Explore local artist's work
March - May 2020
An augmented reality experience bringing you closer to the work of Pittsburgh artist Laura Jean McLaughlin.
For this AR-design study, we were challenged to create a site-specific experience.
We created Schlumpy Funk Studio, a guided digital sculpting experience to celebrate Laura's practice.
Schlumpy Funk Studio pulls inspiration from her meditative studio practice and the many sites of her public artworks across Pittsburgh.
A QR code at each site of Laura’s works gives viewers access to the Schlumpy Funk Studios, where a cat named Boots will guide them to chill out, collect found objects, and bring them together into Schlumpy Funk sculptures.
I had the pleasure of being introduced to Laura via Michelle, who lived above her studio, the Claypen, at the time of the project.
The word schlumpy, which has Yiddish origins, is often referred to as unkempt and sloppy.
The term funk originated from jazz artists when referring to improvisation and freestyle interludes.
Laura started the Schlumpy Funk art movement.
In her words, it has "its origins based in the Surrealist, Dada and Funk movements. Clay artists Robert Arneson, Peter Voulkos, Beatrice Wood, and George E. Ohr were all predecessors to the Schlumpy Funk movement, contributing free flowing, expressive and often humorous ceramic forms."
The site of Laura's practice - The Claypen Studio on Penn Avenue - was crucial for the development of this project.
Each month, people from all over Pittsburgh stroll Penn Avenue between the 4800 and 5500 blocks to meet with artists and business owners. Visitors can bask in Penn Avenue's creative energy – experiencing a mix of photography, dance, painting, sculpture, music and spoken word performances.
To capture the feeling of Laura's work, we transformed her studio's facade (see above) and a set of featured sculptures into 3D models using photogrammetry.
This map guided our arrangement of the 3D models in AR and served as a prototype of the user experience.
Laura fosters over 20 cats. They are an inseparable element of the Claypen.
We decided to feature one cat, Boots, as the guide to the experience.
We created a simplified version of Laura's studio for visitors to explore.
Thank you to Laura Jean McLaughlin for your help in creating this work.