Artwork for podcast Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson
I didn’t just have one thing . . . with Lafiya Watson Ramirez
Episode 1328th November 2022 • Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson • Maremel Institute
00:00:00 00:38:20

Share Episode

Shownotes

From photography to musician websites to Flash to now AR, Lafiya Watson Ramirez combines visual and experience creation with storytelling.  She tells her own story about how she moved from photography to web and interactive design into being inspired by Pokemon Go to pursue Augmented Reality (AR) through Snap Studios and a residency there.  She shares some of her projects and her ideas for future projects.

Guest: Multidisciplinary artist Lafiya Watson Ramirez

Lafiya Watson Ramirez is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in AR development, web development, graphic design, and photography. Her strength lies in combining her array of skills to produce unique digital content.    Over the years, Lafiya has created websites for musicians, artists, and non-profit organizations. Her photographs of musicians have been featured on billboards, various publications, and television programs including on BET and PBS NewsHour. For eight years, Lafiya worked as the Coordinator of Electronic Media at Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts.    She returned to freelancing in 2019 to pursue her latest passion, Augmented Reality. She was part of an artist residency program at Snapchat in 2020 and has since become a verified Snapchat developer. Lafiya has been a part of a few hackathons including MIT Reality Hack, 5th Wall Forum, and the Musical Theatre Factory XR Garage experience. She has also developed AR filters for clients, most notably for The Museum of the City of New York. Most recently, she worked on a proof of concept with artist and choreographer Koryn Wicks for a location based AR walk through LA’s Cobb Estate. Lafiya’s main focus is on creating engaging and interactive storytelling games and experiences, especially for use with wearable devices.

Mentioned Links:

 

Transcripts

Gigi Johnson:

Our guest on Creative Innovators this week is Lafiya Watson Ramirez on augmented reality.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

My background is web design and development. But over the last couple of years, I have gotten into AR development and become an AR creator. And really trying to experiment with gaming and storytelling to kind of combine digital and physical worlds and create something cool.

Gigi Johnson:

So AR for the non dorks in the audience is augmented reality. So if I was going to create an image in someone's head about what that might be, what would you suggest, if someone to tuck it into their awareness?

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

You know, I always give people the example of Pokemon Go, because I feel like that's the one that everybody knows the most, but just really be a being able to kind of overlay digital elements on the real world. So you can see you know, characters, you can, you know, have things superimposed on your face and body so you can be able to virtually try on clothes or you know, makeup, you know, and beyond. So it's just a way to kind of blend just digital elements with with your real self, and surroundings.

Gigi Johnson:

And it could be that I am holding up for those in the audio podcast, my phone, but I could use my phone for this. I could use I'm an old Google Glass person. Nice day. I could use some kind of glasses, though. That's not most of it. And I can even Oh, two overlays on my computer screen, right?

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yes, exactly. Yeah. So you know, snap has snap camera on that you can use a lot of these lenses and filters with your webcam. But yes, you can also use it with your phone or glasses. I love wearable devices. But yeah, they're not very commonplace yet.

Gigi Johnson:

Great. So you're, I want to I always look going backwards into someone's how they got started and all of this. And were you a creative kid? Yeah. What was your kid hood? Like? Were you the type that was always doodling and drawing or building something? Yes, I

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

was I was thinking about this the other day, my, I always have to bring it up. I feel like I say it all the time. But my parents are musicians. And that is very foundational to me being an artist because I was surrounded by that, you know, being able to see people do what they love and make a living off of it. So that was very inspirational to me. And I always knew I wanted to be a visual artist in some capacity, but I just never had a focus. And so I always experimented I tried drawing and painting and crocheting at one point. So I would I would dabble in a lot of different things. It really wasn't until I think junior high or high school where I found photography and kind of stuck with that for a bit.

