Have you ever boarded an AR train? 💥🚞
Today, you’ll get a chance! ✨ Our dear guest and yet another extraordinary digital artist, Kenichiro Takamatsu, will take you on a magical journey to the land of dreams, art and emotions. 💫 Known by the AR Community as Kenxxxooo, Kenichiro is far from an ordinary artist – apart from AR, he works as a videographer and content producer. Find out what’s the story behind his designs, what he wishes to express through AR and… hop inside Kenxxxooo’s Virtual Train Gallery! ⭐️
Virtual Train Gallery by Kenxxxooo
Let your thoughts fly away and embark on a magical, other-worldly journey with Kenxxxooo. 🚂 This mystical desert-train ride hides a lot of extra surprises… Take a look around, come closer to the windows and discover what’s beyond this space! 💫
With your Effects it seems that you tend to add something to the world we live in and not create your own totally separate world – that way you’re just bringing something new to our ordinary lives. Tell us, how did you come up with your style? And how would you describe it yourself?
Actually, I am not sure what my style of visuals is, but my creative concept is always the same from the beginning.
It is related to my creative concept. My creative concept is to make people feel simple emotions, just fun, wow, and laugh in ordinary lives. So I love to add something to real life.
Nowadays you’re one of the most recognizable AR Creators all over the globe. But everyone started somewhere, so could you tell us the story of why you chose this way of expressing yourself?
I’m happy to hear that, and I hope l can do it. I used to live in Cambodia until 2019, before Covid19. I was a producer, video director, and founder of talent development for locals for 6 years. So I had always thought about how our singers can get more interest from the audience to be more famous, and I figured out ideas for expanding their lives and concerts using AR (not Social AR). But it didn’t work for many reasons… After that, I learned about AR for my personal interest and found Social AR.
If you check the Filters you have on your profile, the very first ones are facemasks. But now it seems that you’re concentrating more on World AR effects. Why the sudden change? Or was it a plan from the very beginning?
It’s not a planned story. My creative concept and mind are the same from the beginning, so I made just a funny face filter for just fun. I couldn’t use 3D when I started AR at all. So I started with a face filter using my 2D graphic skills for fun and practice. And I thought about how I can use AR as my own art, and how I can make art more fun.
AR art is 100% digital, so I thought that I can make AR art everywhere, like digital graffiti using google map. But I choose collaboration as AR Mural with artists who are interested. It’s the same reason with my creative concept, just for fun.
The collaborations are working well for both sides, especially because I could make many friends in the world during this pandemic and my 3D skill had grown up. I really look forward to meeting them. But my creative concept is always the same from the beginning.
Although not everyone is aware of it, it seems that most of the time, your Effects come with a backstory or a bigger idea behind them. Where do you find your inspiration and how does your creative process look from getting inspired to finishing an AR Effect?
I’m thinking about whether a child can simply enjoy it. So I need to think like a child to get inspiration. Power, timing, direction, and voice. Kids don’t make a distinction between VFX, movies, and AR, and are simply interested in fun things, so even if each piece has a different concept or backstory, I will cut it if the kids can’t enjoy it in the end. So, just before the completion of the artwork, the adult me and the child me are fighting.
For AR collaboration, I will make some sketches after a video call with the artist. So normally my inspiration will come up from the conversation, what is their concept, where is the location and how big the space of the mural. Most of my work is done with a sense of inspiration, but as a technical committee, it is important to match the density of the background with the density of the detail of the object.
You’ve come a long way from the very beginning of your career in Extended Reality to where you are now. We’re barely keeping up with all of the ARt exhibitions you’re taking part in! Have you ever imagined that one day your works will be presented all over the globe to thousands of people? What do you think was the key for you to succeed?
I always think about how cool it would be if people are using/seeing my AR artwork in daily life. So I am always looking for AR exhibitions to keep my motivation.
At the same time, I’m trying to make opportunities to appear AR experience as AR producer in public to show people the potential of AR and I’m doing AR workshops for futures AR artists. So the key is to keep creating as AR art and expand the AR industry as AR producer.
