As part of our ongoing interview series with innovative Spark AR creators, we recently caught up with Chris Pelk to talk about his portfolio of work, some of his passion projects and of course Spark AR.
Chris has created several effects including favorites like Revolution and Flower Power, often taking inspiration from music videos and pop culture. The Flower Power effect wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the music video to ‘Witch Doctor’ by De Staat.
In fact, if it weren’t for music videos, Chris may never have ended up as a Spark AR creator at all, or even a designer. His journey started in an unlikely place – with Run-DMC.
After seeing the video for Run-DMC’s iconic tune ‘My Adidas’ (way back in 1986), Chris decided to pursue a career in design. Something about the group’s love for Adidas — wearing, singing about and eventually being signed to promote their favorite brand — drove Chris to try and produce designs that would inspire the same level of dedication in others.
After studying to become an art director, Chris spent 12 years as a graphic designer before moving on to take jobs in marketing and advertising. With a career now spanning 20 years as an art director in the Netherlands, Chris has always been fascinated by the possibilities of augmented reality. But until recently, AR was something that only really existed in movies.
Chris vividly remembers seeing AR for the first time in Back to the Future, specifically the scene where Michael J Fox goes to the future and is terrified by a billboard that turns into a holographic shark.
This was the first time Chris noticed a visual effect that was “augmented,” even though there wasn’t an accepted name for it at the time. And it sparked a curiosity in him.
It wasn’t until 2017 that Chris finally got round to experimenting with augmented reality, using Spark AR Studio as a hobby at first. But what started as a hobby quickly turned into ideas he could sell, so he started building a team of designers and videographers to bring more of his ideas to life.
"My favourite features on it are segmentation, face tracking and particles. I’m a creative thinker, not a developer, so having intuitive tools like the Patch Editor means I can usually get the desired result with some tinkering around. More often than not, I build something I’m happy with and something I think users will love."
And Chris reckons this is just the beginning for AR – with so many potential creators out there, learning, experimenting and inspiring other users and each other.
"I definitely see it moving in more of an MR (Mixed Reality) direction. I believe one day users will just see these augmented types of effects without looking at a screen. I think it’ll be awesome – and a lot of fun!"
A big thank you to Chris for chatting with us, and for inspiring so many other creators. You can see more of his work on Instagram @ChrisPelk. And you can read about more Spark AR creators on the Spark AR blog.
Subscribe to the Spark AR Blog