The Evolution of Art

Creation is a central component of human existence, as proven by our history. The first instance of human creation in visual art form is thought to be a 500,000 year old fossilized mussel shell engraved with an abstract zig zag by our Homo Erectus ancestors. A few thousands years to the future, and our species was using pigments from rocks and clay to immortalize our stories in caves.

 Visual art has been a crucial form of communication since the dawn of our species, consequently accompanying us throughout our evolutionary journey, evolving and advancing alongside us. As we venture into the digital age, it is no surprise that the art we create and consume has taken a technological turn — utilizing the same technologies that is pushing humanity into the future. 

The immersive virtual reality artwork of Russian-French artist Anna Zhilyaeva is a prime example of how far visual art has come. Zhilyaeva utilizes VR technology to push the painting medium past its limits. Her creations are much more than paintings after all…They are complete visual experiences, painted sculptures that immerse the viewer not only into the subject matter and message of the artwork, but also the process of getting there. 

Volumism: Defying Laws of Art and Physics

I wanted to build a bridge between two realities. My idea was to create painting-sculptures. Now it seems evident, but it was challenging at the beginning to create the illusion of a classical painting, like a multitude of paintings from different angles brought together. I called it ‘Volumism’.

Inspired by her extensive background in classical fine art and new exposures to virtual reality technology, Zhilayeava sought to build a bridge between the two disciplines, essentially creating her own style in the process: “Volumism” is a new form of painting, pioneered by Zhilayeava, which uses VR technology to utilize volume and space to create 3D sculpted paintings which go far beyond the physical limitations of classic 2D painting. Despite it’s technological origins, Zhilayeava’s volumism is still heavily influenced by classical technique — 

Four years ago, when I started to experiment with virtual reality, I noticed that a certain amount of strokes could give the aspect of oil painting. 

The painted sculptures created by Zhilyaeva intentionally blend characteristics of classical fine art techniques such as oil painting with the capabilities presented by VR. This technique allows Zhilyaeva to take her story telling to the next level, literally bringing viewers into the artwork. Unlike conventional visual art mediums, with VR volumism the creation process weighs as heavily as the finished product, if not even more so. 

I try to involve the spectators in my work: I become a part of my painting; my painting becomes a part of the performance. I often bring together my passion for dance, painting and storytelling.

Watching an artist like Zhilyaeva create colorful new worlds out of thin air is beyond fascinating. Her revolutionary artworks and performances have been praised and enjoyed by thousands around the world.

Exploring Art from All Angles

Zhilyaeva’s journey within the arts began early and has been extremely multi-faceted: At only 14 years old, she left her home to enroll in fine arts college in Orenburg, Russia. Five years later, she graduated as the youngest student in the school and quickly went on to continue her arts education in Moscow, where she focused on sculpture and painting restoration. From an early age, Zhilyaeva understood the importance of versatility within the arts, resulting in an exploration and experience in various including (but not limited to) film-making, architecture, illustration, game graphics, design and much more. 

I’ve never dreamt of becoming a Leonardo da Vinci, or any other famous artist. It was just enough to discover and be myself. To be able to focus on an objective and to go forward without fear. I invented my job, my life, my dream, and made it come true. There are ups and downs, but I carry on.

Zhilyaeva has always been passionate and interested in technology, and the possibility for its intersection with visual art. The development of virtual reality technology posed another opportunity for artist expansion for Zhilyaeva. Upon learning of a VR application that was developed specifically for painting, Zhilyaeva fully invested herself into exploring this new, essentially untouched, medium… and the rest was history. It did not take long for Zhilyaeva’s unique approach to painting to gain the attention of institutions around the world. Her painting performances have taken her across continents and seas, Germany, Turkey, India, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Dubai, Taiwan, Singapore. Her first live performance in virtual reality was for the VR Awards in London in 2017, where she used a Google tilt brush to paint her visual rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in sync with a live orchestra. 

I have an immense curiosity, a spirit of a pioneer that loves to discover. This makes me who I am.

Zhilyaeva has a lengthy list of performances and accomplishments, with some notables being a solo 3D live interpretation of “Liberty Leading the People” (Eugène Delacroix) at the famed Louvre Museum in Paris (2018) and the opening show for the Worldskills Competition in Russia (2019) where she gave a VR painting performance for an audience of over 45,000. Zhilyaeva has also worked with a number of illustrious global brands like Prada, HTC, Vive, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, on ground breaking VR art projects. A few months ago, she pushed her practice even further by debuting her first rare digital artwork which sold for 41 ETH (~$24,593 at the time).

Emptiness: Zhilyaeva’s MakersPlace Debut

Emptiness is when people are being seen as dolls, which you can take from a shelf, play with, use and then throw away.

Zhilyaeva has released a new series, Emptiness, containing three never-before-seen VR painting performances, immortalized by the blockchain (via MakersPlace). These artworks explore themes of human commodification, be it by a loved one, company, or society, through the portrayal of a number of dolls — The melancholic feeling of objectification is blended with an undeniable sense of awe and vitality. The artworks embody Zhilyaeva’s pioneering style: Part performance, part painted sculpture, and fully immersive and breath-taking. 

Still Life with Condoms

I find it very appropriate to give this work an old-fashioned name. Condoms are used just once and then thrown away. They’re used for protection, from diseases and undesirable pregnancy.

We don’t name the dolls. We don’t care much about their feelings, don’t ask their opinion, don’t care about hurting them. They are not important. There’s no place for them, even when they are in the middle of the picture and take all our attention. Dolls represent any human being that is being used as simple tool.

Static Preview Only

Editions: One
Pricing: Accepting Offers Only

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*Timed auction will begin once reserve price is met


She doesn’t speak, doesn’t think, doesn’t complain.
Never gets old. Always nice and polite.

Static Preview Only

Editions: 5
Pricing: 1 ETH (~$1,000)

*Final edition will be auctioned
*Prices may vary depending on the ETH/USD value at the time of the drop

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You can choose her character, behavior and appearance.
Can be adjusted for everyday needs.

Static Preview Only

Editions: 10
Pricing: 0.5 ETH (~$500)

*Final edition will be auctioned

View Full Artwork >>

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