The Lomo’Instant Explorer was specially designed by KristopherH for Lomography x Fashion Walk: Be An Explorer — held in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. From Nike to Facebook, Kris has worked with an impressive line up of international brands. A mass of intricate blue illustrations, his signature style transports us to a surreal city with fantasy ferris wheels, towering toadstools and humongous, rusty robots. We invited Kris to share his thoughts on the design and to share his wall work at Tai Ping Shan Street, Hong Kong.
Welcome to the Lomography Magazine, Kris! Others have introduced you as an artist, what would you say about yourself?
I guess “artist” should be a title given by others. I was an Illustrator when I was graduated from university, as this is my major, and now I work with everything — which includes drawing. From editorials to campaigns, or brand building activities, I participate in the drawing part. Therefore, I always introduce my job as “creative”.
How did you come up with the idea of the surreal city on Lomo’Instant Explorer?
The illustration of the Lomo’Instant Explorer actually is the third edition of the design. Originally, I created two editions of a flower pattern, but it didn't seem dedicated enough. We had hoped to create an art piece on the illustration’s own, and to be compatible on the camera too.
After a few discussions, I decided to stick with the theme of urban explorer, which brought up a project I started since my drawing life — a series of imagination cityscapes. I didn't want to limit the city to Hong Kong therefore, I added lots of quirky elements to create this surreal city, including mushroom houses, robots, ferris wheels, hot air balloons and so on to have a more dedicated pattern, and to match with the theme of “explorer”. In order to be reminiscent of delicate blue-and-white ceramics from ancient China, I chose to use blue lines to illustrate the pattern on a white camera body. If you take a general look at the camera, it looks like a blue-and-white pattern and if you look closer, you will find it is a cityscape.
As you mentioned there are different elements in the city, is this what you think a “city” should look like?
This pattern was inspired by the first series I started in 2007, “Home” — which was an elaboration of my homework when I was studying at university. Since then, I started to think about what are the elements of “Home”? Many people would think of a flat, with furniture inside. As for me, a “Home” should contain lots of fun elements, and one of my inspirations is from a cityscape in Greece. It looks kind of messy and random while you can actually find a order inside. “Home” for me is not only what is in the house, but a whole picture of the surrounding. That is why my drawings of a city always build up with layers of houses, adding in mountains, bridges, ferris wheels and so on. When I am drawing I think: what does a cool city look like? As if I am daydreaming! As a creator, why shouldn’t I create something happy and cool!
Have you ever shot with an instant camera? How was your experience?
The first time I shot with an instant camera was from my friend — I used up all his films! I like to take pictures with people, capturing every instant and unique moment. For me, the faces of people are the best clue to recall all the memories and the good time with them!
If you could go anywhere, where would you shoot with the Lomo’Instant Explorer?
The developing countries in Southeast Asia. These places are where I took many photos before. People from these countries are more willing to interact with a stranger, which provides me with lots of chances to take an instant portrait! Many of us usually look for landscapes when we are traveling, but when you look back on them, you always find that they look alike. If I travel with Lomo’Instant Explorer, I would certainly use it to mark down my journey through the faces of the people I met with.
Finally, what's coming up for you? Any interesting upcoming plans?
I am currently working with different brands for collaborations and campaigns. Some artists are not so into the commercial jobs, but I like them a challenge! They are so different from what I used to work on, pushing myself to step out my comfort zone and giving me new skills. I am also going to Shanghai for a new store of coffee shop chains, and in two weeks I have to finish a 3 m x 5 m and 3 m x 10 m wall art, which is making me panicky, but it's still exciting!