Gigi Johnson:

Photography. So old school, film camera, digital camera,

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

No, old school, old school film camera. I started out with Canon so I'm a Canon girl and would be in the darkroom. You know, in high school in college, there was a thankfully had a darkroom in high school as well. And I also was an assistant to a wedding photographer. So that was kind of like my first major job was being a wedding photographers assistant. So I learned a lot about lighting and composition, and you know, positioning people also. I also knew I did not want to be a wedding photographer. So stressful. It is such a stressful job. And you know, the way my anxiety is set up, I was just always nervous. I was gonna miss a shot or even just as the lighting person that my lighting wouldn't be correct. And I would mess up the shot. So I know. But it was it was a wonderful experience, just to kind of be part of it. But I knew that wasn't for me.

Gigi Johnson:

I'm often telling young guy I'm doing folks, I'm often telling young folks that that it's those jobs you take up front that aren't for you, that might be the best blends. Gosh, I had so many terrible jobs up front. When I was in film school that was like, Okay, this is not what I want. Well, this one's really boring other than 10% of the time, or do I really want to be traveling or whatever it is to learn that early is important. So where was high school?

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

It was it was in New York. It was a private school called Calhoun on the Upper West Side. It was a very, very tiny school and there was about 30 of us in our graduating class. So it was it was a very unique experience, especially compared to my brother who went to a larger high school and had his graduation was like hundreds of people so it was it was cool. I liked it. We hadn't really you know, unique setup. We called our teachers by our first name by their first names and you know, there were no walls. It was just a very kind of open layout situation. So kind of hippie dippie, you know?

Gigi Johnson:

So going from hippie dippie and photographer to college turned into . . . what did you, you decide to do there.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

So still photography, that was my major. I went to Syracuse and for their visual and performing arts school, and yeah, my focus was photography. But even still, like I took a stained glass class I took, you know, we all had to take figure drawing, I took a couple of printmaking classes that I really enjoyed. So even within that, I was still really excited to try different things and not just focus primarily on photography. And then my senior year, last semester of college, I took a web design class, and it was geared towards artists, and I loved it. So we like learn HTML, and all of that, but like, we were able, you know, encouraged to kind of turn it on its head and like, use pop ups in an artsy way. And, you know, create kind of portfolio sites or just create, you know, artistic websites. And that's kind of planted a bug in me that I really liked working, you know, with web design. So

Gigi Johnson:

putting a calendar on that, what year was that?

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

That was one that I graduate 2001.

Gigi Johnson:

So this was still I wouldn't say early web, but this is this 2001 is pre YouTube. Yeah, it is around actually, when I started teaching grad school, and I used to joke that all of my students learned HTML, so that could mess with their MySpace profile. I still have to do it my spin off and you can have you know, the all the strobing thing. Yeah. And so is it was an era where like, people couldn't build websites, but boy, they can hack MySpace.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

I loved it. I still love my design, I have a few of my old designs. And I looked at them semi recently. And I was like, it was like, it was fun. I kind of missed that.

Gigi Johnson:

I keep saying we should go back to MySpace from Twitter. But that's a whole nother conversation. Let's go back. There was a great, a great tweet going, you know, Tom really liked us and was welcoming. And some even bring people going, Who's Tom? Well, no, I'm aging myself.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Obviously, even myself as well. So I know who Tom is,

Gigi Johnson:

Tom. So you graduated with a wonderful Syracuse degree in photography, focus, and web design new light fire under you. And what was then your adventure you moved into.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

I felt lost for a couple of years. Because I didn't. Like I said, ever since I was a kid, I've always dabbled in a lot of different things. And so even though I love photography, and it's my foundation, when I graduated, I didn't really want to be only a photographer. And I didn't know what to do with that. So like, you know, all of the photography, jobs being an event photographer, or portrait photographer, or wedding photographer, I was like, I don't really technically want to do any of these, like, I don't want to work for a newspaper. I don't know what to do. So I did you know, having, you know, musicians at my my kind of, you know, not disposal, but I am connected to musicians. So I did start doing promo shots for musicians to just as work and I enjoyed doing that. But I still felt like there was a part missing. And even though I enjoyed the web design class, it didn't connect with me that that can be a potential career. It was just like fun. It was cool. But it didn't click with me until a couple years later that that was something that I could do. And so I literally was on a plane either going to visit my parents are coming back from visiting my parents, when it just hit me on the plane, all of a sudden, I just had this random epiphany where I was like, I'm going to go to grad school for web design. And it just came out of nowhere. I don't know how or why or what triggered it. But it was just I remember sitting on this plane going, alright, I'm going to grad school, I guess. And so I did, I went to Long Island University for my my official titles, interactive multimedia arts. And my focus was on web design. And that's where I learned flash and fell in love with flash and just kind of, you know, realized that this was kind of the missing puzzle piece for me, because now I was able to combine photography and web design. Because a lot of times when I worked with musicians, I would kind of do both ends of the spectrum. So I would do a photo shoot for them. And then I would be able to use those pictures as part of the design for the website. So I just felt like it was a complete package for me.

