Want to try something new for promoting your next exhibition or include a bit of nifty technology in your next art project? Try a QR code (those funny black and white squares you see on adverts in magazines, billboards, and tube station posters); you’ll need an tablet or smartphone with a camera and an app that can scan QR codes, such as this one: 


The original intent of QR codes (or Quick Response Codes) is something like a bar code. Once the pictograph is scanned (by your tablet or smartphone), you’ll be taken to a website to read more about the product, or perhaps to watch a YouTube video, or see an image.

Of course, artists and creatives have been using QR codes for years; here’s a few examples of what can be done: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/qr-code-artworks/

I’ve used QR codes a few times myself, to tell a little art joke:

Kelise Franclemont, ‘QRitique’, 2012, ink on paper (scanned with smartphone), in ‘Digital Subversion 1’ at Wimbledon College of Arts, London. Photo courtesy the artist.

…When the code is scanned, the viewer goes to this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxEmnxiUz8w

And in another project “A Walk Through Palestine” (2015, installation), when the code is scanned, the viewer can listen to the “audio guide” soundtrack that accompanies the exhibit:

Besides including the QR code in the actual art project, here are some other uses that an artist might find handy, such as using them to provide a link to your website or electronic invitation on:

  • The press release
  • Catalogues
  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Other promotional materials

Create your own QR code – it’s super easy!

So how do you make one?

It’s really easy. First, go to a website on which you can generate the QR code. A quick Google search found these:

So I used http://www.qrstuff.com for this one. I opened the website, entered the website URL I wanted a code for, and presto, on the right-hand side was a little box with the QR code in it. From here, the code can be downloaded as a .jpg image or even just take a screenshot of it, saving it as a .png, .gif, or .jpg. or some other image format.

Image courtesy QRstuff.com
Image courtesy QRstuff.com

Then it can be added like any other graphic in your project. Now you try it!

More links and information about QR codes