Facebook Open Arts: Check Out New 360 Messenger Background from Visual Artist Ralph Pugay

Over the past few months, Messenger and Facebook Open Arts have been working with an incredible group of artists from around the world to curate custom 360 backgrounds for Messenger Rooms and video calling. We’re thrilled to be able to continue collaborating with these innovators and to be a part of the creativity they bring to their communities. 

The fifth artist in our series is Ralph Pugay, a Portland-based Filipino-American visual artist who paints and draws bizarre fantasy worlds that question cultural norms and ideas. For this series, Ralph created Morning Yoga at the Tropical Retreat, which was inspired by human body movement and the isolation caused by the pandemic. With this 360 background, Ralph hopes to encourage people to pay closer attention to their bodies and to be more compassionate with one another.

Having moved to America from the Philippines at a young age, Ralph has always been aware of the complexity of life and the experiences that shape him. Through his art he conveys that not everything is as simple as it seems. “I love being in a field where slowing down, observing, and feeling through while thinking through is supported,” says Ralph. “I like making space for everything I have absorbed through my life to make it into the world I am creating.”

With Ralph’s 360 background for Messenger, he channeled his own feelings about the pandemic into the artistic process, which involved drawing his images on a digital tablet to render the background. “I created a 3D environment where people are ecstatically moving in space, amidst one another,” says Ralph. “It felt like something that I wanted, given the constraints of the pandemic.” 

Facebook Open Arts is thrilled to be able to spotlight artists from different backgrounds whose creative energy and innovative artistic processes inspire their communities.

“Ralph used this collaborative project to create something both personal and universal,” says Open Arts Curator Tamar Benzikry. “The yoga poses in a tropical setting that reminded him of the Philippines also carried significance relating to COVID-19. We’re happy to see Ralph’s originality come to life in this digital setting.”

To access Ralph’s background, simply start a video call in Messenger or create a Messenger Room on Facebook or Messenger. Tap the effects icon on your self view then select “backgrounds” to access Ralph’s background. 

About Facebook Open Arts

Facebook Open Arts empowers community through creativity. As a company dedicated to bringing people closer together, Facebook recognizes that creativity is essential to our collective wellbeing. Within our walls and around the globe, Facebook Open Arts cultivates creative engagements that offer new ways of thinking about ourselves, our communities, and the world at large. Learn more at fb.com/facebookopenarts and follow us on Instagram at @FacebookOpenArts.

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