Gigi Johnson:

I'm going to put a note in the show notes for people to check out Emily Wapnick's TED Talk and books about how to be everything. But it's a real question for a lot of early creators is the I feel like I'm supposed to be one thing. And she's done a whole pattern of looking at different people's lives and journeys through their careers. And especially for creative folks. We tend to have this blurring part. We either stack oe we kind of blur things together. But then we don't feel like that's what the world is telling us is supposed to be the space. So you're kind of living that combining music and my web design photography, and marketing and experience design to on on some of this stuff.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yeah, I guess I definitely don't think of it that way. That's true. Yeah, I didn't I definitely I, I didn't know it was okay to do that, you know, so I, for many years felt really bad about it. And not, I felt like I wasn't good enough, because I didn't just have one thing. You know, over the last few years, I've, thankfully, you know, heard other people talking about it and realize I'm not alone and go, Okay, no, like, this is a good thing. And this is, you know, what my, that is my strength, it is my strength to be able to blur all these things together. But for a long time, I just kind of felt like I was lacking, because I just didn't have this one thing that I was amazing at, you know, I did a lot of things that I was very good at, and combining them, you know, could be amazing. But just like singularly, I didn't feel like I had one thing that I just mastered. And that kind of wrestled with me for a while.

Gigi Johnson:

So you became Interactive Media Design Queen when this was I think, you know, for grad school, but this was still kind of early framing, that people still tended to have grad school in their separate nuggets. And it sounds like this was sort of ahead of its time, or it should have its time that folks were leading that way. So what then spark for you, and what did you then do with this adventure?

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Once I discovered flash, it was definitely a lightbulb moment for me, both in my own artistic practice, and also just professionally, because I felt like I found I found my thing, you know, I found kind of

Gigi Johnson:

the sad thing I'm about to say, yeah, for people who are really young. And both what it is, and why we don't have it anymore.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

I'm dating myself too. So Flash was it was a program of software that allowed you to create just multimedia projects, you were able to create websites with it, you were able to create games, you know, art pieces that allowed you to combine a lot of different things, you could use it to make animation, you could add music, video photography, you know, all of the above text, and that's why it called to me because, you know, like I've said that I'm a mash up of a lot of different things. So the fact that there was the software that allowed you to kind of add all of these things in and come out with a seamless project. So it's just like, completely mind blowing to me. And so I use it a lot to in my, you know, professionally to build websites for musicians and small nonprofits and some documentary filmmakers. But I use it myself, I use flash to create my thesis, my grad school thesis was done in Flash. I created a couple games, you know, small little mini games and flash, I just I absolutely loved it. Over the years, you know, people will say Steve Jobs, I guess kind of like Apple didn't really like supporting it. I know, there were reasons I can't remember all the reasons, but I know there were some some valid reasons, but just after a while, I kind of fell by the wayside. So it's no longer a thing, unfortunately.

Gigi Johnson:

So we're gonna kind of it so we're going to include or actually has some heritage that's still out there. Yeah, we're gonna include links to some of your work, etc, in your portfolio. And as this is dominantly, a podcast, not the YouTube channels, people can't see this stuff, but we'll also include some other things to it. What were some of the work that you did in flash when it was in its heyday.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Um, one of the things that I loved I created a website for my dad's my script that my dad is part of is 20 named street sax quartet. And I had gone out and taken photos of you know, subway stations and things like that and then I illustrated them and it created a lot of animation that kind of show different parts of the train station with music and some anime opening intro animation where they're all different posters on the on the subway wall so things like that I like to play with because I love music so much it was fun to be able to kind of incorporate animation and music was like some of these pieces

Gigi Johnson:

so let's now bridge to now you got engaged How did how did AR find you? How did you find AR How did you end up realizing this is another interesting journey twist.

