The development of various technologies has enabled the public to enjoy culture in virtual reality. There are places where people can meet idols in holograms, and ride roller coasters using VR. Furthermore, there is an artist who draws pictures in a virtual space and shows the process in real time. He is Yeom Dong-kyun, the first VR artist in the world. The Argus talks about his work as a VR artist and learns about his ideas for diving into new fields that others have not tried.
What is VR?
Virtual Reality (VR) is advanced technology that allows people to feel like being in the real world in a virtual world created by computers. The characteristic of VR is that the designer can directly enter the space, design and modify aspects quickly in real time. In a VR system, human participants and virtual workspaces are interconnected by hardware. In addition, it helps the participants to feel what is happening in a virtual environment, and uses hearing and tactile elements as auxiliary enhancements. Fields of application include education, advanced programming, remote operation, remote satellite surface exploration, exploration data analysis and scientific visualization.
The Argus: Please introduce yourself.
Yeom Dong-Kyun(Yeom): Hello. I am Yeom Dong-kyun, the main artist of “Broken Brain.” I am the first artist in the world doing VR performance. The company name “Broken Brain” means that we will not be trapped by stereotypes and will always want to do something interesting. Our company continues to challenge the field with new contents and constantly struggles to make interesting art works.
The Argus: Please tell us what VR artists do.
Yeom: A VR artist makes art while wearing VR devices. I am mainly doing drawing performances. It shows the viewpoint of the artist drawing in a 3D virtual space to the audience in real time through a large screen.
I do not work only on my own ideas but also get clients’ performance requests. When we get a performance request, we have a meeting to decide how to draw and do storytelling in the virtual world. Then I go up to the stage and perform.
The Argus: How did you start this job?
Yeom: Before doing this job, I was involved in a variety of paintings, including campus work, graphic work, trick art, and caricature. In addition, I always wanted to create new art. One day, I happened to watch the tilt-brush promotional video on Google, which is a drawing program in virtual space. At that moment, I felt that VR was very attractive, so I decided to buy VR devices right away. As a result, my career as a VR artist started. I was able to gradually get my name out there as a VR artist while steadily working on my craft.
The Argus: What is the charm of VR Artwork?
Yeom: The charm of VR artwork is the infinite canvas. Drawing on paper has a limit when it comes to expressing my imagination. However, VR artwork has no limit to the size of a drawing because I draw pictures in a 3D space. Therefore, I can express what I imagine freely. In addition, VR artwork is very attractive in that I can show the process of a sketch’s storytelling in front of the public. Moreover, the works remain accessible through videos.
The Argus: What do you think are the limitations of VR artwork?
Yeom: To experience VR artwork, we have to wear VR devices. I sometimes feel encumbered by continuously wearing devices, and they strain my eyes. This is a shortcoming of VR artwork.
Also, I am sad that the work has only digital data, so it does not actually exist and the result cannot be in my hands. Therefore, we are all agonizing over how we can solve it.
The Argus: What has been the most memorable event while working as a VR artist?
Yeom: There have been several memorable episodes. In 2017, Dream Concert was held to commemorate the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and I did a VR performance there. It was a great experience to show my VR artwork to a lot of people.
Recently, I went to the audition for America’s Got Talent. It is a contest program for the general public. If I pass, I can get the chance to appear on the broadcast and perform. Fortunately, the response was pretty good. I remember these experiences all because they have come through hard work.
The Argus: Have you ever had difficulty in choosing this road that others did not walk?
Yeom: In the beginning, I had difficulty because there was no place to ask for advice related to this job. There is no domestic data of VR artwork, so I had to search and do everything myself.
Also, it was not easy to draw pictures delicately in 3D. Although I have been doing art activities for some time, this work requires a lot of practice.
Moreover, since I was the first one doing VR artwork, I had many worries about how the public could feel this performance is fun.
The Argus: What does it mean to take on a new challenge?
Yeom: First, I think a challenge does not need to be tremendous. You do not have to just completely stop doing what you do and jump into new things. I started with small challenges and I naturally came to this place. All the while, I have thought that developing new small content is a challenge. Accordingly, I think it is a very valuable experience to try and challenge oneself to do new things, regardless of the size of the challenge.
The Argus: What are your future plans?
Yeom: We will actively engage in overseas markets. I want to make a system that can perform regularly overseas, and I also want to spread our name widely. In addition, we hope to develop VR education to make children experience VR and help them to enhance their creativity. We want to provide children a lot of interesting opportunities related to VR, so we plan to further develop the VR education business.
The Argus: Do you have any messages you want to convey to readers?
Yeom: I want you to remember us as creative artists who developed new contents in Korea. Also, I hope you have greater interest in VR artworks.
Moreover, I think that now personal branding is very important. Accordingly, I want college students to find out what they want to do and build up their own strengths. If you are confident and know what you want to do, I want to encourage you to experience as much as possible.
It is never easy to be the first to try something that no one has tried. However, Yeom Dong-kyun did not fear it. He was more passionate about what he wanted to do rather than worried about his first attempt. That is why he is now doing great VR performances with the “first” title.
The reporter hopes you have time to look back on your life while seeing that Yeom constantly has tried to publicize himself widely as a VR artist that is unfamiliar to the public. It would be helpful in your life to think about what you really want to do and whether you are taking on the challenge. Even if the challenge is not accomplished, it will be a deep root in your life and a good experience for you.
By Jang Yu-jin
Associate Editor of Culture Section