Virtual reality will change the world. It’s clear from the the first moment you strap on an Oculus Rift and quickly slip into another world. The difficulty, as with so many other new mediums, is how to convey that sense of excitement to those who don’t happen to have a VR visor within arm’s reach (yet).
Getting the platform in the hands of artists is the next best thing. They’re the ones, after all, who are capable of exploring the applications of new technologies that their designers couldn’t have possibly imagined, bringing a sense of play that often goes overlooked during all-night code-a-thons.
TIME enlisted seven artists from a wide range of visual mediums to take a crack at Google’s Tilt Brush tool using HTC’s excellent Vive VR platforms. Sculptors, designers and illustrators painted on a three-dimensional canvas, and the result is somewhere between bafflement and amazement—illustrated by a series of seven videos featuring their work.
“It reminded me of those famous pictures from Picasso where it’s a timelapse photograph and he’s using a flashlight to make a drawing,” says master book designer Chip Kidd. “It was very much like that, but it was in three dimensions.“
Sculptor Karen Caldicott’s experience was decidedly more mixed. “I thought I would have been better at this,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I had a good form with it. The lines were floating and doing their own thing, rather than me controlling them.”
Eighth grader Jade Lo, on the other hand, seemed to pick things up immediately, painting a solar system of planets and junk food and aliens abducting cats. If that doesn’t speak volumes about the future of virtual reality, I don’t know what does.