IEM always likes to discover and promote the work of young talent, and Turkish-born Kerim Atlig definitely fits the bill. A graduate of Koc University in Istanbul with a degree in media and visual arts, Atlig also studied computer animation at The Los Angeles Film School. Currently employed as a 3D Animator for Melt Creative in Las Vegas, this up-and-coming VJ has aspirations to combine his talents to create digital art for the world’s top music festivals. IEM had the chance to interview this rising star of the creative visual arts.
How do you approach your professional projects? (concept, artistic process, etc.)
I start with visualizing the end product towards a purpose so the artistic process depends on the purpose of the project I am working on, whether it’s an interactive real-time digital art installation or a concert visual for a musician. Depending on the objective, I start building a structure for the content. I create my content using 3D animation software such as Maya, Cinema4D, and TouchDesigner for real-time content.
I love trying new techniques and finding solutions for all the technical problems to reach out to the final version of the visual. When I’m creating content for a client, I start by visualizing the final outcome the client envisions, according to the guidelines and references they give me. If I’m creating content for live shows or VJing and I’m in control of the visual experience, the very first creations are sometimes just a mood or a vibe. As a music appreciator, the inspiration of every moving image for me starts with a musical beat. Then those moods lead to colors, a depiction of an environment, after which I start painting a digital canvas.
You have worked on some very high profile projects. Do you have any favorites and why?
For the past year I’ve been working for Melt Creative in Las Vegas, Nevada. I get to work on a variety of projects, including stage visuals for music artists and building interactive real time generated content.
Since I started working for Melt, I’ve worked on projects for clients such as AP Live and their client ToysRUs on the “Toytopia” project, have made stage visuals for artists such as Gareth Emery, Goo Goo Dolls, and made visual content for events such as Life Is Beautiful Festival 2019, Indy 500, Beauty Envision Awards 2019 and visual content for Mattress Firm at the Texas State Fair 2019.
I definitely enjoyed creating visuals for Tame Impala for their show at the Panorama NYC Festival back in 2017 when I was working on projects at V Squared Labs. It was also my first time exposing my work to a big festival crowd.
You also have “Personal Work” on your site? Are these privately commissioned projects? Can you tell me about some of these?
Those are the animations and shots from my visual collection that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. They are a part of the content that I use during my live visual performances. Some of them turned into interactive or real-time controllable visuals. I like working on my personal art apart from my professional work as I’m drawn and inspired to design them which I believe is helping with creating my unique style as an artist.
You are quite young, what do you consider your top career achievement to date and why?
As an up and coming VJ and techno music enthusiast, I consider my performance at the Movement Detroit Festival in 2019 to be the one I value the most. Attending the festivals for so many years as a listener, and then having the privilege to perform at the main stage was an incredible experience.
Who are some of your mentors?
I’ve had many people throughout my education and career in animation whom I’ve looked up to, including my teachers and artists I’ve had the chance to work with. Dean Deakyne was one of my mentors, who is one of the most versatile artists I know, has taught me many approaches to creating visuals when I was a computer animation student at LA Film School. As an artist, Aaron Koolik has supported and mentored me in my early days of VJing. Working with Greg Russell and Vello Virkhaus has taught me a lot about creating visuals as well as stage content.
Who are some of the visual artists you admire, or inspire you?
Dean Deakyne, one of my professors back in school who is an all round visual artist that I’ve always looked up to. Ali M. Demirel and Aaron Koolik are names who have always inspired me with their live visual performances as VJs. I also find Vincent Houze’s work with TouchDesigner to be very inspiring.
You also VJ, can you tell me a little more about your VJ work?
After my arrival in Los Angeles in 2014, I knew that it was one of the best places to pursue my dream of becoming a techno VJ. Los Angeles is known for its underground music and warehouse party culture with key promoters who book the best techno DJs. With my exposure to the techno scene there, I had the opportunity to demonstrate my visuals and build a style of my own by frequently performing at these shows. Some of my notable VJing performances to date include shows for Amelie Lens, Nastia, Fatima Yamaha, John Tejada and Kevin Saunderson.
What are some of the upcoming projects you have on horizon?
Working on interactive content and animation projects for event spaces in Las Vegas would be some of them.
What inspired you on this career path?
My very first inspiration for this career path was actually after watching a concert documentary. Even though I’ve been to many festivals and concerts, none of them struck me like the show Don’t Think’s documentary about the Chemical Brothers back in 2012. That show really inspired me to become a VJ and create content for live shows.
Amon Tobin’s ISAM show is another project that inspired me to work on show visuals and learn different ways of creating digital art and real-time generated visual content.
Other than these works, going to music festivals and concerts and seeing all of the components that make a great experience inspired me to create visuals and perform them in the most expressive way possible. I believe that the visual artist has a lot of power over the total experience at these festivals.
Photos Courtesy of Kerim Atlig.