The world of art and technology has seen an exciting fusion in recent years, with visionary individuals breaking boundaries to create immersive experiences that captivate the senses. One such trailblazer is Katrina Tan Kit, a Filipino-Chinese artist and programmer working at Funktronic Labs in Pasadena, California. With deep roots in the Chinese community of the Philippines and a passion for traditional art and technology through a unique vision, Katrina is on a quest to redefine how we appreciate traditional art forms through the lens of virtual reality (VR).
Katrina’s upbringing was a unique blend of cultural influences that have significantly shaped her artistic and professional journey. Her family’s active involvement in the Chinese community in the Philippines instilled in her a profound appreciation for traditional Chinese art and culture from a young age. This early exposure planted the seeds for what would become a central theme in her creative work. The City Council of Bacolod has officially recognized Katrina’s talent in traditional watercolor painting by adopting her artwork for the city’s localized version of the Chinese New Year celebration.
At Funktronic Labs, a studio known for pushing the boundaries of interactive experiences, Katrina is currently working on a project based on the Chinese lore of the “Azure Dragon.” The project weaves the myth into a VR story that transports players back in time, immersing them in the world of traditional Chinese watercolor paintings. The concept leverages VR technology to have the users experience a rich cultural narrative and become an integral part of it as if they were living within the pages of a timeless masterpiece.
The “Azure Dragon” project enables users of the VR medium to appreciate traditional watercolor art in an entirely fresh way. The goal is to make the audience feel like they have stepped into a traditional Chinese watercolor painting, breathing life into age-old tales and cultural heritage through vivid graphics. The “Azure Dragon app” will bridge the past and future, blending tradition with innovation to help users appreciate the past while experiencing the latest consumer tech the market has to offer.
Funktronic Labs, the indie gaming studio overseeing the Azure Dragon project, is known in the industry for the company’s “out of the box” creativity. Founded in 2013 in Kyoto, Japan, Funktronic Labs has a history of promoting and celebrating visual art and musical performance by infusing elements of audio, visual, and sensual art into VR programs. Funktronic Labs’ iconic app, “Kyoto,” which pays homage to the city of Kyoto, Japan, received the “Best Arts Award” at the 2013 Tokyo Game Show. The founders of Funktronic Labs have presented at TED Talks and Vive Developers Conference on VR development and art. The company also has a history of participating in cultural events, such as the “626 Night Market,” “Anime Pasadena,” and the “Jackalope Artisan Fair.” For more information, please visit www.funktroniclabs.com