- Meet the Snapchat lens creators who teamed up with GSN’s Digital Pride and AMV BBDO to create virtual festival floats.
Pride shouldn’t just be one day of the year but an event whose spirit lives on.
And while the struggle to make that happen in the real world continues – we can at least bring that idea live now in augmented reality (AR).
This year, GSN’s Digital Pride has worked with creative agency AMV BBDO to find new ways to make Pride happen as coronavirus prevented in real life events.
Together we collaborated with Snapchat and its Official Lens Creator community to create these AR festival floats.
The virtual Digital Pride Floats bring the fun of Pride into your lounge, kitchen, back garden or onto the streets.
Each AR float has two parts. Snapchatters can place individual Pride floats into anything they are looking at. And if they turn their phone around to take a selfie, they can transform their face with a Pride makeover.
Here we meet the creators who made that project happen and find out what inspired them.
Meanwhile you can find the floats by searching ‘DigitalPride Float’ on Snapchat. Or you can open directly via the float snapcodes within the platform or in the image below.
Ant is one of the masterminds of the project at AMV BBDO.
In his day job, he’s led digital campaigns for clients from Samsung to M&M’s to Asda. His innovative digital creations have ranged from Twitter pranks to social media hacks.
Back at the very start of lockdown, Ant and his creative partner Claire Gordon-Webster realized many Pride celebrations wouldn’t be able to go ahead.
So they worked with GSN to create Sticking with Pride – a range of 180+ Giphy stickers allowing people to express their pride digitally.
They then engaged with a number of Snapchat’s Official Lens Creators to create the virtual Digital Pride Floats.
Ant taught himself to code via Snapchat’s Lens Studio. Then he built his addition to the Digital Pride Festival Float collection, a cheeky rainbow called ‘Bow’.
As a proud gay man, the project is important to Ant:
‘Pride is my happy time, it’s when we all as LGBT+ come together to celebrate our community and its culture.
‘COVID has left a big hole in my heart this year. I miss my community and the LGBT+ spirit – a feeling I think a lot of us our experiencing.’
However, he embraces the way the LGBT+ community have risen to the challenge:
‘We’ve found new digital ways to express ourselves. From virtual drag shows to sing along at home brunches, the LGBT+ community has truly embraced the digital world.
‘So it’s great to create a digital float that anyone can open anywhere and “feel the love” and be included. Our set of floats combine the old with new, immersing you in the Pride experience wherever you are.’
Clara is an experienced animator and 3D/AR artist. Snapchat handpicked her to be one of their first Official Lens Creators.
She is a multifaceted creative, having worked as a young curator for world-famous art gallery Tate Modern and Britain’s official youth collective. She also founded Art Discovered in 2016 – with a community of over 180,000 fans.
Clara describes her style as an AR artist as fantastical, surreal and transhuman. She takes inspiration from character art and the cross-over of fashion and digital avatars.
Indeed, she explores this fantastical character element in her bright, playful ‘Pride Parrot’ lens for the Digital Pride Festival Floats collection.
‘Macaws are the most colorful birds in the world, making them a perfect fit for pride.
‘Birds, in a wider sense, also suggest freedom, which I think is another great fit for Pride and the celebration of authenticity! The face side of the lens is a feathered eyelash look which accompanies the parrot’s colors and is definitely inspired by drag.’
Moreover, Clara can enjoy being part of Digital Pride – the annual online celebration – while she can’t make it to physical events:
‘I love Pride. When I used to live in London I went every year with friends.
‘Now I am based in a remote area and haven’t been for years. It’s one of the times of year I miss the most!
‘It can be lonely wanting to join in on these celebrations but being too far removed from it. Participating digitally is still an amazing way to share your love, be involved and feel part of your community and bring about joy and happiness.’
Joshua is an experimental and dynamic visual artist using 3D computer graphics.
Under the identity of 550am, his work explores nostalgia, ego, identity, and his evolving worldview.
He describes his style as “‘vibrant and surreal with equal amounts of nostalgia and futurism’.
As one of Snapchat’s Official Lens Creators he has worked with Republic Records artists Nicki Minaj and Post Malone.
For his contribution to the Digital Pride Festival Float collection, Joshua brought his alter ego ‘Neptune’ to life.
He explains: ‘Her style is influenced by Y2K era Japanese gyaru fashion. The float is inspired by my own work as an artist and offers a look into a future pride, surreal and colorful.
‘The PRIDE word form Neptune is standing on reinterprets rainbow imagery as a prism refracting light.
‘AR is the perfect way to celebrate the colorful and lively nature of pride all within our homes as we distance from each other.’
Meanwhile Joshua’s involvement in the Digital Pride Festival Floats inspired him to create a new artwork exploring a future Pride. It ‘takes place in a glossy and vibrant plane of existence’.
He adds: ‘This is where my character and alter ego Neptune comes from – a facet of my personality turned into a character within my work.
‘I think exploring and creating these hyper real glossy scenes and working with Neptune have helped me feel more like myself.’
Tom Martin-Davies, Objectspace
Tom has an extensive background in 3D animation. He is the founder and CEO of Objectspace, a team of developers and artists who create amazing AR experiences for social platforms.
Indeed Tom has already explored AR activations within Pride celebrations.
In 2019, Snapchat approached Objectspace to create a lens for London Pride. Using impressive landmarker technology Objectspace were able to augment Buckingham Palace, placing both the Union Jack and Pride Flag on the building with playful Pride messaging.
He says: ‘The Pride parade is such a great celebration. It’s a shame that the pandemic meant people aren’t able to celebrate as they normally would.
‘I loved the idea of using a Snapchat lens to put a Digital Pride float into the world, and encourage people to have fun and interact with the parade.’
For his float he created a dancing gingerbread man. He hopes that his character would inspire the user to break into dance too:
‘I had recently been really enjoying a dancing gingerbread GIF, as you do, and thought it would make the perfect character to don the Digital Pride glasses and see dancing in the street!
‘Hopefully it will encourage people to get in front of the camera, join in and have a bit of fun.’
As an LGBT+ ally, Tom was delighted to be involved in the Digital Pride Festival Float campaign. He says:
‘It means a lot to be able to show my support as an ally through my lenses and the Snap platform. Snap allows me to reach such a diverse group of users and hopefully provide some fun entertainment.’
You can find out more about Objectspace and Tom here.