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Why this artist taught herself how to build augmented reality creations

Why this artist taught herself how to build augmented reality creations
From Mashable - January 28, 2018

Cyrene Quiamco loves Snapchat. It's easy to tell by the Ghostface Chillah plush in her bedroom, the pair of Spectacles in her bag, and the fact that her current Twitter profile picture is a Snapcode.

There's good reason for her to love it. The app, which was once popularized for sexting and passing notes in class, helped her quit a full-time job at Verizon a few years back to focus on her other passions. As of this week, Quiamco's the first winner of a Snapchat Lens Studio Challenge, where anyone can compete for glory and some tech prizes from Snap Inc.

When asked to describe herself, Quiamcoalso known as "CyreneQ"does not mention Snapchat at first.

"Long story short, Im an artist," the 28-year-old from Little Rock, Arkansas told Mashable. "Basically I am just an artist using every type of medium there is to show the world my art."

But since 2014, Snapchat has been one of Quiamco's top mediums for expression along with being a driver for building a community of fans. Four years later, while Snap is struggling on the stock market and losing interest from those who have gone to Instagram Stories, Quiamco has doubled down on Snapchat. Meanwhile, Snap is in the midst of a charm offensive for influencers after years of keeping them at bay.

"What keeps me into Snapchat is the ongoing different features," Quiamco said, referencing the app's growth from photos to videos to Spectacles to augmented reality. "I have grown up with Snapchat. My art has grown up."

The first stroke

Quiamco discovered Snapchat the way many people do: word of mouth. A friend had told her about the app, and while others used it for one-to-one messaging, Quiamco was immediately drawn to the pen tool.

She was not the only one. People like Shaun McBride, Chris Carmichael, and Jerome Jarre had already gotten the attention of millions of Snapchat users and of brands who were now paying them to make videos and to doodle.

One of Quiamco's first series was drawing celebrities next to her own selfies. She said she would message a friend over Snapchat, "Hey, I just took a selfie with [insert celebrity]," and then send over a doodle.

"They would open the snap, and say, 'Yeah, that's funny,'" she recalled.

In February 2014, Mashable featured one of Quiamco's snaps in our Valentine's Day doodling challenge, which she credited to helping her boost her followers to tens of thousands. She currently has more than 100,000.

Now her Snapchat is not just about jokes with her friends. Quiamco takes advantage of the community she built and asks them to help her decide what to paint or draw.

"My art is mostly mix with pop culture and also a lot of interactive art. Even when I paint, I ask what the audience is feeling with suggestions on what I paint next," she said.

Going 3D

While Quiamco loves drawing and has gotten paid thousands of dollars per snap to do so, she is not done challenging herself with what Snap offers her and other creators.

In December, Snap announced Lens Studio, its free tool to create augmented reality lenses specifically for Snapchat, and Quiamco decided to download it. Why?

Snap's charm offensive

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