On the weekend of May 22nd and May 23rd, Pop illustrator Kodone in collaboration with Up 2 Something Studios hosted a two day art immersive experience for awaiting fans in Miami. This pop-up consisted of intricate and vibrant clothing decorated with Kodone’s signature style, alongside signed artworks that highlight the animation intertwined with the pop culture approach that this multimedia artist communicates. With the help of Up 2 Something studios, this art pop-up took new heights with Kodone blowing up the figures in his Runway Thug artwork on a large scale by inflating two oversized figures towering over the event space.
This pop-up also included many interactive art installations and approaches that truly amazed those who came to be apart of this event. As fans patiently awaited outside to enter the space, they were given temporary tattoos of Kodone’s infamous Runway Thug artwork to commemorate the experience. Many of Kodone’s collage works and symbols were presented on mirrors, merchandise, as well as posters on the wall; these works are taken a step further by working with artificial intelligence. Once you have downloaded the Kodone app and with the help of your camera settings, one is able to truly watch these animated characters come to life through your screen.
I was able to get the opportunity to speak with Kodone about his work, integrating his art into different mediums, and his experience showcasing his illustrations in Miami:
Lauryn: First question is how has the process been since you started and how do you feel now seeing it grow to these heights?
Kodone: I feel like the process is the fun part because I first started off just doodling and as you can see at this Pop up we have inflatables and embroidery on the clothes. I feel like the funnest part about my art career is just drawing it and seeing how we can manifest it into different types of mediums. We went from illustrations on paper to it being on the mirror. The fun part about being an artist is how we can translate this, how we can make this as interactive as possible for the person consuming the art.
Lauryn: What messages do you think your art is portraying?
Kodone: I feel like there’s two messages. One is the pop culture shit because I feel as though I draw for our generation. We’ve never had enough for our age, you see the Runway Thug and all these memes. I feel like I’m filling that in. Two, I have more emotional pieces.
Lauryn: How has that been separating your personal work from other works that you showcase to your audience? Or do they merge?
Kodone: I like to separate them. The way I see it, sometimes the more personal stuff is more sad and I try not to focus too much on that. I like pop culture stuff because I’m just here to have a good time with everyone. I love the fact that I can make something that will bring everybody together.
Lauryn: What’s your relationship with anime?
Kodone: This might be long, I'm sorry. I’ve been watching anime since I was in third grade since my cousin put me on shows such as Dragon Ball Z and Naruto. I always played it off because it’s already a cartoon there's no need for me to draw it. I want to say two months ago when I started it, I thought a lot of us can connect to anime and it’s genuinely something I love and grew up with. Even though it's already a cartoon, I want to make it my thing. Many people are already familiar with my art style, so let’s make it more familiar by doing the anime stuff.
Lauryn: It’s interesting because I feel like you are also introducing many people to it as well.
Kodone: Yeah, exactly. When I draw anime, it’s never in the mindset of ‘oh what’s popular.’ For example, with the Demon Slayer series it’s so popular now and it's funny because I stayed away from it for a while. Then I started watching it and I’m like wow this is actually awesome, I want to draw this now. My friend Vamee introduced me to this anime called Soul Eater yesterday and I fell in love with it. So except Soul Eater drawing on the way!
Lauryn: I was a huge fan of Soul Eater so I’m sure I’m one of many that are really looking forward to that. It’s great to really hear the inspirations behind some of your artworks.
Kodone: People can be like ‘oh it’s easy he just draws Pop culture stuff,’ but it's not really about the views. It's really about me wanting to connect with people because I feel like the best way we all connect is through our interests. Obviously anime is a big interest of everyone right now and I have a big connection to it as well. So I thought let's bring everyone together and have fun, especially in the context of pop-ups. It’s just a good sight to look at.
Lauryn: How do you feel now being in Miami and seeing this experience come to life?
Kodone: I love it. You guys are amazing, Miami I love you guys so much. If we can come back and make it seven times harder, we are going to do that I promise.