Excellence: College of Arts and Cultural Studies Professor Featured In Google App

opp drawingWhen one thinks of an art student, the general image one conjures is of paint-spattered clothes and charcoal-stained fingertips, not virtual reality rigs or 3D landscapes that exist only in digital ether.

But if one wants to construct a complete portrait of an ORU art student, one would need to combine the two: both traditional media and cutting-edge digital media.

"It causes you to think about normal drawing in a different way," says Nathan Opp, Professor of Art at ORU. "Anytime you have a new tool, you become highly aware of what it can't do and what the other things can do."

Opp has been increasing his awareness of virtual artistry through several apps, most notably a Google-authored program called Tilt Brush. Opp has been teaching with Tilt Brush to his Advanced Drawing students, and spending some of his spare time honing his skills and making creations in Tilt Brush.

Those creations eventually caught the eyes of several people at Google, who then boosted them by featuring them on the app's startup menu and their social media feed.

"I've been having [education] conversations with people at Google for two years now, and that relationship helped get me on the home page," says Opp. "When someone at Google says, 'Hey check out Nathan Opp's drawing,' it pulls things out of the melee and makes it easier to find."

By using technology to broaden his artistic and educational palette, Opp is preparing himself and his students for a wider range of options in the future.

"This technology is becoming more common among universities," he says. "And there's a global community of artists using it. Lots of graphic designers and concept artists working for gaming companies use this kind of stuff."

There are now more ways to be artistically creative than ever, and ORU is taking full advantage of them.

Suddenly, everything has changed.

[Note: This article is featured in our Fall 2018 issue of Excellence magazine. To read the complete issue online, go here.]