Time Out Singapore: Leon Keer

As part of the festive vibe on Orchard Road this year, three Dutch artists – Leon Keer, Ruben Poncia, and Remko van Schaik – has created two 3D paintings outside Wisma Atria. If you download an app, the works then literally take on another dimension and comes alive through your smartphone screens. Gwen Pew speaks to Leon Keer to find out more.

Dutch artist Leon Keer in his studio. Image courtesy of the artist.

Dutch artist Leon Keer in his studio. Image courtesy of the artist.

3 Dec 2013:

Tell us a bit about your background – what did you do before you started 3D painting?
I’ve been painting every day for 20 years now. I started off making large advertising murals – the perspective illusions [I do now] started with mural paintings as well – and then moved onto making con¬temporary art on canvas, installations and did a lot of live painting. As an artist, I always try to improve my techniques –it’s a kind of conquest to evolve myself.

And how – and when – did you get into 3D art?
About five years ago somebody introduced this art form to me. I created my first piece on the street and was complete amazed by the distortion I had to make to be able to get the right effect.

What’s the most difficult aspect of the art form?

The biggest challenge is to convert the smaller-scaled two-dimensional sketch to this big distorted 3D version.

Let’s talk about the two pieces you created at Wisma Atria. How did you come up with the concept for each?
For ‘Christmas at the Wisma Atria’ you can win tickets to other shopping cities abroad [by taking part in the contest], so I created the design with this concept in mind. In the image, which I painted together with my colleague Ruben Poncia, you can see a surreal city full of Christmas presents and objects, plus some landmarks of the cities that you can win tickets to.

Remko van Schaik came up with the design for the painting on the side entrance of the second floor; it’s a very recognisable Christmas image with reindeers and Santa Claus. We always take into account the opportunities to interact with the painting, so for instance, you can ride along with Santa by posing on the sled next to him, or put yourself on one of the several presents.

Are they similar to works that you’ve created before in terms of motifs or content, or is each artwork drastically different from one another?
Every artwork is unique. By delivering a custom-made artwork each time, we get to keep challenging ourselves as artists.

But there is, quite literally, another dimension to your artwork here on Orchard Road – it’s in 4D as it has an augmented reality aspect too. Can you tell us a bit more about how it works?
The 3D street art we make is all about interaction. The 4D element invites the spectators to grab their smartphones and see the painting come to life on their screen. Just download the Junaio app and scan the painting with it.

Were there any unexpected challenges when you were painting these pieces that you had to overcome?
I didn’t know it was rainy season in Singapore, so we had to take an afternoon shower into account almost every day. The advantage of working in a group is that you will have more expertise to overcome every relapse. We will keep on working with whatever crosses our path, and improvise.

What advice would you give people who are inspired by your works and would like to try out the art form themselves?

Educate yourself by viewing all the 3D street art videos online, but the most important thing is to get your experience, so go out on the street and chalk!

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