Unknown:

So after flash kind of, you know, petered out, and I had to build websites. Without Flash, it was just not as fun for me. I still did it for many years because that paid the bills. And I still thankfully, you know, had some wonderful clients who came up with creative ideas. So I still felt creative in some way. But I just wasn't as fun for me as it was when I was building in Flash. So there was a part of me that just wasn't creative anymore. I wasn't really doing my own work for many for quite a few years. And I just really was kind of searching for the next thing. And I didn't know what I was looking for, but I just knew something was missing from me again. And in 2018, I started I getting into unity. And I think I was searching again for like a Flash replacement. And, you know, kind of found unity and started playing around with that and thought, like, okay, like this is, you know, sort of kind of close ish. And so initially, I thought I was gonna go into game development and be an indie game developer, because it hit a lot of the buttons, because gaming involves, you know, storytelling, and music and coding, and all of the above. It could involve photography and video. So I was like, Oh, this is this is what I want to do. But it still just didn't feel quite right. And I honestly like, I think Pokemon Go literal . . . was it. I think that was my first intro really into AR because that's the only thing that I can think of. But I started playing around with it. And I got into Wikatude and Vuforia with Unity, which are, you know, two AR software that you can use along with Unity to help create, you know, AR experiences? And what's gonna . . .

Gigi Johnson:

I'm going to stop you here.

Gigi Johnson:

Yup, no problem.

Gigi Johnson:

For some people going... what?

Gigi Johnson:

Yeah. So, um, Unity is a game engine. Yes, Unity is a game. So, um, that's a good metaphor for it. So I tend to think that in many ways, web design is using in some way software to put pretty looks around underlying data. And the game engine is kind of a vocabulary where I can put images and rules together and colors and, and things. But I don't have to code the darn thing. Most of the time that it's got its own ways that it is creating a narrative with a tool set. I'm not sure it's a good way to explain unity.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yes, it's probably better than me. But you know, you do? Well, they do have like, visual, I think you can code visually. So you don't have to know how to code code. But you you kind of do with Unity,

Gigi Johnson:

C sharp and mess with that. Yeah, we're down that rabbit hole.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

You don't have to go down that rabbit hole, at least a little bit. But I know they do. I think bolt is their visual coding editor. But yeah, it's it's, it's, you know, I guess, essentially, it is it is a engine, it's a piece of software that allows you to create interactive experiences. So it could be gaming, but people use it for a lot of, you know, different things, you can use it for medical purposes, and creating educational experiences, and AR and VR experiences. So, you know, it's kind of, I think, started as a game engine, but people have started to use it in other ways besides just gaming.

Gigi Johnson:

So just sort of tying the bow on it. So in Unity I could create then a visual that I can overlay using one of these tools on the real world through my phone or other device.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yes. So with Unity, you know, yeah, you can you can create an augmented reality experience that you can use on your phone.

Gigi Johnson:

So how did you walk down this wonderful rabbit hole yourself? So you discovered it Pokeyman go awareness, where did you take this and where were their opportunities.

Unknown:

