An AR (Augmented Reality) artist and developer, Balraj Bains is the trailblazing creative behind the viral Willow Smith cover filter. The famous filter has garnered a bunch of likes on Instagram for its powerful and radical statement of beauty. It is one of those edgy looks that each one of us wants to adorn and Balraj’s AR effects often take one to an ethereal, otherworldly place as they balance the unique worlds of beauty and innovation.
A strong believer in rejecting euro-centric beauty standards, their work tends to break away from the mould. As most filters today morph our natural features, Balraj refrains from promoting any such trends that eventually lead to insecurities and poor self image. Rather their creations embrace authenticity by creating an easier space for people to experiment while flourishing in their own self-image.
Believing in tech to be an inclusive space as opposed to its current condition, Balraj hopes that their identity within a male-dominated industry is a powerful statement in itself. They consider that there are not enough women or non-binary people in decision-making positions but since AR is a platform for building ideas and constantly questioning methods, they do believe one can develop skills and claim space for their identity.
Through the medium of a creative tech space Bains also tries to reimagine the world without pre-existing prejudices. Holding onto our South Asian heritage is also reflected in being aware of the many discriminatory practices that exist in forms such as caste and class biases. Conscious of these structures, the young artist hopes to use AR to begin change at an individual level, to encourage people to take the actions they can, and to make spaces equal and safe for everyone.
Driven by the human condition and yearning to craft their own path, the early projects were spurred on by a desire to create something that breaks away from existing influences in the AR world. This led Balraj to devise their now-famous neck tattoo effect, which garnered much technical and creative praise. Her one-of-a-kind projects have always subverted the mainstream approach by embracing a radical persona of their own and we can only anticipate more such inventive AR filters from the creator in the future.
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