I’m doing an AR ART Exhibition in Japan now, and I’m learning a lot about how I can expand my artwork. Actually, AR art can be used everywhere by anyone, but it’s a bit hard to use them so far for non-tech people. so we can do storytelling and interactive action, but users can’t see it without explanation.
So I will continue to make an AR mural / graffiti and AR stuff using an environment with better UX and UI for people who don’t know AR.
As we’ve mentioned, you took part in so many different AR exhibitions. To name a few as examples, your works were presented during Digital Art Month in New York City, Digital Art Month in Paris, VMF AR Art Festival in Vancouver and so much more. What is your favorite memory from these events and overall – do you think AR works best when featured in the real world with a group of people, instead through the selfie camera?
Yes, I think AR works well with groups of people as entertainment. The normal place becomes a kind of landmark using AR, so people can enjoy it as a theme park. And people can be childlike when playing with friends easier.
My favorite part of the AR festival is when people mention me for their SNS. Actually I want to go there to see the reactions from people using my AR. And I am so appreciative of those AR art festivals, they are completely pioneers of the industry and I’m happy that they accept my artworks.
Right now you’re in the middle of Japan’s very first exhibition using only social AR. Moreover, this time you’re flying solo! Could you tell us more about it? What’s the concept behind it?
The combination of sushi and AR art is very new to me as a Japanese person, and I am very grateful to “Amane” for providing the place. This place is where you can eat sushi in the gallery, so people who have no interest in AR or art will also come here for a meal.
The most important thing here is whether people who are not interested can enjoy it. And I can update the usability and presentation during the exhibition period on the reaction of people.
At the same time, I and the gallery invited other artists, brands, and local governments to share the potential of AR.
Your exhibition takes place in a Sushi Restaurant of all places. There’s definitely a bigger idea behind such a choice! Why did you want to integrate your AR in a casual yet a little odd space? Is it a new way of fusion cuisine – mixing AR with dining? 😏
I love to make use of the environment and it is a strong point of AR, so this is perfect for my challenge 😉
I’ve heard that your AR Avatar will guide visitors through your artwork! Why did you decide to make such a move? Will it be a robotic hologram, just a voice talking in the background of AR or maybe something else? Tell us all about this new version of You!
I will make my avatar in the middle of this exhibition based on the reaction from visitors. So I’m thinking about it now.
How do you see your future in the AR world? Do you think the concept of AR will change as well as the way people perceive and use it? Looking at the number of events featuring AR – and you – it seems like it’s getting more and more popular and acknowledged every day.
I’m still not sure whether NFT fits me or not. However, I think that technology will be indispensable for the development of AR art. As an SF and cyberpunk fan, I imagine the future of AR like this. We purchase digital fashion/objects as an NFT in Metaverse and wear it in the real world using AR glasses. So we can see people walking with digital art on their heads, people walking with digital dogs, and we can personalize the decoration of the city.
Together with this interview we release your personal virtual space. It was created to acknowledge specifically your vision of art and the world in general. Could you tell everyone who is with us, what is the main concept of it? What was the main idea you put into it?
The creative concept is the same with my artwork, I want to make people enjoy simple emotions. The visual concept is Kaos but the slow animation rhythm will create balance to make it easy to see.
As you know our main focus at Lenslist is the Creators Community that you’re also a big part of. Moreover, you’re known for a lot of different collaborations with graffiti/mural artists from all over the world. What does the community bring into your art or the way you approach your creative process? What’s the biggest treasure of such teamworks?
The community is very important to get new stuff, info, and ideas. Because I got into the AR industry from the art side, but other Creators have other backgrounds (programming, 3D…) so, the community will expand my idea from every perspective.
Those perspectives help me to stop being too maniac.
And last but definitely not least, what advice would you give young artists or more specifically AR Creators that just started their journey? Do you have any secret tips or tricks that you’re willing to share with the world?
Just have fun 😉 Make what you feel is fun 😊 and share to the community to get reactions.
We’d like to give many thanks to Kenichiro for the visionary introduction, trusting us with the gallery and an inspiring interview! 💜 We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity of working with him. ✨ We also hope Kenichiro’s visions and our virtual space allows you to spend a truly magical time onboard the AR train. 🚞 All that’s left to say is… stay tuned for more projects from Kenxxxooo!