Augmented Reality Brings Detroit Art to Life 

After more than a year of being on lockdown, Detroiters are bursting at the seams for some much-needed rest and relaxation.  Business owners are getting in on the action and helping to encourage a new wave of creativity and fun in Metro Detroit. The Electrifly Detroit Augmented Reality Mural Festival has kicked off in the city bringing multi-dimensional art to the streets with the click of a button.  


Brothers Malik, Zach and Moody Mattan are the people behind the newest augmented reality festival. Bringing art to everyday residents, the Electrifly features mural designs created by different artists, plastered on buildings across the city.  


To take part in the festival, users are first invited to download the app and bring art to life. Free on Google Play or the Apple Store, the app is essential to seeing the effects of the mural. Next, art lovers can visit one mural or multiple ones in a day and scanned at one’s leisure, day or night. Finally, participants are asked to take pictures with the murals and post on social media channels to share in the fun.  


It was the eldest of the trio, Moody, who originally got the ball rolling on what now is a one-of-a-kind experience in Detroit. He helped merge his career with the family merchandising company and Electrify Detroit was born.  


“What we did was work with artists to produce their merchandise,” says Zach Mattan, CEO and co-founder of Electrifly Detroit. “Then my older brother, Moody, moved out to California and was working in the virtual and augmented reality field and made some good connections there and then moved back home after a few years and thought how could we combine this technology with the merchandising company that we have.” 


Reef Diver Mural by Chris Dyer. 


Faced with the question of how to bring their merchandise to life, the brothers began to hatch a plan that would benefit both artists and art lovers. Already able to create imaging from existing works, the brothers got to work on cutting out the middleman and bringing the work itself into a 3-D form.  


“A lot of the artists that we were working with were rooted in the street art and graffiti scene. A lot of the merchandise that we were creating were taken from murals that they had painted. So, it was kind of a natural progression with bringing the merchandise alive that came from the murals to bringing the actual murals to life,” says Zach Mattan.  


As with any good work, it takes a significant amount of time to bring these projects to life. Aside from the business aspect of partnering with artists, the technical aspect of bringing the murals to life can take several weeks to complete.  


“On our end, it takes about eight to ten weeks, but that being said, there are some projects that take a lot longer.” 


There has been a major artistic push in Detroit and the Mattan brothers are hoping the augmented reality festival will help introduce artists to a new set of fans. Featuring works from artists like Hubert Massey, Chris Dyer, Ghostbeard & Patch Whisky, Phybr and Armageddon Beachparty, the murals can be found in six different locations across Detroit.  


“With the Electrifly Detroit murals, six murals from seven different artists. Those have been a work in progress for almost two years,” says Malik Mattan, co-founder and creative director of the company. “We did the very first one three years ago and since then, we’ve just been adding to our Detroit mural collection and growing our artist base. Those six murals have been a two-year work in progress.” 


There is a map to help locate each mural location, with each one within a 20-minute drive of another, allowing art lovers to get a unique view of the city from the Boston Edison District to the Woodbridge District. The Electrifly Detroit Augmented Reality festival runs now through September 4th.  

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