‘Can painters coexist with emerging multi-media artists’ asks Cranfield’s US Sales Manager Sarah Carnline.

Sadly I won’t get there to see it, but visitors to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Musée du Louvre in Paris this autumn will see the Mona Lisa as part of a virtual reality experience. The project is called Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass and is the museum’s first Virtual Reality work, marking the 500th anniversary of the da Vinci’s death.

Good news for us who can’t afford the ticket, the time, the train or the airfare is that the new piece will also be available as a home version on digital subscription. According to a project statement: “Visitors will have the rare chance to be immersed into the world’s most iconic painting, stepping behind the glass to access the intriguing portrait up close in an entirely new, transformative way.”

So why do I mention it here on a Cranfield Blog published on the Cranfield Colours web site, the home of beautiful paint? We are undeniably a manufacturer of very traditional and very tangible paints and printmaking inks. There is not much ‘virtual’ in our world. We make ‘real’ colours that you put on canvas and paper and get on your shirt and under your nails. Why are we intrigued by virtual art too?

As a paint maker, I applaud those who use both paint and new ideas. Those who are both ‘real’ and ‘virtually real’ in their work and who are covering some fascinating and tantalising new ground!

Ukrainian artist Alexey Kondakov brilliantly superimposes well-known figures from iconic paintings, like Bouguereau’s Song of the Angels, into the ordinary scenes of daily life, such as below, turning contemporary Kiev into a real-life classical canvas.

I snapped a picture of what I hope and presume was a Banksy original on the way to Bristol Airport by leaping from a colleague’s car in the early hours of the morning! The same idea evident all across Bristol, New York, Melbourne, you name it: real art in real places utilising what is already there so its seen by people walking by, if we care to look up.

For the French street artist Zilda, nothing is more important than taking art to people and not waiting for them to come to her. She is an advocate of connecting with one’s surroundings. “It is essential to know the social and architectural stratification of a city,” she explains. “To get familiar with its streets, its quarters, and to view that urban setting as a constraint that stimulates the staging of my ideas.”

I can’t help but feel a time is coming when art will no longer afford to be static. I read of a London gallery that has an exhibition combining paintings by the old masters with shoe fashion through the ages. It’s all creative and as paint makers its exciting and not threatening to see the possibilities expand. We will always need paint, its simply that these days we share the love with other media. There’s room for us all!