It's unlikely that you find digital artworks matching the masterly style of Kazuhiko Nakamura.
His mechanical signature is unrepeated, just like the meticulous craft he uses to portray his unimaginable antique visions of human-like machines. Nakamura stirs imaginations and narrates untold stories of the past with his explicitly drawn humanoid creations on digital canvas.
Kazuhiko’s first steps into the mechanical ‘cyberpunk’ were taken very early on in his life when he inspired his own curiosity and creative talents. As a self-taught artist, he developed his unique masterly digital style, making a completely unparalleled impression on the spectator, as they become engrossed in the beautiful intricacies of antique human-like machines from a time far back...
Can you tell us who the artist and creator Kazuhiko Nakamura is?
I am a Japanese artist living in Kanagawa. I have been teaching myself 3D digital art since 1996, and since 2003 I have been publishing portraits of surreal humanoids on global CG art community sites. Since then, I have had more opportunities for featuring my work in art books or magazines, as well as cover art for music CDs and novels.
Since 2008, I have also been invited to showcase my work in several exhibitions, mainly in the United States and Europe. In these years, my work has also gained popularity amongst fellow artists in the steampunk genre and visionary art portals.
You have a very distinctive style that takes the art of machine and a man hybrid to another dimension. What made you go down that path in particular?
I have always been fascinated by the beauty of antique machines. The mysterious area in the boundary between humans and machines has attracted my interest a great deal throughout my life.
Expressing the fusion between machines and humans is an interesting experimental experience for me. Deep emotions are also hidden in the expression of silence of the humanoid which I want to communicate to the observer through my artworks. I would like you to feel the story told by these humanoids, which was carved in the lost times of the distant past, certainly not in the present or the future.
Tell us more about the techniques that you use to make one art piece?
The first step is to use 3D software to create many shapes in parts. Then I combine them like a puzzle to build the whole complex shape. The next step is to determine the camera angle and the lighting of the 3D model and then paste multiple texture mapping images.
In the end, I perform the final rending. I was using Shade3D for 10 years, but now I choose Zbrush for my new projects. For fine-tuning the color and the contrast of the image, I use Photoshop (popular image editing software) where I can also configure the montage with the background image.
'A piece is not fully complete until I make all minor modifications and I’m entirely satisfied with the final result.'
What inspires your art projects? Do you ever run out of inspiration? How do you then come up with new creative ideas?
Looking back in my childhood memories, I remember digging up various bits and pieces that I was curious about at the time. This is when I began to think of them as motifs in digital art. These motifs now are not just memories from the past, but the means to my personal transformation. It was these times that planted the seed in me to create new meanings, which I still do until this day.
But my mind isn't always full of ideas… Sometimes, I could be aimlessly sketching graffiti and finding new inspiration by chance. You can see some examples in successful self-remakes of my early works, such as "Brain Tower."
You have numerous publications in book covers, online magazines, music CD covers, and many more. Where do you like to see your work featured the most?
I've always liked the art books genre. I’m happy to see my work being used for publications in art books and on the front covers! The art books "Steampunk" and "Steampunk Story" are ones that fulfill my ambitions. It is also interesting to see how the logotype of the title overlaps with the artwork itself in order to create a completely new impression for the audience.
Steampunk Story - Book Cover
On The Eyeball Floor - Book Cover
Do you feel very accomplished as an artist? What’s next for you?
Unfortunately, I'm quite unprolific and art is not my means of livelihood.
However, I feel a sense of accomplishment about establishing my own art style.
I recently made portraits of Kafka and Dali, inspired by black-and-white photography. The mechanical elements up to now are omitted, and the world view of the artist, who became the model, is incorporated in a sculptural manner. We are planning to produce several of these 20th-century cultural figures. I think it's an experience to expand the possibilities by taking a little distance from my former style.
Dali With a Liquefied Moustache
If you can send a message to our audience and all the upcoming artists in the industry, what would it be?
There was a time when I was aspiring to do analog art, long before I started digital art. However, after feeling a sense of hesitation, I lost my direction and stopped creating.
My advice is to find your own art without being distracted by trends or criticism.
People's curiosity changes with time. Be patient, and with consistent trial and error, you will eventually become successful. There is no easy way! Still, you may be disappointed if your efforts do not get rewarded. Just remember that your motivation and the whole process of creating the work is your own unique experience which cannot be matched. If you just keep thinking without practicing and creating, you won't really achieve anything with your art.
All you need to do is open your mind and embrace your creative talents to the fullest.
To find out more about the artist, recent works, and exhibitions: CLICK HERE