This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows us well but here at The Edinburgh Reporter we love technology. We are particularly fond of QR codes. We also quite like art although we don’t really like the elitism that often goes with it, so here is an exhibition that we are looking forward to as it banished the snobbery and uses QR codes!

In the very first use of fine art in this manner, Edinburgh-based artist Trevor Jones has created a series of abstract paintings that double as QR codes linked to a website about the exhibition they will shown in, at Union Gallery on Edinburgh’s Broughton Street, and about abstract art in general.


This is a fascinating meeting of art and technology, and demonstrates how art can be successfully connected with the modern world.  Trevor Jones has a growing reputation for the quality of his exceptional abstract paintings, and these three are no different: they simply have a function beyond appreciation of the art.  The possibilities are self-evident.  As Jones says:-


‘These QR code paintings are a  21st century Pandora’s Box in that each time the painting is scanned it’s very possible something new will “pop out”. Thanks to Social Media, Twitter feeds and Facebook plugins, people can “like” and comment on the site and the artwork, and they can quickly see what others are saying about it also. I don’t know of any other artist using new technology, social media and paint quite like this and so it’s very exciting.’


The website also has a feature that enables any artist to upload their own images to the site and add information for buyers.  These images will be on a slideshow display at Union Gallery throughout the exhibition, making this potentially the largest ever gallery exhibition.


Trevor Jones’ paintings will be exhibited at Union Gallery in August as part of the ‘Mark of Beauty’ exhibition.  This exhibition, curated by art historian Bill Hare, is an exploration of the best of contemporary Scottish abstract painting. This exceptional exhibition brings together for the first time a range of artists who have dedicated their unique talents to explore the creative and challenging possibilities that abstraction continues to offer, both to the painter and the viewer.  As well as the work by Trevor Jones, the exhibition includes work by such luminaries as John McLean, Fred Pollock and Iain Robertson, as well as newly graduated artist Zara Idelson, winner of the Abstract Critical Newcomer prize in Scotland this year.


You can scan the attached image or wait to do so with the actual painting when it is in the gallery.  Give it a go! Now the other thing is that when you are at the gallery you can use the Wikitude App, search for The Edinburgh Reporter and you will be able to access this article on your phone.


MOB (Mark of Beauty) Union Gallery Broughton Street Edinburgh

07.08.12 – 03.09.12

Opening Times

Monday – Saturday 10.30 to 18.00

Sunday 12.00 to 18.00


  1. Cheers for the article Phyllis. I like QR codes too! I’m now on a mission to get everyone I know with a smartphone to download a barcode scanner app. Underlying this project was the notion that technology can enable the democratisation of the art, which has always been important to me. I work for a charity that lends original Scottish art to hospitals and healthcare settings throughout the country and its been a mission to find ways to help people engage more with the artwork, some of which can admittedly be somewhat “inaccessible”. All 1350 of our artworks now have QR codes and individual webpage with links to more information about the pictures and the medium, as well as a growing resource of videos of the artists actually talking about their work and practice. I’m not big on the elitist mentality that so often permeates the world of fine art and through new technology and QR codes a bridge can hopefully be built to address this to some extent. Again, thanks very much and I hope you can make the opening 7 August at the UNION gallery.


  2. Hi Nathan, thanks for the compliment and yes, artists have been using barcodes for a few years now. Scott Blake is another one doing great stuff with barcodes and I think his work is actually more creative than Trowbridge’s or Coupland’s (although perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing)

    The difference between mine and the others though is the fact that it’s much more inclusive and “democratic”. I’ve collaborated with an IT company to create a website made specifically for these paintings that, among many things, allow anyone in the world to upload their own artwork to the online gallery. The site is also social media fueled in that people can very easily like, comment or share any of the artwork (over 300 images added already)or academic essays found on the site. My intention was to create a continuously changing and evolving “painting” thanks to the ideas and input of others. As far as I know there aren’t any other artists who have used QR codes in this manner.

Comments are closed.