time in my signature visual aesthetic. Once the concept was finalized, we tested the experience using the HONOR Magic 4 Pro’s incredible camera and it looked absolutely amazing on the phone’s screen! When my art is powered by technology, I can connect people across space and time, which is a wonderful feeling.
How long did it take you to create your piece?
We started brainstorming the concepts in July and thanks to the power of technology and great teamwork, we have created something very beautiful. It has been a great journey of discovery for me, and I’ve learned so much about Hamburg’s rich history.
What is the hardest challenge working from physical to digital?
As a visual artist when you combine traditional and digital media, the most important thing is to familiarize yourself with the different disciplines of the digital world, such as modelling, texturing, animation, editing and a bit of programming. But the most challenging thing is to keep up with the constant evolution of new technologies.
What’s your top tip for someone trying to become a visual artist?
I would give them the same advice a close friend gave to me when I started my career: “Produce, produce, produce and when you’re done, keep producing”. This is the only way to find and create your own style, your own challenges and your own goal. By constantly producing, you gain the level of skill and knowledge that only experience can provide, and this in return will help define you as a visual artist.
What’s the most exciting thing about working with AR?
With the pandemic putting a halt to live experiences, the world turned to AR to provide new ways for people to experience culture and art, opening a new realm of possibilities for creativity, culture, travel and technology. AR not only enhances art but also frees art from the confines of a physical setting, paving the way for artists to connect with audiences in a deeper way. Technologies like AI and AR are playing a huge role in making art and culture more accessible for people around the world, as all you need to view and appreciate these experiences is your smartphone. As the digital and physical worlds become more entwined, I believe these hybrid art forms will become mainstream.
AR Experiences are Now Live
Available now until the end of November 2022, the Gateway to the Future AR experience can be accessed through the dedicated HONOR page on the free-to-download ARLOOPA app. Users have the option to experience the AR artworks on-site in Hamburg, or anywhere in the world. The on-site experience is anchored to the Wasserschloss building and can be viewed from the Poggenmühlen-Brücke, the bridge opposite the iconic landmark. Users who are not in Hamburg can select “experience on any surface” on the app and follow the on-screen instructions to virtually place the AR experience of their choosing on a flat surface nearby.
Reimagine Your Community with HONOR Talents
Launched as part of the HONOR Talents global design contest, the Gateway to the Future project also aims to inspire creative talent from all around the world to harness technology and reimagine their own communities in the era of the metaverse. For the first time, HONOR Talents is introducing a dedicated Interactive AR Artwork category, and is now accepting applications for digital art that transforms local neighbourhoods, including digital overlays for walls, parks, and other public spaces. Artists interested in the contest can find more information here: hihonor.com/honor-talents/en