Facebook Open Arts: Check Out New 360 Messenger Background from Acclaimed Artist Sebastian Mary Tay

Messenger has launched the third installment in its collaboration with Facebook Open Arts. Through this series, Messenger and Facebook Open Arts are commissioning a diverse group of artists from around the world to design different 360 backgrounds for Messenger Rooms. 

The third artist in our series is Sebastian Mary Tay, a Singapore-based artist, photographer and educator. In response to pandemic limitations on travel and sharing physical space, Sebastian created Seeking Starlight, an imaginative 360 landscape to visit with friends while on a video call. His 360 background presents a colorful and textured mountain range to explore. 

Growing up in the tropics, Sebastian experienced the intense light of the equator, spectacular sunsets, and lush greenery. This environment shaped how he saw color, and influences his art to this day. 

Throughout his creation process, Sebastian focused on how his landscape could be as immersive as possible and how the still images could be experienced from different perspectives. To create his 360 background for Messenger, Sebastian first created a physical miniature mountain range by pouring flour and sawdust. He then used a 360 camera to capture the artwork and worked together with Messenger to combine this process with augmented reality. This resulted in the Seeking Starlight 360 background that is available today. 

Facebook Open Arts and Messenger are honored to spotlight artists whose passion and creativity inspire their communities and beyond. “Sebastian has created something truly unique: an imaginative online world that was born offline using humble materials such as flour,” says Open Arts Curator Tamar Benzikry. “It really showcases the potential for what analog artists can do in digital space.”

To access Sebastian’s background, simply start a video call or create a Room from Messenger or Facebook. Tap the effects icon on your self view then select “backgrounds” to access Sebastian Mary Tay’s background. Messenger Rooms lets you create a room to host joinable free video calls with up to 50 people and no time limit. 

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