Doddz is an artist at the forefront of the Augmented Reality movement. He started as a street artist, transitioning into creating custom garments that produce an interactive experience where the artwork comes to life once a smartphone scans it.
His work pushes AR‘s boundaries, creating an artistic experience that is unlike anything else with a strong focus on sustainability, the Metaverse and digital fashion. He is paving the way for how we experience, collect and interact with art. Word of his sorcery soon spread, leading him to collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands and artists, including Dior, Disney, The Beatles, Amazon, Adidas, Billie Eilish, Drake, Giggs, and Big Narstie, to name a few.
I endeavoured to make my work stand out from the many other artists
Doddz has recently founded his online academy, which hosts online courses and free webinars, teaching his audience the simple steps to begin their digital journey. In his latest project, see him take over a billboard in New York’s Time Square in true Augmented Reality fashion. We managed to catch up with the AR artist to learn how he got started, his process and what’s next for him.
Hi Doddz, can you please introduce yourself for those who do not know?
A: Of course, my name is Doddz. I’m a 28-year-old artist working primarily with an Augmented Reality art style.
Q: You are an augmented reality (AR) specialist renowned for your interactive fashion pieces. You have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Dior, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Drake, and Billie Eilish. How did you get started with AR, and what made you decide to focus on this immersive medium?
A: To take my art career more seriously, about five years ago, I endeavoured to make my work stand out from the many other artists and create something no one had ever done. This move was based on the feedback and rejection I’d received from many galleries when looking for representation. This led me to experiment with all different types of mediums which was a fun, free creative number of years for me where no idea was off the table.
In order to make something that no one else had done before, I thought about using tech that hadn’t been around for very long. It made sense that there wouldn’t be much AR art as it’s still very much in its infancy. As soon as I experimented with Augmented Reality, the reaction was significantly different (in a good way) than all previous attempts, so I doubled down, and here we are.
Q: How do you work with clients on a project? Do they present an idea and then produce the concept, or do you take complete creative control?
A: Typically they’ll reach out to the team with a campaign they are keen to include AR with. We’ll hear them out, understanding the broader context of the whole campaign, and if we agree that AR makes sense, we’ll put together several ideas and present them back. Once we’re agreed on the idea then, we’ll begin production.
Having worked in the marketing world for a long time, I understand being able to steer the creative direction is a privilege which I don’t take lightly. I often express a lot of gratitude that we are able to guide the client’s decisions rather than reacting to client demands as we explain how and what works best for AR. Most of the time, it’s a collaborative effort rather than being hired by a brand to build out their ideas.
Q: You have a new exciting project launching in July where you have an augmented reality billboard deployed in New York’s Times Square. Can you tell us more about this project and what we can expect to experience?
A: I think the work surrounding the start of my career will be focused around education. Teaching people what’s possible with AR through art examples. Most of my artwork also blurs the line between digital and physical; this project was no exception. I rented out a billboard at the centre of the marketing world.
Times Square after recently seeing the trend of ‘3D billboards’ from brands where they fake a 3D effect using perspective on a 2D screen. Our billboard went the extra step of allowing the character to break free from the shackles of the screen and scoop up unknowing pedestrians in a King Kong-type fashion.
Q: With the rumours floating around, augmented reality, Apple Glass, its features, and more. In your opinion, where do you see the direction of augmented reality going?
A: Every major tech company is not building a new phone model. They’re all building AR devices. So at this point, I would argue it’s difficult to suggest that the future is not centrally focused around AR; mobile devices have taken us as far as they can and staring at the screen feels unnatural, disconnecting from the surroundings. AR allows you to do everything a phone does and more, and you’re now connected back to an enhanced version of your environment.
Unbeknownst to us, there is a tech rat race for who will own the next influential device. Apple won the phone battle, but that doesn’t mean they’ll win the smart wearables (watches, glasses, contact lenses) race. At the moment, I would say Meta is winning as Oculus has the most globally accepted headset in the market.
Regardless of who wins, there still needs to be some serious development areas like lighter, longer-lasting batteries and increased internet speeds before we all wear Apple Glasses.
Q: Being a creative in the digital realm and it being your forte, will you be releasing your own NFTs or augmented projects anytime soon?
A: I’m glad you asked. I’m releasing my first NFT project shortly in collaboration with DressX, the marketplace leader in digital fashion, at the end of August. There have been questions about releasing NFTs as a digital artist, but until now, I’ve always felt that if I did release something, it would have been a money grab rather than something constructive. The more I learnt about the Web3 space, the more I felt that if I worked on an NFT project, it would need to be something I’m passionate about, and as you mentioned before, I’m often working on digital fashion as a personal project so this made sense.
The NFT release will be a small number of physical clothes I designed. You’ll have the option of purchasing the physical item individually or buying the NFT, granting access to what I’m calling the ‘digital layer’. That includes a virtual version of the clothes and Instagram effects that allow you to scan the physical item and reveal a hidden AR experience.
Q: The studio is the sacred temple of creativity. What are three things you can’t live without in your studio?
A: Unfortunately, as I’m travelling around currently, I don’t have a base where I can build out a studio, but in my old space, I owned a replica of the Micheals ‘Special Stuff water bottle from Space Jam. You know the one? I know it sounds silly, but as a kid, I loved the bit where they drink the water, think they’re invincible and play great basketball only to discover it’s water, and their own self-belief made them great.
Now I’m on the road, two important things I’ll always have with me are dog treats to keep my Frenchie Louie happy and an ironing board. I read once in a 50 Cent book about the power of appearance and even if you can’t afford the expensive stuff, making an effort and ironing your stuff (especially if you live out of a suitcase like me) makes a big impact on those you meet.
Q: What’s next for you as an augmented reality artist?
A: To continue the education of what AR can do by bringing AR into culturally relevant moments to reach more people with my artwork and hopefully put on some Immersive exhibitions later this year/early next year.