Nobumichi Asai is a projection mapping producer and technical director who mixes his science background and artistic skills to create original and innovative works. He graduated from Tohoku University and joined P.I.C.S. after working at ANSWR and COLOR FIELD. SEIKEI 3D PROJECTION MAPPING was the first big-scale project of this kind in Japan created by Asai, who received the Japan Media Arts Festival Award for the DOCKYARD 3D PROJECTION MAPPING / YOKOHAMA ODYSSEY.
One of his most recent work is the projection mapping project “Omote”. Omote is a Japanese word for face, or a mask, which is considered as a mirror of the human soul. Performers of Japan’s classical musical plays often use Omote masks to express a multitude of dramatic emotions, which is explored and realized through the integration of state of the art technology and Japanese art. For more of his works watch the videos below and check out his website www.nobumichiasai.com.
I always considered [face] to be the most delicate yet powerful medium for art. Make-up artist Hiroto Kuwahara said, ‘Face evolved with a sole purpose of conveying emotions, and it is the only body part that effectively communicates and reacts to the most subtle changes and conditions. It’s not an exaggeration to say that face is one of the most intriguing features.’ I totally agree with him, and got interested in the possibility of face mapping, its potential in expressing something extraordinary.
Face-mapping technology already exists, often used in marketing initiatives. But I wanted to focus on the expression of [beauty] and [make-up art] instead of technological gimmicks and impacts. But this demands a higher level of technological precision. A subtle mismatch in projection would ruin the effect.
The team also wanted to express Japanese beauty to the world. Kuwahara said, ‘When imagining global definition of Japanese aesthetics, philosophy, and virtue onto a face, I thought about the cosmetics commercial featuring Sayako Yamaguchi, which I saw in my childhood. In my mind, Japanese women have bewitching, ethereal, and sophisticated qualities that are unique. To communicate Japanese beauty, I particularly focused on these attributes and chose Ms. Sekimizu as our model, instead of someone else with more structured features and big double-eyelid eyes.’
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Ingenuous and honest.
What made you want to become an artist?
Drawing pictures in elementary school. Hearing music from the electronic handicraft radio I made in elementary school.
Whom do you look up to?
ZOREN GOLD AND MINORI
What was your favourite project and why?
Because I was able to fuse together individuality, universality, and popularity.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as an artist?
Fusing together universality and popularity.
How do you define creativity?
To create and give joy.
To enjoy the joy that wells up inside of me as a result.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
Love and peace
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Know what you are.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
If you are true to yourself, it’ll be okay.
And if you can make that self a bit richer with each day, it’ll be okay.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
I can’t think of anything.
All images and videos © Nobumichi Asai