Augmented Reality Art Store: Varlio

Combining Art, Music, and Technology

Philomath Artist Jonmar Launches Varlio

Photo Courtesy of Heather Ricthter

Friday October 25 saw the launch of Varlio – “the world’s first Augmented Reality art store” at the Majestic Theatre. The brainchild of Philomath artist and musician John Marr, aka Jonmar, Varlio represents the first step in what he considers the next revolution in the art world.

The principles behind Varlio are simple: scan a piece of art with the app and it launches a quick augmented reality experience. It’s in the creativity of its implementation that Varlio really shines. A total of nine paintings by Jonmar were on display in the Majestic’s gallery, each with their own unique experience. Interacting with a cubist painting launched its component shapes into three dimensions, which revealed a fire-breathing dragon when viewed from the correct angle. On the other hand, the portrait of a fiddler transformed into a music video featuring a rotoscoped Civil War battle.

Photo Courtesy of Lukas Nichols

Perhaps the most moving and innovative piece was The Wave. When viewed in AR, Jonmar is shown painting it in layers while telling the story of a Japanese fisherman. Only through the app can the work be experienced in its entirety.

The open demo was accompanied by an hour and a half long stage presentation, featuring speakers like Philomath Mayor Eric Neimann, business innovator Stefan Olander, and Emmy Award-winning director and producer David Kamens, as well as a performance by McMinnville band We Three, who displayed a brief documentary on Jonmar’s work. All spoke of Jonmar’s talent and creativity in glowing terms.

Photo Courtesy of Heather Ricthter

While Jonmar was embarrassed by the praise, he does not lack for ambition. Walt Disney was cited as an inspiration for his work, and there are clear parallels between the two: combining art, music, and technology in order to tell a story.

“My goal in life is to be a storyteller,” he said, “and the magic of AR allows me to tell stories like nothing else.”

Going off of his presentation, this launch is merely the beginning for Varlio. Jonmar is racking up quite a list of firsts: he’s already created the first AR music poster for We Three, and he’s collaborating with Augmented World Expo on the world’s first AR magazine, AR-T. His most intriguing proposal would have to be “the world’s first episodic poster.” By scanning the poster with the Varlio app, users will be able to view The Uncanniables, a tv series shot in 360 degree video.

Photo Courtesy of Lukas Nichols

The show at The Majestic ended with a declaration from Olander: “When the glasses are out and Varlio is worldwide, every one of you will get to say ‘I was there.’”

The Varlio app can be downloaded for free from the iOS App Store, and Jonmar’s artwork can be purchased from for a range of prices.

By Brandon Urey