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Five world class artists came together to explore art in virtual reality in an exhibition to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Art in London.


Royal Academy of Art, Sky Arts, Google Arts & Culture, Sir Anthony Gormley, Jonathan Yeo, Yinka Shonibare, Humphrey Ocean and Farshid Moussavi


Virtual Reality, Contemporary Art, Future of Art Galleries and Exhibitions


Virtual Reality, Spatial Design Tools




To empower some of the world’s leading contemporary artists to explore their artistic process through the new tool of Virtual Reality


Painting the Future is a series of ground-breaking VR experiences and a TV documentary in partnership with world-renowned artists Sir Anthony Gormley, Jonathan Yeo, Yinka Shonibare, Humphrey Ocean and Farshid Moussavi, The Royal Academy of Arts, Sky Arts, and Google Arts and Culture.

Partnership with Royal Academy of Arts:

Painting the Future coincided with part of From Life, a special exhibition project at the Royal Academy of Arts that ran from December 2017 - March 2018, which examined what making art from life has meant to artists throughout history and how the practice is evolving as technology opens up new ways of creating and visualising artwork. For the first time, the Royal Academy worked with these artists to explore emerging technologies.


Portrait artist Jonathan Yeo was one of the 6 artists selected by the RA to create a piece of art for the exhibition and his masterpiece Homage to Paolozzi is the first self-portrait created in virtual reality then realised in bronze as a sculpture.

The artistic output:

Each artist created new artwork for the exhibition using artistic software programmes such as Google Tilt Brush. 


Factory 42 was commissioned to produce a one-off, 60-minute documentary, exploring creating art in a VR environment, for Sky Arts. With exclusive access to the artists’ studios and working environments, the film captures the creative trepidation as artists explore a new medium, and the process and progress as each artwork takes space.  

What the partners said:

“The parameters of virtual reality are as limitless as people’s imaginations,’ comments John Cassy, Chief Executive, Factory 42. “Seeing the direction which these extraordinary artists take that creative freedom will be incredibly exciting, and we’re delighted to be involved in helping them to realise that vision.”


“We’re delighted to be working with Factory 42, the Royal Academy of Arts, and several world-renowned artists. Sky Arts is all about exploring the possibilities and potential of the arts and I believe both the VR experiences and the behind-the-scenes documentary will be like nothing we’ve seen before.”

Philip Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts


Amit Sood, Director of Google Arts and Culture, says: “We are excited to collaborate with Factory 42, the Royal Academy of Arts and Jonathan Yeo Studio to capture Jonathan Yeo's creative process as he creates a new sculptural artwork using Google's Tilt Brush for this cutting edge RA exhibition, From Life.”


Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts, comments: “From Life is an experimental project that explores everything from artistic process to technological evolution and creative collaboration. I’m delighted that Factory 42 is helping to bring a landmark exhibition into being.”


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