Delve into the world of beautiful oddities and the ultra-modern in Vini Naso’s works. Vini’s medium is digital, and the Canadian visual artist’s take on modern art include pieces that constantly explore notions of beauty and visual identity in the era of the Internet, deep-fake technology, crypto, memes and other end products of the digital age. Swipe through his body of work and you will discover varying influences from cyberpunk, folk art, Japanese culture and contemporary fashion. This in turn, results into an interesting amalgam of both the new and the ancient, the bizarre, outlandish and the ordinary.
The artist works as an art director and senior 3D designer specializing in motion graphics and character design for a host of platforms. His substantial portfolio spans a good variety of mediums from concept designs, short films to AR and VR projects for prestigious clients like Nike, Microsoft, Zoom and Adobe. His works also appeared in a Vogue Italia spread focused on artists dedicated to the intersection of modern technology, art and beauty.
The Jester is from the series called “The Masks We Wear.” The series gives us characters inspired by the artists’ profound interests in folklore and cyberpunk aesthetics. Characters from the series ended on up on the Vogue Italia spread—the images being acute renderings of hammering down conventional beauty standards and further testing the bounds of expressing one’s self, with imagination and technology as the only limits.
The Moth Orchid
A figure bearing a gilded orchid on its lips, a face tattooed with the markings of oni masks, eyes of golden leaves and a bejeweled cloak bring about a peculiar beauty. Moths can be power animals indicating the unknown, bad omens or the fear of death. They can be the spirits of the dead. Or they can be totems of positivity, lead us to accept changes that can transform our lives for the better.
Barong’s grin is full of gold and mischief—swirls and curves of oni markings are rendered vividly on his skin, making him the fiend in this pack of oddities. You cannot really escape those ears, those pair of sharp eyes. In Japanese folklore, the oni is depicted as a yokai that brandishes huge iron clubs and wears a loincloth made from tiger pelt. In Vini’s world, the modern oni wears a hip wide-brimmed hat and whirling gold-hued shades to blend in with the multi-tattooed and pierced crowd. Barong might be a demon but he can ward off bad luck.
Kodama – MorI
The MorI is a part of the artist’s Kodama series which is focused on characters inspired by the tree spirits of Japanese folkloric tales. It was also a visual delineation of Vini’s apprehensions about climate change. These figures inhabit nature and protect it the way tree spirits do—fantastical renderings of fuzzy figures with insectile features reminiscent of strong sentai characters are the leads of the series.
Kodama – Ki
Traditionally, the kodama looks a lot like the very objects they protect—and live in. However, in this series, we see characters with qualities that resemble other inhabitants of nature; the insects. The Ki for instance, has eyes as huge as dragonflies with skin greener than moss. It is also covered with down that looks like pollen or fluff that baby butterflies live in before bearing wings and taking flight.
Kodama – Gi
Part bunny, part floral fuzz, all insect—this is what the Kodama Gi looks like. Do not cut down a tree for you may be cursed by the kodama for life. That is the price to pay for further destroying and greedily taking in whatever bounties nature has bestowed for the people of this earth.