Snapchat has launched a new, special edition, Lens, in conjunction with British artist Damien Hirst, which enables users to create their own spin painting, based on a style that Hirst popularized in the mid-nineties.
As you can see in the video, the new Lens enables users to pour different colors into their spin painting, creating unique effects in the final result. Hirst showcases the process in action here.
The Lens, in itself, may not seem like a major innovation, and it's also likely that most of Snapchat's younger user base won't be as familiar with the artistic origins of Hirst's work. But the spin process did prove popular when Hirst enabled gallery visitors to create their own spin painting back in 1994, so it may catch on, and become a new Lens hit.
The collaboration with Snap is also seeking to raise funds for Partners in Health, which supports public health systems in underserved communities. Users who try out the Hirst Lens will be prompted to donate to PiH, while users will also be able to submit their spin creations to “Our Story”, which will form a virtual art gallery of the digital paintings.
Snapchat says that it has originally intended for its collaboration with Hirst to be part of a museum exhibit, but due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, they've opted to create a new experience for users to engage with at home instead. That said, Snapchat does note that it may still look to turn public submissions on Snapchat into a live exhibition at a later date.
It's an interesting collaboration - Hirst has long been known as a controversial figure in the art world, someone who rides the line between being wholly commercial and uniquely artistic. He's also widely known, which will likely help to generate interest for Snapchat, while the expanded collaboration with PiH will help to raise awareness and funds for COVID-19 initiatives.
You can try out the new Spin Painting Lens in Snapchat from today.