How National Geographic Made Picasso Instagram-Friendly
For the new season of its Genius series, the network created a high-tech studio inspired by the famous artist.
To promote the second season of its anthology series Genius: Picasso, National Geographic created an immersive experience inspired by the famous abstract artist. The 10-episode series, which stars Antonio Banderas and Alex Rich in the joint role of Pablo Picasso, premiered April 24 and explores the life of Picasso.
“The goal wasn’t to show his work,” said Dennis Camlek, executive vice president of strategy and consumer marketing at National Geographic, about the activation. “Ultimately we wanted to do a space that allowed you to channel your inner Pablo and allow you to create something on your own that is inspired by his work and his periods.”
Located inside a raw space in the New York's Soho neighborhood, the arty activation featured larger-than-life interactive installations specifically designed to inspire photos and selfies.
“What was really inspiring from the team at Nat Geo was giving us—no pun intended—a relatively blank canvas that was to be inspired by the work and story of Picasso and bringing that to life in a modern, fun way,” explained Jon Doran, managing director and executive producer of RadicalMedia, the New York-based multi-disciplinary studio tasked with creating the activation.
Inside, visitors were able to design their own work of art on interactive digital easels and become part of the painting thanks to several oversize vignettes that were inspired by Picasso’s artistic periods.
While designing the space, Doran said that he and his team asked themselves, “How do we reimagine the idea of selfie moments in a fun, playful way where people are learning the story and having a part in the story?” In addition to the Instagrammable ops, a “collective community mural” was featured at the entrance to the space; it included frames within a digital collage that pulled in art from the digital easels, so the giant mural was constantly evolving over the course of the activation, which was open to the public from April 19 to 22.
Plus, the personal masterpieces were also piped into outdoor advertising spots found around New York, such as bus stops, which were continuously updated with new artwork.
National Geographic recently revealed that author Mary Shelley will be the subject of the series’ third season. No word yet if Frankenstein will be brought back to life to promote it.
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