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How it all began

The last four years I've been working for a fantastic charity called Art in Healthcare, which, since 1991, has been lending original, Scottish artwork to hospitals and other healthcare facilities throughout the country. Our goal is to "brighten and humanise" these often bland and clinical environments for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors.

It's been a mission of mine to find ways to help the people viewing pictures from the charity's collection to engage with and learn more about them by building those essential "stories" around each piece and, after discovering QR codes last year, I realised this new technology provided an ideal opportunity. Teaming up with Numeriq Ltd, an IT company, a website was built that could generate QR codes for each of Art in Healthcare's 1350+ artworks allowing anyone with a smartphone access to more information about the pictures on display including text, images, and videos.

It was during this project that I began to see the QR code as art in itself and by late 2011 I was experimenting with paintings that could be scanned. Although I discovered there were already some artists exploring QR codes, I wanted to make my work unique and I think I've accomplished that in the following ways:

1. Firstly, through rigorous experiment with colour, tone, design, textures and mark I've been able to "camouflage" the code to such an extent that, unlike other QR code art, a viewer wouldn't necessarily or immediately recognise it for what it really is. Although QR codes are computer generated, I was determined these artworks would be able to stand as paintings in their own right. I aimed for painterly characteristics within the pieces and I also made the somewhat ironic but conscious decision to use oils, a 500 year old artistic medium, to communicate my message.

2. Secondly, and most importantly, as QR codes are literally portals to the digital world I wanted the painting's message to be indicative of this by incorporating social media tools into the design of the website. Social media has, in a very short amount of time, infiltrated the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world and I felt it important to infuse this communicative phenomenon into the art. These webpages are social media driven and allows anyone the opportunity to engage with them and to participate. You can upload your own artwork to the gallery, you can like or comment on the essays or other people's images and you can share what's of interest to you with your friends. Social media is such a powerful tool because of its democratic and inclusive nature and for me, the QR code composition - a 21st century means of communication - dictated that the painting and the affiliated website should reflect this.

I hope you enjoy looking at the painting as well as surfing around this site, discovering new and exciting things each and every time you visit both of them.

Trevor Jones

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