Edgardo Miranda-Rodgriguez in his studio discussing his augmented reality project to The New York Times.

The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora (CCCADI) has been awarded a grant from Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund to develop a mobile augmented reality project called “Mi Querido Barrio” or “My Beloved Barrio."

"Mi Querido Barrio” is an exhibition with both physical and virtual components, mapping an historic and cultural tour of El Barrio to foster greater awareness of the cultural history of the area’s long-standing residents. The works of intergenerational artists in both traditional media and augmented reality will explore the concept of home/community in a global reality.

The physical exhibition will document the lives of 5 families with a generational history of living in El Barrio. The virtual exhibition will place virtual computer graphic artworks and environments throughout the neighborhood of Spanish Harlem as a means to reflect upon El Barrio’s past, present and future in cultural memory, history, fantasy, and reality.

The CCCADI will be identifying four artists to participate in a workshop to learn the new technology of augmented reality and use these new skills to create site-specific virtual artworks and environments landmarking the history and culture of East Harlem/El Barrio.

We are seeking artists with a wide range of skills including strong computer and media skills, as well as artists with limited computer skills but a strong interest in bringing their more traditional artistic styles into this very spatial and experiential medium.

NOTE: the medium is still in its infancy, and there are severe limits in what you can do right now! So imagination and flexibility to adjust your concepts to fit with the medium’s limitations are very important qualifications.

Traditional artistic skills that fit with current augmented reality technology include:
  • Strong drawing or painting skills – including graffiti artists.
  • Strong interest in installations, assemblage, collage, found object installations.
  • Objects and small sculptures, if it is all right to photograph them and use them as 2D images.
  • Interest in public artworks, strong spatial sense for dealing with the local environment.
What unfortunately does not fit so well right now are:
  • Video or animated movies, as this requires large bandwidth.
  • Traditional sculptors may be frustrated, as we cannot make very complex, organic or finely detailed forms in 3-D computer graphics. Sculptures might have to be represented as cut-out photographs.
Artists need not be computer graphic or media artists, and do not need programming skills. Comfort using computers is however a plus.
Experience in the following areas is helpful, although not required for all artists:
  • Photoshop
  • Some experience with simple animations (e.g. Flash, animated GIFs)
  • Sound editing (again simple – professional sound designers may be frustrated by low-fi bandwidth)
  • 3D modeling programs,with experience making low polygon count models – AR cannot do high resolution models! – a game design orientation rather than a film animation orientation. 

Artists with experience using augmented reality platforms should of course also apply! The project uses the augmented reality platform Layar (, and the augmented reality content servers Hoppala ( and porPOIse ( A strong visual and spatial sense is however more important than technical and programming skills.

All artists for the initial workshop should be genuinely interested in working with and helping the other artists in the group.

All artists should be willing and able to participate in the full duration of the project, culminating in the exhibition in Spring 2015.

All artists for the initial workshop should be willing and interested in working with others in the group, and helping each other.

If you are interested in participating in the Mi Querido Barrio project, please send in the following materials:
  • A Letter of Interest of no more than a page in length which outlines your skills and background as an artist and why you want to participate on this project
  • A one to two page resume
  • A sample of your work preferably in digital form
All applications can be made via our online submission form:

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Augmented Reality (AR), Comic Books & 1960s Activism
I have the honor of being selected as an artist by the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute CCCADI as part of their Mi Querido Barrio project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. I was inspired to create an AR (Augmented Reality) based on the Young Lords Party garbage offensive of August 1969. For this project I art directed a piece based on this demonstration and brought on legendary artist Carlos Pacheco (Superman, Captain America, X-Men, Avengers) to illustrate my ideas. Next I approached the amazingly talented Christopher Sotomayor to digitally paint the piece. The multi-talented powerhouse that is the theater company Universes, provided an excerpt from the song American written by UNIVERSES' William Ruiz for their play Party People and it was mixed especially for this video by D-Stroy Melendez. The video was directed by myself and animated by José A. Gutierrez Rivera. This video will be part of an AR that will be viewable when you walk with your smartphone or tablet on 110th Street between Park and Lexington in East Harlem, or as we endearingly refer to it as Mi Querido Barrio.

The New York Times profiled me in their City Blog for a piece entitled: With a Virtual Tour, Preserving the History of East Harlem

Here are some reference photos I used for my art direction:
Young Lords Party ©Michael Ambramson
© Michael Abramson from Palante: Young Lords Party

Here is the sketch by Carlos Pacheco based on my art direction and photo references:
Young Lords Party

These are the final pencils and inks by Carlos Pacheco. We added a woman in the front and expanded the height of the image to include the fist and brooms:
Young Lords Party

Here is the basic color guide I prepared for digital painter Christopher Sotomayor. My main points were to maintain the Puerto Rican flag with a light blue triangle symbolizing the independence movement, the purple berets, the buttons on berets and the dashiki in the front:
Young Lords Party

Here are the final colors as digitally painted by the master Christopher Sotomayor who's credits include coloring for Marvel's Avengers, X-Men, Hulk, Captain America, etc. He does an amazing job here of bringing the flames of protest to life:
Young Lords Party

This gives you a behind the scenes of my creative process with my artists. I'll be posting other stories as this project moves forward to give you all an inside look into my work at Studio Edgardo.

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Edgardo's Blog
Writing about art and design. That is what this blog is all about. At Studio Edgardo, our approach to our work can be compared to the work of an artist creating a new masterpiece. Here you will read about our technique and you will also get insight that will help you with your next project. At times we will also discuss current trends in design, web, video and art and how they relate to our studio and our work.