Every picture tells a story: exhibition by world’s first augmented reality artist opens in Manchester


A collection of poignant paintings are on display at Manchester Central Library from today to mark the anniversary of the end of World War One.

The Danger Tree exhibition tells the story of the soldiers who fought and fell between 1914 and 1918.

But these are no ordinary paintings. And Scarlett Raven is no ordinary artist.

Her collaboration with Marc Marot has enabled her to become the world’s first augmented reality fine artist.

Scarlett creates the paintings while Marc handles the digital side.

It takes tens of thousands of images, overlaid and layered, to produce an augmented reality painting. By standing in front of the paintings and using a smartphone, the layers of paint are stripped away to reveal the deeply personal process beneath every piece through poetry, animation and music.


The Danger Tree was created by Scarlett and Marc as a tribute to the Newfoundland Regiment which, under orders from British Command, used a tree halfway into No Man’s Land to assemble.

The German artillery caught on, leading to many casualties, and the tree later became known as The Danger Tree.

One piece in the collection, entitled The Bloodsuckers, focuses on Captain Charlie May, who was a journalist with the Manchester Evening News before going to battle.

Scarlett and Marc were given access to his diaries in a local museum in Ashton-under-Lyne in order to bring the painting to life.

They came across a passage written as a letter to his wife and daughter at home, which read: “The thought of not seeing you or our darling baby again turns my bowels to water.”

Charlie died on 1st July 1916 on the disastrous opening of the Battle of the Somme, just two weeks after writing the diary entry.

The Danger Tree runs until Saturday 31st March. A selection of pieces will be available to view at Castle Fine Art on King Street.

To unlock the multiple layers in Scarlett’s work, simply download the free Blippar app through the iOS app store or the Google Play store for Android and point the device at the artwork to unlock.


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