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PlayART by Tapook: app of the day
What is it?
A new iPad app that aims to spark your creativity by playing with famous artworks. In theory it's aimed at 5-13 year-old children, but adults will have just as much fun with it.
The fact that you can splice elements from different paintings together: think mixing Van Gogh's sunflowers with Paul Cézanne's apples and pears.
iPad - free
If you'd have suggested to Vincent Van Gogh that his most famous works might look better mashed up with those of his rivals, he'd have probably given you a funny look. Well, that's if you suggested it to his good ear, obviously.
PlayART by Tapook is an iPad app that does just that, though. It includes works by five artists - Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau and Paul Klee - and involves pulling out elements, then rotating, resizing and arranging them to make your own creations.
Okay, so it's supposed to be for kids. 5-13 year-olds, specifically: an innovative way to get them interested in art, rather than dragging them round galleries with an audio-bore guide and a worksheet to fill in.
It's a great alternative in that sense, but having played with it for a couple of hours, I can say that PlayART is just as much fun for adults, whatever your level of art-buffery.
The app is well designed, for sure, with a menu bar of picture elements at the bottom of the screen, editing tools up the right-hand side, and loading/saving buttons on the left. Multi-touch gestures make resizing and moving the elements simple.
Once you finish a picture, you can save it to 'My Museum', where your completed works hang on a virtual wall. Facebook is also tied in for wider sharing with friends and family, or you can save images to your iPad's photo gallery to email or print.
There's straight educational content too: videos about each artist, narrated by children - and thus designed to appeal to children too - explaining their lives.
All in all, it's really good fun: an art app that doesn't batter you over the head with facts and dusty analysis, but instead draws you into the paintings by engaging your creativity.