In un ambiente, artistico e professionale, in cui sempre più spesso il riconoscimento di una precisa levatura artistica è determinato, soprattutto a livello grafico e visuale, più dalla capacità di utilizzo eclettico del software open source più recente che da una visione estetica più ampia e stilisticamente matura e riconoscibile, il lavoro del visual artist, vj e motion graphic designer giapponese/americano Motomichi Nakamura, riconcilia con la semplicità, la dinamicità e la potenza espressiva della graphic animation.
Flash si sà, è un software le cui potenzialità, sia in ambito progettuale web che in un contesto più artistico, è universalmente riconosciuta ma da pochi conosciuta in profondità, nonostante quello che molti accreditati pensano e dicono. Certo, è un software proprietario, non dà la possibilità di mettere mano al codice né tanto meno di condividere i file sorgente, ma quando vi capiterà di venire a contatto con il lavoro di Motomichi Nakamura, con la sua capacità di usare questo tool di animazione vettoriale in un modo assolutamente unico e personale, beh allora probabilmente direte ma chi se ne frega!
Dotato di un talento visivo visionario quanto ironico, di un tratto grafico pulito e come detto del tutto riconoscibile nel suo uso di tinte piatte, accostamenti cromatici, di linee nette e definite, Motomichi Nakamura ha il pregio di riuscire a tradurre in immagini un mondo interiore fatto di personaggi post umani, spesso crudeli e spaventosi, con un retaggio da anime giapponese filtrato però con la visione cinica e impaurita del mondo occidentale. Tutti i characters, le animazioni, gli oggetti e le stampe di Motomichi Nakamura riescono a non perdere però una feroce ironia di fondo che rende il messaggio più “morbido” ed “efficace” allo stesso tempo. Ho avuto il piacere di conoscere Motomichi Nakamura in occasione dell’evento Screen Music curato da Digicult a Firenze lo scorso Dicembre (http://www.digicult.it/2006/ScreenMusic.asp) , in cui l’artista era stato invitato per accompagnare il live set di Otto Von Schirach, musicista Idm di Miami che non ha bisogno di presentazioni. Il link era nato nella mia testa quando vidi due videoclip preparati da Motomichi per Otto, Laptops&Martin’s e quelli per il progetto Evoe. Il link tra musica e immagini è semplice quanto immediato ed efficace, al punto da spingermi a proporre ai due artisti un live set audio-video per il festival fiorentino.
Curioso è stato poi scoprire che i due non solo non erano mai stati invitati da nessuno a performare insieme (!!!), ma che la risultante della loro sinergia ha reso la prima mondiale di Firenze un evento unico e memorabile per entrambi.
Marco Mancuso: Would you like to tell me how did you started graphic design activity? If you started/studied classical graphic design arriving to digital graphic design or if you approached digital graphic animation from the beginning?
Motomichi Nakamura: I went to Parsons School of Design in New York and studied Communication Design and Illustration. I was a senior in school in 1996, a time when the web design industry was growing at an extremely fast pace in New York and that made it very easy for me to focus on digital design and animation during my last year of school and to become involved in the indurstry after I graduated.
Marco Mancuso: Do you consider yourself more a graphic designers or a visual artist as well? Which is, in your opinion, the difference between them?
Motomichi Nakamura: I consider myself a visual artist. In my opinion graphic design is more of a project based activity, where visual work is produced to be in line with a brand or client’s perspective. In the case of visual art work, the work expresses more of the artist’s personal perspective and it’s consistent with the artist’s visual style regardless of wether the project is comissioned by a client or not.
Marco Mancuso: You use Flash as a powerful graphic/animation tool, and you seem not so interested in Action Scripting potentialities (in your visual communication of course, maybe for web design is different). In the same time you don’t seem so interested in softwares like Processing, VVVV, Max, Pd or others, like many other graphic designers and visual artists are ding now. Why Flash is so strictly linked to your way of expression?
Motomichi Nakamura: I have used action scripting for some of my web related projects in the past, but in my current work I prefer to focus on creating graphics and animation rather than on developing interactivity. I really like the sharp quality of vector based graphics and that’s why most of elements in my animation are created using Adobe Illustrator and Flash is great for animating vector based graphics and outputing my animation to video format.
Marco Mancuso: Your graphics, characters, colours, animations are really well recognizible. Did you study/think about it? How much is important for you to be recongizible from the others?
Motomichi Nakamura: I had always preferred to work with limited colors and simple graphical elements even while I was still in school. I’ve kept on simplifying my graphics over the years and that’s how my current style came out to be.
I think that in general it’s important for artists to have a recognizable style. Not because I place much importance in being “original” but because I believe that we all have something unique to share and that art is a great outlet for expressing our differences.
Marco Mancuso: And what all your graphics and characters rappresents? How much are characteristic of your personality and thinking? Sometimes it speaks about violence and terror in a very ironic way…
Motomichi Nakamura: I try to explore both positive and negative aspects of human nature through my characters and to view themes like fear, obsession, anger and innocence with an open mind and some sense of humor.
Marco Mancuso: When I met you, I was thinking that your way of being was a mix between eastern and western mentality and aestethic. Do you think this is true and its reflected in your graphic designa and visual aesthetic?
Motomichi Nakamura: This is certainly the case, I grew up in Japan but moved to the U.S. when I was still in high school. I also lived for a few years in South America after I graduated from college. Both of these experiences living outside of Japan have influenced my work very much. At the same time I also feel that my Japanese background remains always very strong and this is also reflected in my work.
Marco Mancuso: How is living in New York today for a graphic design / artist like you? Are you linked to New York club scene like Monkeytown or others?
Motomichi Nakamura: I’ve had the opportunity to perform at Monkey Town and other venues in New York. I think living in New York is great for me simply because it’s a very multicultural city where artists and non-artists from different backgrounds can live very comfortably. I think there are many good opportunities for graphic designers in New York. In terms of digital media art maybe not as many as for graphic designers. I think there needs to be more investment in venues and events in order for digital art to really take off in New York.
Marco Mancuso: You worked also with some musicians in the past, expecially with the great Otto Von Shirach. How did you work for a music visualization ina videoclip? What about your live shows and how was your first live experience with Otto at Screen Music festival last December?
Motomichi Nakamura: I think that animation and a music combine very naturally, when I work on visuals for a music track I follow pretty much the same process as when I create other animations, the difference is that I let the theme and feeling of the music guide a lot of the visual choices and the rhythm of the animation. I really enjoy collaborating with musicians and I specially had a great experience working with Otto and have been working with him for quite some time, but we never had the chance to perform together on stage. So I think the performance in Florence was a great experience and a lot of fun for us. Otto creates so much energy on stage, for me I think it was one of the best performances I have ever done.