So again, I was just initially experimenting, you know, I realized that it was a lot easier to get started than I thought it was going to be. So that was, you know, I think that was that was good. It was, you know, doing I started with image targeting, which you know, allows you to kind of point your phone or if you have glasses, pointer glasses at a particular image, and then once the once whenever you create kind of recognizes that image, then other things can happen. So you can have a poster on the wall and you can set it up so that if somebody scams that poster, an animation starts or a character pops out of the poster wall or you know, any, any number of things can happen, music can start playing. So that's kind of where I started with augmented reality was to kind of just, you know, have some little images and try to have a character pop up or and once I saw that, I could do that relatively easily. Then I kind of started to delve into, you know, to playing around a little bit more but Once again, even though I was excited about it, it still didn't click that I could go further. I was like, Oh, that's cool. You know, I'm still gonna be an indie game developer, but whatever, that's kind of cool. And so it wasn't until I got to participate in MIT's reality hack at the very beginning of 2020, I think it was either January or February. And that is where it clicked for me, because I was just like, I found, I found my people I found like the type of work I wanted to do. And just seeing all of the different creators and seeing what they came up with. And just the type of technology that was used there was really exciting. And so my team, we were paired with some documentary filmmakers who had been working on a film about this neighborhood in Miami that I think at the time was segregated. Or that they were just it was, I forgot all the details. But the piece that we were doing with with AR was telling the story of this one family, and it was a true story of this one family, who had a black family who had integrated into this all white neighborhood, and kind of what they went through of being the first black family in this all white neighborhood, you know, back in the day. And so we told a little it was like an AR, sort of a pop up book. And so we used glasses, they were the NReal glasses, and they were augmented reality glasses so that when you put them on, you were able to look at the table, and you saw this, this book box pop up, and this young kid, you know, this image of this kid popped up, and you heard narration of him telling his story. And so you know, as he's telling the story of having bricks thrown through their window, and having, you know, a burning cross on their yard, you saw that kind of pop up in the book, as well. And it just

Gigi Johnson:

was there a physical book as the target? No, just a space in the, in the

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

space, I think we might have had, if I remember, right, it was an it might have been an image target. So I think it was an image of it, just just a random photograph that we use kind of as the target. And then the book popped up from there, if I can recall that correctly. But it was completely the type of work that I was like, I want to keep doing this, like I love to be able to use this technology to create, you know, tell this very compelling story in this unique way. And I was just like, this is this is what I want to do. So it was it was completely life changing. For me, I'm so thankful that I was able to be part of that.

Gigi Johnson:

So it's a technology that's been around for a bit. And a lot of it is getting people both comfortable, better phones, new tools, because I know I early on had if you if you put one of the various platforms over my business card, a little character would pop up and dancer on my business card because I would always be trying to explain AR to people. Yeah. And then they go well, what is I said, Okay, look at my car. Yeah, my phone and see the little character running around. They go, Oh, cool. But then they kind of got stuck at the Oh, cool. And then what do you do with it? So to me, the lens of your work, which is fascinating is the telling, embedded story. That's much more cultural and personal. Which, which it's taking documentary in a whole different direction, or fragments this way, which I find fascinating. So from this MIT Reality Hack, where did you go from there? What did you take do with this? Because you've done, considering it's not that long of time, a lot of really cool stuff.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yeah, I think once I got back from there, I was I'm trying to think of like, the next project I worked on, I think I was trying to figure out what to do next. So I was, I think it was more connecting with people and getting to know other people's work and seeing what was out there. So I think that was a good chunk of it was getting to know folks on Twitter, which is why I'm like, I'm hoping Twitter stays because it's been very helpful for me to get to know some wonderful folks in this industry. But then I got to be part of residency through Snapchat in October of 2020. And once again, there was kind of some impostor syndrome because one of the folks from Twitter had posted that they were looking for creatives and artists, and I was like, that's not me. And thankfully, my friend saw the same tweet and tagged me on it. And I was like, alright, well, now he forced my hands. So I sent her my portfolio and you know, didn't hear anything from her for a few months. And then she reached out and was like, hey, you know, thanks for reaching out. We have a residency that I think you should apply for. And, you know, again, I was like, I don't know, but thankfully I did. And I got in and made me fall in love with Lens Studio, which is Snapchat's software for being able to build augmented reality games and things that you can use within Snapchat itself. And it's just, I find it so wonderful to use. And there's just so ahead of the game in terms of all of the types of features and cool things that you can do with it. So, from there, I, you know, I kind of really delve down that rabbit hole of working in that studio and creating projects with that.

