Posted: February 22, 2019 -
Mussa was founded in 2016 by Ignacio Lopez and Leon Posada to create immersive experiences with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality tools and applications. Specialising in the integration of AR with street art and print media, they take inspiration from Miami and its art scene. Both experienced in technologies and design, they are targeting artists, galleries and other creatives.
Hello Leon, thank you for talking to us today.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your background and how Mussa was founded?
Nacho and I founded Mussa two years ago, bringing with us experience in the architecture, interior design, and advertising fields. We decided to start the company with the goal of offering architects and designers virtual tours of their properties and projects. Gradually, we moved away from design towards art and print media, where we found a niche for AR in the dynamic local street art scene.
What is the company’s mission?
We help artists and other creative professionals redefine their work through AR, and effectively bridge the gap between physical and digital content through mobile devices we already keep with us all the time. The experiences we create help us turn passive observers into active participants of an artwork or project, and make our clients’ work and brand literally emerge from the crowd.
You are based in Miami – how would you say the local art scene influences your projects and clients?
We work out of Little River, and our office building is surrounded by the works of local muralists and graffiti artists. Wynwood is about a 15 minute drive away, and everything there and in between is also filled with street art. As far as street art, there’s no better place to be than Miami, and the city influences everything from the way we hold meetings over a cold beer, to the look and feel of many of our projects.
Art Basel is obviously a huge event in Miami, what is this season like for you? What was your highlight from last year?
It’s hectic and full of amazing people. Our best projects have been linked to Art Basel during the past few years, and the impact art has on audiences is maximized during this week. A highlight from last year was a rooftop party right above a massive rave, with new walls and friends all around us. Out of that night we got started on a couple of new projects coming out later this year.
How have you seen Augmented Reality affect the art market and how do you think it will progress in the next 10 years?
We see a major shift in art as an inevitable consequence of AR integration, particularly in the way audiences experience and interact with an artwork. When users can engage directly with augmented art, they effectively turn from passive observers into active participants of an experience created around that artwork.
You look to help struggling local artists – in what ways do you hope to do this? How does AR as a medium lend itself to emerging artists?
It isn’t easy being an artist, especially in a world where so many prospective clients expect to get everything for free. This seems to be particularly true in the urban art scene, which despite its strong presence in cities like Miami is packed with artists struggling to make ends meet.
We work directly with local artists in augmenting their art, and offer a way for them to profit from new and existing murals that would otherwise not be making them much money.
Can you talk about your project with El Pez?
El Pez is amazing, and his work is a staple of street art around the world. We loved creating “Street Party” with him and the guys at Graffitiprints, launching what became the first ever limited-edition AR print in the market.
The project was not without its challenges, but we made it happen and are proud of the result, and of how well it sold. I believe there are still a few prints at San Paul Gallery in Wynwood, but I’m not sure if those are for sale anymore.
Could you talk about your project AR Mural live at R House?
We worked directly with White Porch Gallery in activating their existing Kobra mural for the annual Art for Equality Gala. Our goal was to create an opportunity for visitors to experience and AR mural while highlighting the importance of the event. This was one of our first projects to include social media sharing options, and allowed the gallery to maximize the impact of the event through their own social media channels. The project had a great reception, and we left it active for the remainder of Art Based and early last year. If you visit today, you can still see the AR content on the Dali face at the gallery’s entrance.
How is Mussa different from other companies that are using technologies such as AR, VR and MR to create works?
There are AR, VR, and MR companies all over the place, but most have a technical as opposed to a creative backbone. This means there are tons of AR apps, but most of them are gimmicky and short-lived since they fail to capture an audience’s imagination.
When working with art, we’ve found that an artist has already created an engaging and evocative piece, and we always aim for AR to highlight the unique message of each artwork. There’s a big difference between doing this and simply making a painting move when viewed through a smartphone.
Can you tell us about any future collaborations or events Mussa will be a part of in 2019?
We like to keep our current projects under wraps, but we can tell you there’s a super limited new AR print coming out in the coming months. There’s also an exciting new project with a group of local artists that will take place around midyear, and a projected launch for a series of new prints during Basel.