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  • Date
    27 JUNE 2023
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    Into the KiraKira dimension of Saeko Ehara

    Saeko Ehara is a Kirakira (sparkling) artist and VJ based in Tokyo. Her works mainly represent the essence of the Japanese word Kirakira. In her latest works, she explores combining AI and Generative Art. She keeps learning and exploring the expressions of Kirakira with multiple ways. In fact, her main inspiration comes from memories and joys of her childhood. She was into drawing, collecting Kirakira cards of her favorite Anime, stickers, toys, acrylic jewels, small glassworks and reading illustrated books of flowers.  

    She keeps learning and exploring the expressions of Kirakira with multiple ways. In her latest works, she managed combining AI and Generative Art 

    We asked Saeko about her works and how she would love to make the world full of Kirakira.

    Which aspects of yourself and what message do you want to share during the immersive vjing experiences you create?

    My goal is to make the world full of Kirakira (sparkling) through my works. This is the same when I am VJing.

    Most of the time I perform with the sound artist Shuta Yasukochi. Before our performance, we discuss theme, structure of visuals and music a lot. We create the content together, taking into consideration the location and the time length of performance. For us, it is important to value how the audience can forget the time and enjoy.

    What are the elements that make the union between visual art and music perfect for you?

    I have been a VJ in the Japanese music industry for 13 years. From my experience, I always feel the visual is a part of all the elements. Especially in the concert, audiences visit venues to see performance of musician. In addition to music, concerts are composed of various elements such as visuals, lighting, illumination, and stage sets. In these elements, I think it is important to consider how visuals can complement music together with the other elements.

    In order to unite visuals and music, I always ask myself, "How can I make my visuals fit with music?". Besides, it is important to test at the venue and check whether the visuals match the music or not.

    Are you also inspired by your childhood sonorities to accompany your installations?

    The expression of Kirakira comes from memories of my childhood. I always loved collecting and looking at Kirakira cards of my favorite anime, and accessories. When I was looking at Kirakira, I felt so happy and forgot time passed. The impression I got at that time is still an important inspiration.

    Would you like to start producing music that reflects the sparkling-KiraKira  dimension?

    No, I am not thinking of making music. I have seen various performances so far, and I want to ask to collaborate with musicians. The sounds created by musicians have depth and quality. I have no idea how they make the sounds, and it must have  taken many years and practices to get there. I have a lot of respect for musicians’  passion for music, and I do not think it would be easy for me to try and imitate that.  So I would like to collaborate with musicians.

    How has your artistic experimentation changed with the use of AI?

    I think that working with AI has expanded the range of visual expressions. It takes a lot of trial and error to create a good image with AI, but it is easily to create an image with a completely different style. I started working with AI experimentally last year since a lot of artists tried out Midjourney and posted their results on Twitter. In the beginning, I mainly created artworks with flower motifs, but in the process of creation, I started wondering if I could create something inspired by history of art.

    Therefore, I incorporated images created by AI into my works, and through explorations, I figured out an expression such as my recent works. I started creating            art with oil paintings, so I always recreate and get inspired by the paintings of art masters, combine them with generative animation, and bring them into digital expression.

    I believe that working with AI is transforming my own personal expression into universal expression that is able to enjoy for people from different backgrounds.

    How do you think it could further change? Do you have any innovative projects in mind that specifically involve AI?

    I think that many interesting AI tools will come out in the future. I feel excited in the future will probably be possible to express easily something technically difficult now. This year, I have the opportunity to exhibit at an immersive space, so I would like to use AI there as well. It is a lot of fun to be able to work on various themes by using AI. I would be very happy if I could freely express new inspirations and create Kirakira in various places.

    Interview By Amaemi

    Image Courtesy Saeko Ehara