Artist creates a visual world of art

Beau Kelderhouse, Staff Writer

Elizabeth Weddle
Mastering just one artistic medium can take a lifetime, but some artists like to go the extra mile and incorporate other media into their repertoires.
Nathan Dipietro, a Seattle-based artist, is visiting his alma mater to showcase his solo exhibit, “The Space Between Two Points,” in CWU’s Sarah Spurgeon Gallery until Feb. 5.
Dipietro graduated from CWU in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Painting and Drawing.
His exhibit displays the natural beauty of landscape. Dipietro will also be introducing his newer pieces that incorporate virtual reality, making them more hands-on.
Heather Johnson, the gallery manager, explained Dipietro’s landscape paintings and how they correlate with his other works.
“The [beautifully] rendered trees and the filtered light from an artificial [source] in Dipietro’s paintings are illusions; they don’t exist in real life,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, another complex illusion is created when a visitor of the gallery enters a quiet space, puts on the virtual reality goggles and explores the cityscape that Dipietro created using the latest technology.
Dipietro started six months ago by teaching himself egg tempera and the different mediums that accompany it. Egg tempera is a primitive type of painting as well as  a basic paint that artists have used since the Cretaceous period.
By combining the two mediums—egg tempera and virtual reality—Dipietro provides the idea of an escape to visitors. Visitors are able to see the art, but also are able to go through a virtual world of buildings, skyscrapers and changing landscapes.
Although the  virtual reality part of the exhibition was a collaborative effort, Dipietro built 90 percent of it himself with the assistance of a friend who has 10 years of experience in Microsoft technology.
“He did the coding,” Dipietro said. However, “both of us are learning.”
Dipietro’s egg tempera can also be found within the realm of virtual reality.
Although the docent—subject in the realm of virtual reality—feels as though they’re moving, they’re left stationary in a small, quiet room.
According to Dipietro, that it is an experience people may not have had before
“This isn’t exactly gaming; it’s leveraging the tracking in the headset measuring your head,  [also known as] ‘game-ifying stillness,’” Dipietro said.
During the simulation, docents will hear a “ding”, which will indicate different stages of the day. The trip will begin at sunrise and ending at dusk..
For Dipietro, “The Space Between Two Points” is just the first installment of a series of exhibits.
“We have the skeleton done of it, it’s just adding more content,” Dipietro said.
Not only will there be more pieces, but the pieces themselves may change in the future. Dipietro plans for the virtual part of the exhibit to be longer,  around 30 minutes or more.
Teaching assistant and fine arts graduate Jacqueline Trujillo attended the opening of the exhibit to enjoy both art and virtual reality.
“It’s a different take on how to do 3D dimensional stuff; combining traditional painting with something digital,” Trujillo said.