Some time has gone by since our last AR talks but don’t worry – we are coming back with a bang! Today let’s welcome another awesome artist – Kushtrim Juniku. Based in Albania, Kushtrim works among others as a Visual Stage Designer, AR Creator, and has his own studio – everything was born out of passion and it only takes one look at his works to be completely mesmerized 🤩✨Behind great art there is always a great story – and here is Kushtrim’s.
Hi Kushtrim! We would love to hear how your journey with art started! Was there any unexpected point in your life that led you to become an artist or was everything clear for you from the beginning?
Hi! First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share with you my artistic journey!
Since my early childhood, my favorite activities included drawing, painting, and sculpting with plasticine clay.
Growing up, I realized this was more than a hobby for me, so I decided to study at the Arts High School of Kosova. After that, I moved to Tirana, Albania to study Post Production in a professional school. This is when I figured out that I wanted to pursue a career in Visual Arts.
Your Instagram feed is full of colorful lights – can you tell us more about why you pursue this theme? Light art and laser installations seem to be your thing!
Instagram nowadays is a powerful tool to express ourselves in the community and I must admit, I really enjoy sharing my work with light and laser installations. They are indeed my thing and the colorful theme came to life unconsciously, since I don’t do any planning for the grid.
While we are at this subject – is this how you created the Kuju Studio and the Kuju Light Festival was born? What was the inspiration behind it?
Back in the days, KUJU was my artistic name that came out from the initials of my full name: KU-shtrim JU-niku .
I am originally an Art Director with a background in advertising, music videos, and motion design.
After several years, me and my partner noticed a huge gap in the events industry in Albania and decided to offer our artistic knowledge and creativity in order to make a difference by offering different Immersive Experiences and Art Installations for brands, corporate events, nightclubs, festivals, etc.
And like so, we founded KUJU STUDIO, which quickly became a powerful and innovative business, offering our services not only in Albania but also across the borders of our region.
Regarding KUJU LIGHT FESTIVAL, everything started as a personal initiative of the two of us, with the purpose of making our work and practice accessible to everyone, in order for our people to have an unforgettable experience during the End-of-Year Celebrations.
What inspires you to create the most – is it the community, music, or something different? Have your life experiences influenced your aesthetic style somehow?
I mostly get inspired by technology, innovation, and progress. I am an Albanian of Kosovo, and as you may know, our people have faced some tough challenges throughout the years, culminating with the war. I’ve been a refugee during those times and I must admit that my life experience has a strong impact on my practice.
Those years have taught me that life must be lived to the fullest and that is the main thing that drives my creativity.
If you could use 3 words to describe your AR filters – which ones would you choose and why?
- Freedom – because my AR journey started during the pandemic as a way of “escaping” the quarantine.
- Playful – because I enjoy creating AR games
- Surreal – because I like my AR sculptures to be otherworldly
What would you say about the attitude towards AR in Albania? Are many people excited to discover new ways of creating art in AR or is it still not yet popular?
From what I’ve seen, it is still in the first steps and mostly based on standard face filters.
We have tried to give it more popularity by implementing AR as a virtual edition of KUJU LIGHT FESTIVAL during the second edition (since events and gatherings were not allowed) but the feedback wasn’t as expected.
Also, I haven’t noticed any other Albanian artist in International exhibitions except me and my partner (Antonela Binaj).
We have noticed you already have plans for 2022! How does it feel to be the Creative Director of the UNUM Festival? What are you most excited about?
It’s a great pleasure working with the amazing crew of the UNUM Festival, and I’d like to thank the organizers (who also happen to be our friends) for trusting and appreciating our work and vision.
We have worked together on several projects for the last couple of years, but UNUM is definitely the biggest and the most important one. Unum 2021 was also The First Post Pandemic Music Festival Worldwide!
We can’t wait for the next edition, which will be 1-6 June 2022 and the tickets are already on sale.
How do you see the future of AR and where do you see yourself in this world? Do you have any plans or dreams?
We actually see the AR – as THE FUTURE!
After several collective exhibitions worldwide, I am now working on some personal ones, which I can’t wait to show to the community.
Me and my partner (Antonela Binaj) are also working on a very special AR project, which is the first of its kind and will be announced soon.
And the last question – do you have any tips or inspiring quotes to say for those who are only starting their AR journey?
Looking at other artists for inspiration is great, but don’t compare your work to others and let it get you down.
Everyone has their own unique, individual style. Everyone is also at a different stage in their artistic journey.
Thank you so much for the interview, Kushtrim! 👏🏻 We cannot wait to see your next ARt and good luck with the upcoming events 🚀🥳