Gigi Johnson:

And being visible for that with me slowly

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

but surely, yes, you know, I'm still still putting myself out there. But yes, you know, I had to get in the habit, um, I am somebody who is not really comfortable with showing my work, especially if it's not, like super polished or, but I started to realize that people put a lot of their process online, and you know, to show people like, look, hey, I'm doing things like if I'm just sitting at home for three years, and not showing anybody anything, like nobody knows I exist. So I've had to force myself to kind of be like, Hey, this is what I'm working on. This is what I'm trying out. This is an experiment that didn't work. And, you know, thankfully, that's been helping, you know, raise visibility that, you know, I do this work, too. So, that's, that's been a good, good challenge for me to push myself to do that.

Gigi Johnson:

Okay, so I'm gonna call you out on that a little bit. Because you your URL that you've chosen for your work is bad chick studios, right? No, I really timid about my work. Bad chick studios.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yeah, you know, that was a kind of fake it till you make it. I was trying to figure out because my old my old one was photo girl. And a, you know, I was doing more than photography. So I was like, this doesn't fit. But it was at a moment where I actually felt very insecure and was trying to figure out my next path. And so, you know, it was it was me hyping myself up and then I was like, I'm a bad chick. And that's, that's what it's gonna be. So, yeah, um, yeah, I that's, that's my way of hyping myself up even if I don't always feel like a bad shape. But I try to I try to feel like a bad check when I can,

Gigi Johnson:

was a big kind of putting the bright shiny shell out, and then you work on the inside. Shell is out there. So that's exactly right. Shiny shell. So what is what is your work that you are showcasing now because I've seen some of it again, we're, we're doing a YouTube but it's mostly going to audio. So it's kind of hard, I'm going to send you guys over to look at her stuff. But what would be good descriptions of some of the stuff you're proudest of that you've worked on.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Most recently, actually, I just just this past October, I worked with this wonderful artists and dancer and choreographer, Karen Wicks. And she had this idea to create kind of this haunted walk through this old decrepit estate in I think LA or just outside of LA called called the state that has, you know, a whole haunted history of people seeing things and hearing footsteps behind them, and, you know, and ghosts. And so she created some she use motion capture to, you know, kind of create these like spooky elements that would pop up at certain points during your walk. And then it ends with a dance on film that was really cool. And really well edited. Once you get to kind of the end of the walk that pops up at the very end. And that is definitely something that I had a lot of fun doing. Even though I don't like spooky things, it was kind of funny that I was like excited to work on something that I'm like, I don't like being scared, but this was cool. But it's definitely the direction that I want to continue to go in, you know, a collaborating with other artists is something that I want to keep doing, it was really lovely working with her. But also, again, the storytelling aspect. So in order to kind of have this AR and narration as you kind of walk through this path of Cava state and then having these little ghosts pop up and either walk toward you or kind of like dance and kind of hobble along. It's really interesting to me. I'm also really interested in location based AR, that's just from the beginning, I don't know why just like just the idea of having something pop up in the exact spot that you want it to and have multiple people be able to see the same thing is really exciting. So that was the other interesting aspect of this piece was that it was it was location based. It was we had some technical issues because the in that particular area, the reception was really bad. So I kind of had to fake it a little bit, you know, but it feels you know, thankfully, it still kind of feels like like it really is like using the GPS and things pop up when they're supposed to. But yeah, so my hope is to be able to do some more location based experiences with that as well.

Gigi Johnson:

I could ask you another 25 questions. area of work. I've we've had conversations which I don't know if you want to feel comfortable about talking about how to do how to think about oral histories of people that you love in this space. Can you share your thoughts in what you'd love to do there?

