Jeremy Sutton is not your typical painter.
His study in 1890 breaks Bryant St. with paintings and prints: musicians frozen in mid-performance, sweeping landscapes and funky portraits of Einstein spray-painted in glossy color all compete for space. But take these creations at face value, and you will miss out on much of what makes them unique – because many hide a secret, different life.
Point a smartphone camera at one of them (after installing a free app called Artivive) and it suddenly bursts in motion on the screen. Each brushstroke Sutton made by painting them is replayed so the viewer can see the piece created from scratch.
“You’re going to see some magic,” Sutton laughed as he prepared his phone to see the paintings in motion. This sorcery is possible because he is a digital living painter, an unusual form of entertainment that he has practiced for more than 20 years.
Sutton is often contracted to perform at corporate events or concerts, where his iPad paintings are projected on huge screens that attendees can enjoy once they are created. Recently, he has been experimenting with recording the shows and then triggering them as augmented reality videos.
Originally from England, Sutton studied physics at Oxford University before moving to the United States in 1988. He discovered digital painting in the early 1990s after a chance encounter at a party, and realized it was the perfect way to combine. his interest in science and technology with his artistic side.
A couple of lucky breaks (read: painting Richard Branson on board his private jet) and very hard work later, Sutton managed to establish himself as an artist / entertainer.
Sutton does not fit the stereotype of the isolated artist living in his tower. Good living painters, he said, need to be outgoing and quick problem solvers.
“You have to be able to create in the moment with an audience and love it,” he said. And even after 20 years, he added, he still does.