Meet Piper ZY, the creator of the AR manicure town that has gone viral on TikTok


From the infamous and endless flow of new metaverse to the growing sector augmented reality (AR), we see the continuing deep saturation of virtual reality as part of our new normal. An artist who delves into this expanding world is the popular creator of TikTok AR Piper zy. As part of his series, 100 days of art in augmented reality, Piper ZY launched her unique creation “Day 12” that sent the platform into a frenzy: AR nails.

It’s true, move on duck nails, it looks like AR nails could be the next big thing. The Chicago-based artist and self-proclaimed futurist sat down with Screen Shot to break down her latest creation as well as all things AR in art and fashion.

Why have real false nails when you can have false nails?

The AR manicure that features a bustling little town on the nail – complete with miniature cars, skyscrapers, and even an orbiting moon – was the latest concept from an artist who is not bound by the material obstacles of the world. real. In fact, it was the limitless potential of virtual space that inspired Piper ZY to develop the ‘City Nail Project’. “I think a new form of visual luxury will be the level of detail that is possible outside of physical constraints,” she said.

She brought up the notion of metaverse in her explanation of the inspiration behind her AR manicure, citing that she imagines it as a space where there is a shifting sense of scale, easily deformable materials and an endless place for them. details. “There is so much amazing and detailed jewelry for nails, makeup jewelry, [fashion], and the hair art there, and I realized that it can also be detailed with AR and then animated, ”the artist continued.

It is the breadth of such virtual realities, for expressive and inspired creativity, that led Piper ZY to describe herself as a futurist – a person deeply fascinated and dedicated to the possibilities of the future – and fueled the creative flow behind. the AR manicure, “I have a constant feeling of an alternate realm, just slightly different from reality, and I still want to materialize it.”

“I like to create things that I have never seen before and which I imagine are based far into the future. There’s something poetic about me that distant realms we can’t [possibly] to imagine To do exist, but time is distance. My goal is to express a feeling and a moment in time, whether it’s 2021 or 2221, “she continued. This fascination with the distortion of reality became Piper ZY’s artistic calling even before its entanglement with AR.

She described her childhood interactions with creativity, including one in which she mentally produced music videos and fashion shows to the sound of her favorite songs. It was the seemingly groundbreaking, reality-pushing artists she grew up with that inspired Piper ZY to make the change herself: “I love artists who push the boundaries of reality and create a moment out of a alternate timeline. After focusing on the distortions of reality in oil painting, in 2016 I started creating AR outfits and concepts for my own small music video projects, but with traditional editing software. », She shared.

For those of us who aren’t visionaries like Piper ZY, it can be hard to imagine such overwhelming future realities – I mean, every time I see a metaverse related title, I spiral. Without speaking, I am still not 100% sure what are NFTs or how they work. So it’s no surprise that I am bewildered by the skills and technical development of AR. And if you can relate to that too, don’t worry, artist AR has explained to us the intricate process behind the physical development of the ‘City Nail Project’.

“The project uses a target tracker to place an AR element on a live image or flat surface. Usually the target image has to be a bit larger than a fingernail and totally flat to work well, ”she disclosed. To overcome this, “I had to bring out some acrylic paint to create an illusion of flatness on the target nail for it to work, and use a thumb,” continued Piper ZY. Once the tracker was running efficiently, she was then able to add the details needed for her city: including buildings, moving items, and any aspects that needed animation. “From there, the city highlight appears when the camera is pointed at the original nail. “

The RA artist’s most popular creation to date has garnered around a million views and broad bands of support on TikTok, with many calling for more nail designs and suggestions for the creator to get into the realm of. NFT. But what makes the world of AR so captivating for users? What is the secret formula for its popularity? Well, Piper ZY thinks she has the answer.

Why is the AR world so popular?

“AR broadens the type of statements we can make and helps us create a mood. It brings a cinematic, dreamlike element to it, and I think that’s why a lot of people liked this concept, ”she said. Piper ZY also noted that the balance between technology and concept is important, so as not to alienate an audience, “I love art that can do [the above] without AR, and in AR, I think the challenge is not to overuse the technology of the medium and focus on the concept, especially when it is still a medium that is not fully understood or known.

However, her anonymity could be short-lived, according to Piper ZY. For the designer, AR is absolutely the future of fashion and design, as she predicted almost six years ago. “I love sci-fi and wrote a short story in 2016 about an augmented reality future with all aspects of our appearances, communication, and advertising that can be tweaked and tweaked, seen through direct input. taking control of our mind’s visual cortex, ”she revealed. .

Ahead of the curve, it looked like simple science fiction to the creator at the time, but since then, she noted, technology has accelerated so quickly that it is quickly becoming a very phenomenon. real. Its increased use in industry is reminiscent of “the diaper[s] ethical and philosophical questions in [both] technology and fashion, ”she continued. However, for Piper ZY, there is also undoubted untapped potential for the sustainability of AR in the fashion world as well.

AR and the metaverse

Speaking of worlds, AR fashion and art will emerge as a big presence in the virtual metaverse realm – I mean, even celebrities like Rihanna and Justin bieber get official metaverse avatars. For Piper ZY, the Metaverse provides the perfect environment of uncharted terrain that will position artists at the forefront of this exciting new movement. “I think it’s a great time in art history where the ideas of artists and developers are as needed as designers and architects of metaverse,” she explained.

Despite the wonderful potential, Piper ZY reminded us that the Metaverse isn’t entirely an unlimited utopia for artists and designers. Instead, there are risks involved in protecting your work as well as the accessibility to even creating AR art. She detailed these concerns to Screen Shot: “I hope AR can stay focused on artists and creators as a resource… I think allowing artists to protect their work and build their careers will largely depend on the way the tech giants will organize that. economy.”

There are still some promising signs. Accessibility is there for those with the technology. “I did the ‘City Nails Project’ with the full cost of a program subscription, but it could have been avoided and it can be done for free with just a typical phone or computer, which I think is amazing.” , she shared. Like the endless list of new career options that have followed the rise of social media, Piper ZY predicts that the same transformation will occur with the implementation of AR and VR.

So that’s what the frightening future holds. But where does this future talent fit? What’s Piper ZY’s plan? Well, she’s got some interesting ideas up her sleeve. “I want to expand my concepts and create larger experiences, combining as many of my interests as possible,” she said.

“I think that as the creators of AR we have an incredible chance to form new, immersive and interactive forms of artistic media, in ways too abstract to name now, but which will become part of our daily lives for decades to come. to come. “

Meet Piper ZY, the creator of the AR manicure town that has gone viral on TikTok


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