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Yeah, so right now and I'm thankfully you know, So, in our last conversation, Gigi and I had, she recommended this book called Big Magic. And I've started to read it. And it's very helpful just about, you know, inspiration and ideas. And cuz I felt very stuck on this project. But I been wanting to work and had this idea to work on a project about my grandparents who have all passed away. My last remaining grandparent passed away in 2019. And just about not so much their history, but just like my memories of them. And, you know, I started to recognize that there were certain items that just sparked just instant memories of them, like, you know, a bottle of Irie, dishwashing liquid and either smelling it and just even seeing it, you know, in the store, it was like, Oh, my grandma. But I've kind of been stuck on this project. And so I've realized that it's kind of not just about, you know, me retelling stories about them, but just more so about memory, and just feeling like I don't have enough memories of them and feeling like, you know, using technology to capture memories of them. And also, now, as my parents are getting older, wanting to feel like I need to capture, like every moment with my parents, you know, as I get older, so just kind of, more generally about memory and capturing memory and how we, you know, remember certain things and forget other things, but just around the idea of, of remembering my grandparents. So it's slowly but surely coming together, I had a little bit of a breakthrough the other day, so I'm very happy.

Gigi Johnson:

I was thinking about some of this, I was walking through the member Mondays at the LA County Museum of Art, and it was very quiet this Monday, I was walking through looking at all of these paintings thinking that, you know, the same sense of wanting to capture memory and location and all of that sits in paintings now in our museums. But where will this be? In all of this digital stuff we're creating that will be in some cases, tech dependent right on where it sits kind of the equivalent of the Betamax tape was your grandmother's birthday party. And so we've got the opportunity to pull time through visible means. But how much are we baking it into digital, fleeting spaces, just some of the work I'm looking at right now heading into this coming year of thinking about how to think about story and location and proximity and where we are, but then also what is the archive, and looking backwards in context. So I find what you're working on really fascinating. Plus, having done oral histories for years, I just find the whole the whole concept of different ways to storyteller about people we love, or to, or to capture their stories, you know, the boxes of photos that remarked in my house, you know, run out the door, when a case of a fire, I'll pack to go and it's like, well, what's the digital version of that now? Yeah, an interesting question.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

I want to, you know, I want to try to maybe scan a lot more photos. So more of the family members could also access them, you know, because a lot of them are in boxes, either in my parents house or my uncle or aunt's house. And you know, they're kind of just sitting there. And so I would love to maybe start scanning them, though, again, like you said, you know, if I scan them now, are they going to be available? 30 years from now, I don't know. I'll start with at least at least we have the hard copies still as well. But I would love to take some of these photos and make it so that more of the family can enjoy them and go through them and keep them for their own as well.

Gigi Johnson:

Yeah. So what is your next adventure? What are you wanting to head into? And in that context? Is there anybody you'd like to reach out to you who might listen to the show and go, Oh, wait, this ties in with whatever they're doing? So

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

yeah, I mean, if if there is somebody who's listening who, you know, is kind of going down that same path, I'd love to talk or just any storytelling experience, I'm really excited to collaborate with more artists or other folks who are interested in using augmented reality to, to tell a story there. I'm not you know, I love storytelling, but I also love gaming. And so a lot of my work also is, has interactive components to it. And I, I love escape rooms, I love being able to go into like children's museums and press things. So I kind of have that in my work as well. So just kind of combining that just like sort of, like, I guess, interactive storytelling, to be able to feel like you're immersed in it a little bit more. So yeah, if if anybody out there is excited about that, too. I'm totally down to collaborate. But yeah, my goal for next year is really to to create some longer form, AR work. You know, most of the work that I've done right now has been within Snapchat. And I want to explore that too, because a lot of that stuff that I've done with Snapchat or been either smaller filters, like I've done a filter with a Knicks Jersey, where you can choose your own number using voice recognition. So I love stuff like that. But I'd love to use Snapchat to try to maybe have some storytelling projects, but also some larger ones within Unity as well. So hopefully get this grandparent one going. And just just see where that goes. And couple other ones.

Gigi Johnson:

Great. Anything we haven't talked about, you want to mention.

