Interview with German visual artist Timo Helgert

We speak to German visual artist Timo Helgert about his impressive artistic career and new collaboration with global technology brand, HONOR. 

Interview with German visual artist Timo Helgert

Can you introduce yourself and your creative background?

I’m Timo Helgert, a German artist based in Seoul and best known for my viral virtual installations. I’m famous for creating inspiring, escapist art through new digital techniques, and I am a master of augmented reality and 3D design. I’m influenced by the beauty of nature and aim to create hope and peace in today’s fast-paced world. My work has been featured by Forbes, ELLE Magazine, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Facebook, and more.

How did you develop your artistic style?

Having grown up in a small, quiet German village and moved to the metropolis that is Seoul shortly after school, I am greatly inspired by the juxtaposition of nature and cities. In my artwork, I strive to play with contrast and strike a balance between the serenity of nature and the hustle and bustle of city life. Beyond my inspiration, I also had a mentor who taught me to think from different perspectives – or dimensions – so I can fully harness the technology we have today as a visual artist. Using new digital techniques, augmented reality, and 3D design, I aim to create escapist art that instils hope and peace in a busy world. My artistic style developed over time with the advancement of technology and from the input of my community. I like to explore, and this is how you develop it over time.

Who are some of your inspirations?

I don’t really look at many other visual artists for inspiration because I already surround myself with so much art due to my work that I want to explore other fields to get inspiration. For example, music, philosophy, [and] books. Currently, I am fascinated by studying Taoism and the duality in nature. I think topics like these subconsciously inspire my art.

You’ve worked with many notable brands, from Balenciaga to Apple. Do you have a dream collaboration?

My dream collaboration is something physical, such as an installation that uses a lot of mind trickery to create something that people have never seen before. A place that uses technology in such a way that people can escape from their busy life and explore their unresolved emotions. So ideally, I would like to meet a brand open to sponsoring such an exhibition.

Tell us about your collaboration with HONOR. How did that come about, and what is the concept?

HONOR approached my team early this year with an idea to reimagine a historic building with the power of AR technology. When HONOR ultimate decided to launch the campaign in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, I was really excited. Not only because it bought back fond memories of visiting the destination with my parents as a child, but it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – it’s an incredible canvas for my art. What followed was an incredible collaborative effort to transform the iconic Wasserschloss with the power of AR. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

The theme of your collaboration with HONOR is ‘Gateway to the Future’. Talk us through your creative process in reaching your desired outcome.

In my art, I always like to experiment with the “what-ifs.” The theme Gateway to the Future fueled my imagination. It prompted me to think about what the Wasserschloss would look like if it wasn’t [clearly] a “water castle,” the English translation of its name, and was instead a “nature castle,” entirely transformed by fantastical fauna, flora and creatures. This inspiration eventually manifested in the form of “Blooming Future”. 

How has technological advancement helped you with your artistic expression?

As a visual artist, I see AR as a transformative tool that creates a completely new way for people to engage with art. It frees the viewer from a fixed perspective and gives them the freedom to see art from any and all directions. This challenge forces me to grow as an artist, think from multiple perspectives, and create art that looks great from all angles. This also greatly expands the possibilities for the viewer to interpret my art in their own way, and I find myself intrigued by the discourse. 

Are there any particular highlights or challenges you find when collaborating with brands?

With every brand collaboration, I find myself broadening my creative horizon. Take this campaign, for example. By working with HONOR, I am allowed to use my art for a great cause. The pandemic has stripped people around the world of the chance to experience and appreciate culture. As people re-emerge from lockdowns, they expect the digital conveniences they’ve been enjoying at home to spill over and meld with physical travel experiences, creating what people have come to refer to as hybrid tourism. Working with brands like HONOR gives artists like us insights into burgeoning trends and the resource to ride on them and create something meaningful and unique. I find this very creatively fulfilling and beneficial to my growth as a professional visual artist.

What piece of work are you most proud of creating?

Proud is a hard definition, and there is a lot of specific meaning for this definition. So I don’t think I can choose one. Actually, I am not that proud of any of my work. I am confident with it, and I like them all, of course, and am happy that people enjoy them. However, I see it all as learning material, especially after noticing how people receive it after its release. So I am always curious about the next work. 

What’s next for you?

I want to find an office space in Seoul, maybe combine it and open a cafe where people can take a look at the “work in progress” art or do workshops. However, currently, with the financial situation, I am not ready for it yet, even though this idea is like a burning fire inside me. Maybe we can find an investor who wants to join us for this project in Seoul.

Where can people view your work? Where can people find you online?

If you’re interested in seeing my creative reimagination of the Wasserschloss building I created for HONOR, it is available on the free-to-download ARLOOPA app. My portfolio is available athttps://vacades.com/, and I regularly post about my works on my Instagram account (@vaccades). You’ll also find more about my projects here:https://linktr.ee/vacades.

If you could give any advice to young, aspirational artists, what would it be?

Never be afraid to experiment. Only by trial and error can one carve their own creative path and set themselves apart from peers. Kindle that spirit of adventure and learn from the mistakes you make along the way, for mistakes make the best teachers and practice makes perfect.

Author

Saskia Calliste

Saskia Calliste Voice Team

Saskia is the Deputy Editor of Voice and has worked on campaigns such as International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and Anti-Bullying Week. Outside of Voice, Saskia is a published author (Hairvolution) and has guest featured in various other publications (The Women Writers’ Handbook/ Cosmopolitan/ The Highlight). She has a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. She is a mentor for Women of the World Global, has guest lectured at the University of Roehampton and has led seminars/panel talks on Race, Equality and Diversity. She was a 2022 Guest Judge for Dave (TV Channel) in search of the 'Joke of the Fringe'. She is 27-years-old, based in London, and loves to cook and explore new places in her spare time.

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