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Meet the metaversers: Piper ZY

AR whiz Piper ZY tells all about the creative side of AR, the metaverse and channelling all things futuristic

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Piper ZY is an AR trailblazer. From creating nail extensions that turn into cosmopolitan cities to rings that transform into a race track, Piper uses each day to create the most daring futuristic AR creations in fashion. We chat to Piper about the future of metaverse art, gaining significant traction on TikTok, and creating her very own 100-day art challenge for the latest installation of our Meet The Metaversers series.

How did you begin working in AR?
I started making AR in 2015 for small concept art and music video projects. I was editing futuristic outfits and accessories on myself and my friends when I realised that I wanted to animate elements of my outfits. In the years since then, the technology has expanded and I started publishing filters for Instagram last year. 

How would you describe your creative practice? 
I always imagine a world that is slightly different from reality and more expressive - like an alternate timeline - and I want to create it. I focus on the concept and moment in that distant world first and then work to bring my concept into reality.

What software do you use to create AR? 
I use Spark AR and Adobe Suite for many AR projects. If music or 3D art is needed, I occasionally use other software, but for AR filters I mainly use those two.

How do you think the metaverse will change the way people make and consume art? 
The coming decades are extremely exciting for creators and developers; we are the necessary architects of the virtual world. I hope the genesis of the metaverse means artistic concepts and voices of artists can be valued more than they currently are in traditional business settings. There will be a heavier focus on experiencing art, even in advertising. This will require more abstract skills from creators, and I imagine a lot of people's unique voices and visions will be valuable in these developing spaces in new ways.

What does a day-to-day look like for you? 
I try to create something everyday. I've been working on commissions and branded projects recently, as well as my own projects. I have a background in corporate marketing, so I enjoy switching between the avant-garde personal work and tailored brand work. It's two different modes with an overlapping skillset. For clients, I view their goal as my goal too and that excites me about their projects. 

Talk us through your 100-day art challenge!  
I started the 100-day art challenge for myself to post consistently with some structure on TikTok. When I started, I was focused on competitions and other AR projects and just wanted to post consistently on the side to make sure I was using as much time as I could be using to create and put out concepts. I thought it would gain traction slowly, but I was amazed and honoured to get so many eyeballs on my work just 12 days into the challenge.

What has been your favourite piece of work you've created to date? 
My favourite piece within AR so far has been an abstract AR gown, an effect which plays my original music. I wanted to conceptualise a music video into an abstract garment – which I believe is coming in the metaverse. I believe the concept of what constitutes a garment is about to be challenged in a big way, and I want to innovate in that space.

Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline?  
I have some futuristic concepts coming up which I hope will spark discussion as to how AR can be used in advertising and daily life. I just finished a makeup palette concept with plants growing out of each shade, and I want to continue pushing the limits of advertising with AR.

You have a presence on TikTok, talking about your AR and creative work. What has the response been like?
Comments on TikTok are sensational and cover a wide range of reactions. I get a lot of people who have never seen AR art outside of face filters, asking what it was and if it was real, and how to view it. I have loved replying to those comments and engaging them. In a way, it feels like a time capsule, and it's so exciting to introduce what I see as a big part of the future to people in real-time.

AR and all things within the metaverse are a fairly new phenomenon in tech. What advice would you give to any creatives looking to start a career in these areas? 
A lot of traditional skills can be applied to a virtual world. Whatever niche someone creates now can be translated to AR and VR in some way, with some trial and error. I hope the metaverse can be a reflection of our real life, enhanced by our imagination. I think doing this means getting as many people in as many industries involved as possible. Over the next decade, I expect careers and opportunities to open up that are totally unheard of now.

Be sure to follow piper on Instagram here!

Words: Grace Goslin

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