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

Don't think so, I feel like you know, like you said, we can go so many different ways I

Gigi Johnson:

would love to invite you back. And then we'll talk about where you've come from in this stuff. Because I'm really very excited in thinking about it. And as those people who know what I'm kind of up to other than as we were joking before we get started, then I'm learning blender on how to build my stuff. After having already been going down the internet, rabbit hole myself and not thinking, Oh, I could do ar stuff in conversations about how to be mapping cities in terms of layering narrative. And that's been going on for quite a while. But looking in certain sectors and areas to be doing walkthrough storytelling that can be used for a class, I'm right now teaching, but how to sort of think about engaging with the content more than just I'm looking at a flat image on the web or whatever, that there's ways to then prompt people into a story narrative. And it can be sitting in their home with a camera pointed at their sofa. Or it could be walking down the streets of New York or in their own neighborhood or in Miami or whatever it happens to be or sharing that story over the holidays with their families. So there's a sense of intimacy with some of this and a sense of being able to experience it solo to an engaged content that there's some really neat ways to play with it. So I think when I when I want to have you back, come back in where you've gone. How can people best reach out to you if they have a great thing they want to ping you on? Um,

Lafiya Watson Ramirez:

You can, you can definitely find me on Bad Chick Studios. My email's there and right now, you know, both Twitter and Instagram are also @badchickstudios as well so you can find me at any of those places.

Gigi Johnson:

Fantastic. Thank you for joining us. And more fun to follow.

More Episodes
13. I didn’t just have one thing . . . with Lafiya Watson Ramirez
00:38:20
12. bonus Bonus: Postcard Moments . . . with Gigi Johnson
00:05:40
11. Simplifying Complexity for Indie Labels . . .with Bruno Guez
00:38:11
10. Educated Luck and Building Digital Bridges . . . with Dick Huey
01:02:52
9. Architecture, Mars, and VR . . . with Alfredo Muñoz
00:50:43
8. Out on a Limb . . . with Darryl Hurs
00:47:12
7. Music + India . . . .plus Ritnika Nayan
00:29:08
6. Building Campfires . . . with Arturo O'Farrill
00:39:34
5. Asking for What You Want . . . with Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia
00:40:05
4. Making Sense Backwards . . . with Jeremy Yuille, Meld Studios
00:48:29
3. AR and Love of the Lab . . . with Ippolito Caradonna
00:34:33
2. Leaning Out Over His Skis . . . .with Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin
00:44:26
1. trailer Welcome to Season 2!
00:02:53
24. That Was an Accident . . . with Martin Atkins
00:45:43
23. Tidbit Tuesday . . . Postcard Moments and Planned Happenchance
00:09:06
22. A Very Human Culture . . . with David Hernandez
00:38:34
21. Tidbit Tuesday - What is a Creative Career?
00:03:36
20. Ceremony and Story . . . with Beatie Wolfe
00:47:45
19. Welcome to Tuesday Creative Career Sessions
00:05:40
18. Finance, Story, and The Storm . . . with Christopher Zyda
00:47:57
17. Combining All Your Loves Together . . . with Laura Escudé
00:37:55
16. Seeing Solutions - A Blessing and a Curse . . . with Dae Bogan
00:50:14
15. This is our Future: Saving the Planet . . . with Bas den Braber and Jenna Seiden
00:45:25
14. Wearing a Cape This Whole Time . . . with Tania Katan
00:38:22
13. Pirates, Magicians, and Wizards . . . with Megan Elliott
00:36:48
12. An Incredible Experiment. . . with Mark "Frosty" McNeill and Ale Cohen
00:54:49
11. I Never Knew I was Supposed to Only Do One Thing. . . with Arabian Prince
00:33:05
10. Composers of Tomorrow . . . with Akira Nakano
00:40:45
9. Trust Your Calling . . . with Christopher Hope
00:39:38
8. Solving Problems with Art, VR, and Software . . . with Sasha Samochina
00:42:56
7. Social Proof and Pushing Forward . . . with Ty Frankel
00:23:20
6. That Moment of Mojo . . . with Zack Zalon
00:50:10
5. Slightly Against the Grain . . . with Carlo, Ben, and Josh from Indie-Pop
00:34:29
4. Innovation is Messy . . . with Jack Conte
00:49:04
3. Everything Old is New Again . . . with Ted Cohen
01:08:45
2. Livestreaming and Live Connecting . . . with Dmitri Vietze
00:36:17
1. Welcome to Creative Innovators with Gigi Johnson
00:03:09