Fat Red Bird

Changing your views on the paintings that changed the world

(Hi)Story of a Painting is an animated VR and 360 series aimed at engaging young adult audiences with art by creating conversational experiences focused on the human stories behind some of the world’s most famed art.

The series comprises 15-minute episodes, each one reflecting the visual style of the painting the episode focuses on. It weaves intimate interactive narratives about the people behind the works of art that have nestled their way into pop culture. Each episode focuses on a single artist, their most renowned work of art, and their unlikely journeys to success.

(Hi)story of a Painting mixes a familiar and intimate narrative tone led by contemporary creative influencers with a methodical understanding of the painting’s context, meaning and significance through time. Each episode uncovers themes from the artist’s context and practice that resonate with contemporary life. To that end, the series aims to contribute to the democratisation of art by engaging with and empowering viewers to better understand the art that influenced our world. (Hi)Story of a Painting wants to inspire young and new audiences through the stories of featured artists’ struggles and successes.

The overall series narrative arc will follow an artist’s bumpy road to success. The first episode illustrates this with a journey into the making of Georges Seurat’s La Grande Jatte and how Georges went from underdog to world-renowned artist. (Hi)story of a Painting will show that an artist can come from anywhere, and though everyone’s path is unique, that chosen artists are linked by their journey against the odds to becoming icons.

Intended audience

(Hi)story of a Painting primarily targets new young adult audiences, specifically Gen-C (the Creative Generation), as well as existing art gallery/cultural space visitors.

Diversity is embedded in the project’s DNA, giving this series the potential to speak to a large and varied audience: the selection of artists and artworks will appeal to both existing cultural space visitors and Gen-C viewers. To reflect this, featured artists will come from different cultures, backgrounds and eras, and episode narrators will be creative influencers who resonate with Gen-C. For example, the first episode is narrated by British rapper, Speech Debelle.

The overall tone of the series is conversational and the concept is easily translatable into any language, making it adaptable for international audiences.

Creators’ statement

We both grew up with an appreciation and love for art and art history and have experienced how this subject is often seen as highbrow and daunting – there’s clearly some work to be done to dispel this notion!

So we started talking about how we could contribute to democratising art, and that’s how (Hi)story of a Painting was born. We did our research and concluded that there was a (Hi)story of a Painting shaped hole in the VR market, which we aim to fill with this series. We’re excited to grow the series and form partnerships with museums and cultural spaces.

Technical Summary

(Hi)story of a Painting is built for the Oculus Quest – a 6DoF untethered headset is required. This 360 video version will also be available online.

Project Team Details

  • Gaëlle Mourre – Co-Creative Lead and Producer, Fat Red Bird
  • Quentin Darras – Co-Creative Lead and Technical Lead, Monkeyframe
  • Charlotte Mikkelborg – Producer
  • Jasmin Kent Rodgman – Composer
  • Speech Debelle – 1st episode Narrator
  • Dominique Darras – Art History Consultant
  • Jed Ashforth – UX Designer

Team profile

“(…) arguably one of the most immersive and impressive experiences you can see in a headset today.”

The team behind (Hi)story of a Painting is focused on bringing to audiences a new and fun way of looking at and understanding art, artists, and art history. Their aim is to engage with new and young audiences, make art more engaging and accessible, and to share the powerful statements artists have made through time that echo with today.

Past immersive work

  • 2020 – (Hi)Story of a Painting episode 1
  • 2019 – Mechanical Souls
  • 2019 – Honda VR commercial
  • 2017 – Octonauts