Nagata Takeshi and Monno Kazue – the creative forces behind the PikaPika project and they are here to share their thoughts about the art of light painting and its future with us!
What started only as a simple idea, now became a new fun thing for people to meet, mingle and make art. Armed with flashlights, cameras and lots of illuminated imaginations, they are here paint the night with colours! So who’s to blame for this? Actually they’re two – Nagata Takeshi and Monno Kazue – the creative forces behind the PikaPika project and they are here to share their thoughts about the art of light painting and its future with us!
What is PikaPika? How did you get the idea for this project? And where do you see the future of PikaPika?
Nagata Takeshi/Monno Kazue: PikaPika is a project that brightens you with flowers. People from all walks of life gather and do graffiti in the air with light. Graffiti used with light printed on a photography is shared with everyone and gives them a good time while doing it. The idea for the project came about when we planned an animation workshop where anyone can participate in. I knew that one can draw a picture with light through photography, and I was wondering if I can apply this concept to making an animation. Once we started, people got involved in the workshop, promoted better communication, and had more interesting output than expected. We then thought we would continue to use this interesting method. From there, we made several artworks whenever we have a free time and there came these different people such as workaholic friends who are in creative business, people I met through the internet who love doing creative things, or friends from abroad. More and more people joined along the way as we continue to do this projects. It was in 2005 when I put these cute pictures together and made one video,the new dimension of was born in this project. Someone who saw the video really liked what we’re doing and then we were invited to film festivals, live performances and workshops.We would like to create feature film with story in the future. We also would love to expand our shooting site to more interesting places such as under the sea.
How much planning do you do before starting a light painting project/idea? How much is improvised and how much is choreographed?
NT/MK: It depends on the work. Basically, we do not spend much time on preparation because each participant brings their idea and do an improvisation. However for a client work, we start shooting after a carefully planned storyboard. We still leave some space for random ideas though. For example, if there are letters, human or any kind of characters appearing in a scene, we make a plan for camera work and lighting according to the timeline so that we can show characters effectively. For other scenes, we do it randomly.
When did you first discover light painting as an art form? Did it always just make sense to you or did it take you some time to really see the light?
NT/MK: We’ve seen many long-exposure photographs such as the one taken with the rear lamp of a car, and I thought light is artistic as photography. After we drew a picture with light during a workshop, I started seeing it as an art to participate in, not to see.
Have you shot with Lomography cameras before or are you new to the whole thing?
NT/MK: Yes. Some of my friends had them and I really like its unique tone of the picture.
Tell us a bit about your experience creating light-painting masterpieces with the Diana F+ camera?
NT/MK: We first used a brownie film (120 film), but unfortunately we cannot see the outcome right away and this is important since the other participants need to see the results as well and let them know if ever they did a good one or not. At that time, we thought Diana F+ is not suitable to PIKA PIKA project. However after using “Diana Instant Back” that uses Fujifilm Instax Mini we started working on a new challenge. We can now have one and only one PIKA PIKA film on the moment.
We also had a workshop where we used a cutoff animation with light painting which turned out to be a great success! Families and friends created their own artwork and took their own flipbook home. Take a look at their amazing video, which shows you how it was done!
If your light-painting animations had a soundtrack, what 3 songs would definitely be on it? (song title & artist please)
NT/MK: Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, Röyksopp – “Eple” , The Cinematic Orchestra – “Diabolus” and Naoto Taguchi & rurarakiss – “unti” （The soundtrack that we used this time）!
Tell us about a place in your hometown that really lights you up – a restaurant, bookstore, café, bar, park… anywhere we should not miss when visiting.
NT/MK: Lucky garden (Sri- Lankan restaurant) "http://luckygarden.jp/":http://luckygarden.jp/. We often go to the curry shop in the woods with Napoleon, our pet dog whose picture is printed on PIKA PIKA T-shirt. First-timers often get lost, so please call Tochika an we will take you there!
If you could have unlimited painters, flashlights, and batteries, what would be the most ambitious light-painting project you would create?
NT/MK: That is a wonderful question! Let’s make a PIKAPIKA that can be seen from the universe. Alien might give us a reply perhaps!!??
Tell us the most important things to keep in mind when trying light painting on our own – what are the typical mistakes? What are the tips that make light painting easy? Please enlighten us!
NT/MK: The important thing is not to think too seriously about it. We believe in a happy accidents. Take it easy, enjoy yourself, get your favourite drink, and just try light painting with your friends, family, boyfriend/girlfriend, or someone in your mind! You can then successfully capture your happy feeling in your photographs! You will like them even they do not look perfect!
What advice can you give other Diana F+ shooters who want to light up the world with their own light-painting experiments?
Let’s not keep your artworks within ourselves. Share them with other people through your network and you will meet new people, the faster it will spread! There will be a new communication built among people with different language, culture and religion. I am looking forward to seeing you somewhere soon. Let’s go out and play together!