Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, along comes the crew from Fiz-iks to ruin your perception of reality. Based in Japan, their light painting photography goes a lot further then the well-known city neon lights. With a van full of light toys and heads full of crazy ideas they take their art to any place they encounter. Without a doubt they’re going to be responsible for lifting light painting up to a next level.
Seeing these guys are a great support with bringing CFYE into this world of light painting photography, we will be working together a lot in the future and you’ll be seeing loads of CFYE/Fiz-Iks collaborations, so stay tuned. More on that soon. First, a proper introduction to the world of Fiz-iks!
“A large part of what makes this addictive is the hunting for or creating new light tools, and then testing them out and experimenting with them. “
Who are the people behind fiz-iks, where are they from and how did you all came together?
Fiz-iks is made up of three people; Trevor, Phill, and Naoya. Trevor is from Canada and has been living in Japan for over 8 years. Phill hails from the UK and has been in Japan for about three years. Naoya is Japanese and still lives at home with his mom, hehe. We all work and hang out together.
You guys reside in Japan, a place many dream of going to, how did you come to settle there?
We all arrived under different circumstances. Trevor originally came here to stay for “just one year” but that was 8 years ago. Phill also came for a short visit but now seems content on staying much longer. A lot of foreigners get stuck here like this. And Naoya has always lived here with his mom, hehe.
Now where did this fascination with this incredible light painting come from?
Trevor had seen some long exposure pictures online and was fascinated with the effects one could create. He saw the potential for some amazing art. He started experimenting and quickly realized that with more hands and heads that the pictures could be bigger and better. Actually it was more his fear of the dark that eventually pushed him to seek partners. It was at this point that he dragged Phill and Naoya out into the night. Things snowballed from there and we quickly started making tools and collecting equipment.
“To spend days discussing and creating a new tool, then to finally go out and create something totally unexpected but beautiful is part of what keeps pushing us to create”
A large part of what makes this addictive is the hunting for or creating new light tools, and then testing them out and experimenting with them. Sometimes we find a new light source that has some potential for our pictures, or other times we have an idea for an image and we have to plan and assemble something new. On occasions we get exactly the effect we were after, quite often we’re completely surprised by the effects, and then there’s those times when it’s total pap. To spend days discussing and creating a new tool, then to finally go out and create something totally unexpected but beautiful is part of what keeps pushing us to create. The more we shot and the more we researched the more we found that there were other people that were just as kidnapped by the magic of light painting as we were.
You guys are very generous with tutorials and learning other people the tricks of the trade, aren’t you afraid others will walk away with your ‘tricks’?
In the beginning we also needed to learn. Trevor created a Flickr group that was intended to be a place to share techniques and secrets and learn collectively in hopes that his own learning curve would be increased. The response was great. We shared our tips and in return people shared theirs.
But now that we have been doing it a while the reasons have changed. I guess we share our secrets to force us to continue to think of new ideas. When we use the same old tools we seem to make the same old pictures. In order to progress, we needed to create new tools and techniques. Giving away and sharing our techniques forces us to be more creative because we now have to think of something completely new. We go back to square one and start being creative again. Thinking, making, experimenting…This is the part of the addiction.
Also, why not share some love? There is an unquestionable magic about this art. We wanted to share this magic and one way was to show people how to do it in hopes they would try it. At first glance a lot of light painting seems beyond the range of what people without crazy ninja skills can achieve, but with a few basic techniques anyone can create a little magic. Sharing techniques means more people will get excited and involved in light painting, raising the profile of this genre of photography, which can only benefit the light painting community as a whole.
Do you think light painting is going to become something big(ger), or will it stay something for the hardcore light painting junkies?
After doing this over the past year the growth has been visible. In time we believe this will become a mainstream genre of photography, but at this point the truth is, it is still something of a niche art. Trevor DJ’d for many years starting in 1996, and the lightpainting scene has similar feel to that of the techno/DJ scene back in ’96. It felt like a soft rumble that had the potential to explode. Whether it does or not will can only be answered in time.
Does fiz-iks have any commercial potential with light painting?
At this point, the idea of commercial work is not what drives us. We do it because we love it. But with that said I think it would be a lie to say we would not want to do it for money. If we could make a living doing it that would be more than great. But who doesn’t wish they could give up their job for a hobby! Right now we would be happy to find some sponsors or someone interested in commissioning us for a marketing campaign.
Now it seems like you do collaborations, any people you’d love to work with in the future, or are excited to go working with?
At this point, we enjoy working with artists from all different disciplines. For example, we did collaboration with Darius Twin who is a graphic artist from LA. For this collaboration we made stencils of his characters and used them in our pictures to tell one frame stories. We also did a stop motion video with his graphic work and for that included the musical talents of P.E.M.D.A.S. This collaboration took place even though we have never even met each other.
We want to collaborate with anybody that has something to offer. If there are any street artists, stencil freaks, or musicians out there who want to boogie with the fiz-iks crew we’d love to hear their ideas.
Who and what inspires you?
Tools and locations seem to inspire us. Those seem to come first. Once those are sorted out we start thinking of what images can be made. We also find inspiration on Flickr and in other forms of street art. Naoya also finds inspiration in his mom. Did we mention that he still lives with her?
What do you guys do in the daylight hours?
Phill is an urban pirate, Naoya sells balloons on the street, and Trevor is a ninja for hire. Actually we live very boring lives… A banker, a mailman, and a grocery store clerk. OK those were lies too. We work together running a language school.
What kind of reactions do you get from your work?
Making art that gets a reaction or at least makes people stop and think is important to us. This is why we often use bizarre props or create surreal scenes because we know people will react. We know some people will even probably have a negative reaction to the image. But the point is they reacted and felt something. This will create a memory of the image.
“When people think of photography they think of flowers, sunsets, and maybe some macro bugs. So when they see our work they need to stop and think.”
But the typical reaction for many is to wonder how we did it. When they find out how it is done the reaction is usually mixture of confusion and surprise. Photography is typically associated with capturing what we can see, rather than creating so when people are presented with these unaltered images it throws them. A barrage of questions and lengthy explanations usually proceed. When people think of photography they think of flowers, sunsets, and maybe some macro bugs. So when they see our work they need to stop and think.
Are there any light painting works you are particularly proud of?
Generally we all very happy with these images: un-installation, breathe, hell`s kitchen, departures and of course our film Power Pill. All of these images were well received and got a lot of positive reactions. Every time we shoot we seem to learn more so our newest pictures also tend to be our favorites.
What are your favorite items to take on the road with you?
It started with a backpack full of light toys which turned into two backpacks. Then all the gear required a car and now that has become too small so we use ” our mom`s” a brand new company van. The gear includes strobes, flashlights, LED products, EL wire, fireworks, and anything else that emits light. Many have been altered by us to fit our needs. For this art one must also be an electrician.
Is there anything in particular you guys are working towards with fiz-iks?
At this point we see no finish line. We will continue to experiment with techniques and create new tools. We want to try and impress and surprise ourselves. The more we get involved the more opportunities seem to arise so we are happy with the way things are going. Who knows what will come up but we do know that we will keep pumping out the art.
What can we expect from fiz-iks in the future?
We hope to find conspirators and collaborators to do projects with. We’re currently throwing about some top-secret ideas for a new video so stay tuned for that. In the mean time we’ve got a van full of lights and fire and many, many finished but as yet un-used tools to play with and burn ourselves on. We’re also soon to be expanding to release a ton merchandising products, such as mugs, t-shirts, caps, and bags all with Phill’s face on them. We are expecting big sales of these items…