You walk through the alley of your favourite restaurant and an artwork catches your eyes. Your beloved Studio Ghibli character 'Totoro' is inside a 20 by 20 inch frame.
You notice that the artwork has a QR code. So naturally, curiosity makes you immediately scan the code.
You look at the screen and what you see shocks you. You discover that the artwork is moving and your favourite character is in motion.
The narration so far is not fiction. This is what digital artworks are like in the era of augmented reality.
Crazy Creative, a Dhaka-based creative digital artwork platform, sells unconventional pieces of interactive artwork.
The plain, traditionally drawn artworks are animated using augmented reality, and these are coded. So, when scanned with smartphones, the subject of the painting moves and it seems as if life was breathed into the still picture.
In February, Crazy Creative successfully organised its first-ever exhibition titled 'Art That Moves' at 138 East, a popular high-street eatery in the capital.
The response this event got was exceptionally good. The art pieces were sold out almost immediately.
Eight unique artworks were displayed in the exhibition and there were only five copies of each. Altogether 40 pieces of art were sold in the exhibition.
Crazy Creative aims to only curate limited edition artworks. There will always be only five copies of a piece and the buyer will get a certificate of purchase.
The making of the artworks
The artworks are a combination of illustrations and technology. The craft begins with a digital painting or illustration.
Once the illustration is done, it is then animated using the traditional frame by frame animation method.
Finally, the code for the augmented reality filter is generated to activate the animation and voila! The artwork is ready to muse your eyes.
Breathing life into the artworks
There are two ways to see the animation. For both the methods, the user has to have an Instagram account.
For the first method, a QR code will be provided with the artwork that has the animation filters for that particular artwork. When scanned with the filter, the artwork will move.
For the second method, the user has to visit the Instagram account of Crazy Creative, where there is a particular tab for filters. The user has to search for the designated filter by title and once scanned, the artwork will be animated.
Crazy Creative is the brainchild of Tahmid Islam, a graduate of Scholastica.
The designer behind the agency
Tahmid works as an art director in an advertising agency called X, where he helps create commercial designs.
He found himself going against the convention since he was a teenager. A desire to do something exceptional eventually led him to be a self-taught motion and graphic designer.
In fact, Tahmid never attended university. He did not want to limit his learning process within the barriers of an institution. Instead, he taught himself everything that drew his attention.
"Every and any form of art resonates with my passion. Art is the root of my existence and because I like dismantling forms to their fundamentals, I find the concept of technology euphoric," Tahmid told the correspondent.
Tahmid is a gifted creative person and to him, art is the freedom of expression. He has been associated with art since he learned to hold a pencil. As a child, he used to dood on the backpages of the exam script to try to visualise the questions.
With an aim to make interactive artforms, Crazy Creative started with a 30-day-long art challenge that snowballed into the platform it is today.
The name was inspired by Daft Punk's take on their worst review and how they used it as the band's name.
"Indifferent, different and then outcast. This is how 'Crazy Creative' became my nickname. And eventually, it became my label," recalled Tahmid.
Crazy Creative is a one-man army platform where Tahmid takes care of everything single handedly.
One of Tahmid's close cohorts, Fardin Islam - a senior year Computer Science and Engineering student at North South University - looks after the art curation and corporate aspects. According to Tahmid, he keeps Tahmid's creative juices flowing.
As a part of Crazy Creative's future plans, Tahmid wants to embrace any organic opportunity that comes his way.
"The exhibition wasn't intended. I didn't make all the artworks to be sold. The path formed by itself. I just followed the art,and it flowed where it was meant to," Tahmid said happily.
Tahmid believes in word-of-mouth when it comes to business promotion.
"I have a niche crowd and people are constantly interacting with my work on social media. They are probably also collaborating with different artists as well," he said.
The process to create the artworks is an extensive process that starts with an illustration which takes nine to 15 hours to be completed, depending on the work's sophistication.
The animation part takes about seven to eight hours and an additional five to six hours is needed for coding. In total, with other detailed work included, it takes about a week to create one art piece.
A typical artwork is sold between Tk5,000 to Tk8,000. The customised pieces cost more.
Tahmid's lived experiences account for his core inspirations. From people to places, to the colours and the unique patterns in his works, everything is constantly catalogued in his brain - forming compositions within itself.
To Tahmid, Crazy Creative is an outlet for experiment. It's a laboratory for the inner mad designer like him, without any briefs or guidelines. It is a playground and unchartered territory where he works without boundaries.
However, there is always a debate about the authenticity of digital artworks because digital art resurrects classical arts in some cases. In other cases, digital artforms are inspired by classical arts.
Last month, two doctoral students, Anthony Bourached and George Cann, from the University College London, were berated for recreating one of Pablo Picasso's most famous works - the nude portrait of a crouching woman.
Anthony and Cann skilfully brought the painting to life using an artificial intelligence software that was trained to paint like Picasso himself. But critics did not accept it saying that it violates the authenticity of the original piece.
Tahmid was asked about this issue, and his answer was clear and promising.
Tahmid said, "Well, the debate between classical versus digital art will always exist but technology is the present and future. I solely believe that if iconic artists such as Salvador Dali, Michelangelo and Da Vinci were born in this era, they would be using the technology we have to the fullest extent and would be pushing boundaries with it."