Innovative, self-taught digital artist Bonito Thompson has been playing a leading role in converging technology and culture through the use of augmented reality (AR) in Jamaica.
With digital platforms being the preferred space for new generations of consumers, Thompson, who is known in art spaces as ‘Don Dada’, is influencing the narrative that both corporate and cultural brands can utilise AR to transcend their messages across target audiences.
Fresh off his exhibition at the 9th Annual Vibes 305 Basel Art Show (December 2022) in Miami, Florida; Thompson was able to put Jamaican street culture excitingly up close to the viewers by using AR in all his art pieces.
EXPLOSION OF VISUALS
“It was an honour to represent Jamaica through one of our most exportable products – our culture- at the Vibes 305 Basel Show. That’s the same energy, artistic depth and real-world explosion of visuals that I will be bringing to Kingston at my Digital Art Showcase on December 16 and 17 at the AC Marriot Hotel,” said Thompson.
The Digital Art Experience Show, that he has dubbed ‘Mango’, is set to be the premier Digital Art Experience in Kingston that creates pathways for forward thinking brands to reach their audiences in an interactive way.
The name ‘Mango’ was chosen because all the vibrant colours of the actual fruit are included in each of the art pieces that will be presented. For two days, art lovers and brand managers will get the opportunity to be immersed in the digital illusion created by Don Dada and watch as the virtual elements become a part of their physical world via the camera of their smartphone.
With sponsors Iprint, Wray and Nephew and Victoria Mutual Building Society, the essence of Brand Jamaica will run prominently throughout the exhibition.
“Don Dada’s work is visual messaging that seamlessly fuses the digital and physical worlds to create larger than life aesthetics that brands both locally and internationally can benefit from. His artwork with the accompaniment of AR allows audiences to actively interact with the art, the brand or the person represented for a memorable experience,” said Alexia James, head of brand partnerships for Don Dada.
The use of AR has, through Thompson’s work, been seen in visuals for Damian Marley, Common and Kabaka Pyramid. He has also worked with events such as the recently staged inventive activation; Soca Plus Festival as well as corporate brands such as Audi, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, Red Stripe, Supreme Ventures and Taste Jamaica.
Patrons will be able to purchase from Thompson’s Mango Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) Collection.
NFTs, which have become quite popular in mainstream art, are one of a kind blockchain-based digital artefacts. They can be used for music, art and even for medical x-rays.
Thompson’s use of AR is activated when the viewer scans the QR Code that he has embedded into the artwork using their phone’s camera. The piece will then be launched on Instagram and the viewer can interact with the images as they seemingly come to life. His first show in 2018 was called Passion Fruit, where he explored the abstract study of the human body through art. He then staged ‘Paper Planes’ in 2021 which gave a visual language to dancehall culture in Jamaica.