MANILA, PHILIPPINES – You’ve likely seen Jappy Agoncillo’s work around Metro Manila’s hippest spots or shared around the internet. The 24-year-old muralist and illustrator, who says he was “raised in the arms of television, comic books, and fantasy series,” has received critical and viral acclaim for his expressive works that tie into the vibrant fabric of Manila’s urban culture.
From large walls and even the exteriors of a jeepney, Jappy has transformed these into his own canvas and made them come to life with his energetic, colorful, and dynamic illustrations. Now, Jappy is conquering new terrain as he turns the screen into his own interactive mural with Viber Lenses—creating social and downloadable artworks that capture exactly how people feel using augmented reality (AR) technology.
Viber Lens is the latest offering by Viber, the cross-messaging platform, teaming up with Snap Inc. to bring the magic of augmented reality to smartphone screens and redefine how users communicate with each other.
Jappy shares that Chris Aguilar, Marketing Lead for Viber, reached out to him and other Filipino artists to visually experiment with their AR-powered lenses. “I don’t do AR filters, but that was part of the charm that Chris wanted to bring with artists,” Jappy explains.
What intrigued Jappy about the opportunity to work with Viber Lenses was the ability to bring his distinct style and reimagine it with an interactive component. “I’ve done digital illustrations before. But what was new about this was the AR component of it,” Jappy says, adding, “It was exciting, because it was a chance for other people to kind of interact with my artwork.”
Jappy elaborates that as an artist, he was excited about the concept of viewers actively interacting with his work rather than just being passive consumers. “What if they can be part of the fun? They can use it in a way that they think would be applicable to whatever situation,” Jappy muses.
The result? Dynamic, interactive filters that users can adapt to their situations: Take this out-of-this-world “Spaced Out” Viber Lens, perfect for those days when work has you feeling “lutang.” Meanwhile, the encouraging and peppy “You Got This!” Viber Lens is fitting for showing support for friends or loved ones who need the extra boost in morale.
“We’d make these filters and then it would be up to people: how they want to apply it, who they want to talk to with it, how they can communicate with it,” Jappy explains. “So that was the fun part: when you’re creating these filters, you’re not just thinking about what looks good as an artwork. You’re also thinking about how will the audience interact with this and how much fun can they have using these?”
Although Jappy is more known for his IRL work, the mural artist believes that the digital sphere is the next platform or medium for artists to explore. “I think AR really is a next kind of practical move, especially now, it’s Web 3.0 and everything like that. Everything’s moving online.”
Jappy explains that posting illustrations online counts as digital art, “But if you want more engagement, you want people to feel connected to your work, you’re gonna have to make them more interactive,” adding that AR-powered technology like filters are the next “practical move for artists.”
The artist has some advice for artists looking to broaden their horizons by exploring social media and the digital space. “If you really want to make it out there—go viral or whatever—, you have to find a way for audiences to resonate with your artwork. Let them use it, interact with it, and not just look at it as a piece of art, but also answer the question, ‘How can I apply this art to my own life?’”
Jappy compares this to viral moments on social media platforms like TikTok, where songs—whether new releases or old ones—are given new life because of soundbites that users can splice, extract, and apply to their own context. “What about AR filters where people can say, ‘Oh, what about this artwork? I could use it to greet my friends on their birthday, or to say hi to my dog. So how can I use this artwork in conjunction with my own life?’”
Like Jappy, artists can explore AR-powered lenses and turn smartphone screens into their very own canvas through Viber LENS Create, a virtual search for the next Viber Lens.
Viber Lens Create is a unique platform for artists to create interactive works and let users experience their art, while exploring the boundaries of interaction with #MoreWaysToVibe.
Let your creativity run wild and have your design used by millions of Viber users as a Viber Lens!
Joining is simple: all you have to do is submit your artwork to the official Lens Create Viber Community and get as many likes as possible.
Jappy and the Viber Creative team will handpick the final winning designs—that said, the most-liked entries stand a higher chance of winning.
Winners will get special prizes from participating partners. Selected designs will be turned into Viber Lenses and will be pinned as featured Lenses for up to two weeks.
Submit your entries starting November 5. The first batch of winners will be announced at the end of November. Winning user-created designs will be available as Viber Lenses by early December.
Join the official Lens Create Viber Community and submit your entries here.