Playing with Fire and Ice — An Augmented Reality Art Installation by ON THE CHASE!

By Julian Brown RGD, Founder & Creative Director, ON THE CHASE!


This project is a milestone for me, as I refer to myself as an “artist” as opposed to a “designer” for the first time. It’s refreshing to work on something outside of usual client needs. It’s rewarding to see something come together after years of speculating about possible ideas. This project has reminded me not to wait around for the perfect opportunity. If you make something, then you can make something of it.
This project is an augmented reality art installation created in collaboration with my wife, fine artist Amy Shackleton. Our mural + AR piece is called “Playing with Fire and Ice.” It features a 50 ft wall mural painted by Amy that I photographed and brought into a digital space. It is combined with my 3D water and ice forms to create the sensation of a flooded gallery space you can walk around in. View the AR on your phone via Instagram. The exhibit was slated to open in April 2021, at the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Cobourg, ON — funded in part by the Ontario Arts Council.
The initial design challenge was to create an in-person experience at the gallery. The Spark AR platform was chosen for its integration with Facebook and Instagram which meant visitors could easily use their own phones to view it without needing to download a new app. It was also a consideration that with COVID restrictions, visitors may not be comfortable using a provided, communal device. 
“Playing with Fire and Ice” is inspired by the travels my wife and I have taken across Canada. We’ve visited every province and territory in this incredible country. We’ve observed how the effects of climate change are apparent here and not just in faraway, exotic places. Our forests are burning. Our glaciers are melting. And our waters are flooding. This artwork is meant to take these realities and put them right in front of you.
Due to lockdown in Ontario, this exhibition still hasn’t opened! But an incredible — and honestly unintended — consequence of using Spark was that it opened up our project to be viewed by anyone, anywhere. As a result, our installation was curated into Digital Art Month Paris for June 2021. The event brings AR filter art into public spaces via QR code signage. Our project is currently on view in Trocadero Pl., with a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower behind! See for more on the festival.
Amy Shackleton, Artist Collaborator


Take a virtual walk through the installation:

Watch the making of the AR Art Installation:

Julian is the designer and entrepreneur behind the motion design studio ON THE CHASE!. Just under 10 years young, OTC! has won international awards and collaborated with diverse clients ranging from retailer Shoppers Drug Mart and consulting giant Deloitte, to video game maker Ubisoft and charity WWF. A proud member of the RGD, Julian is a past VP on the RGD Board of Directors and an avid speaker and design advocate. He is a graduate of the York/Sheridan Design Degree program, a world traveller and most recently a proud and terrified father.








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