Kenta Umemoto

KhaOs Artist Spotlight: Kenta Umemoto

Following my visit of the Khaos Story #7 exhibition, I wanted to learn more about the people behind the projects. One of the innovative artists I discovered is Kenta Umemoto, a Paris-based Japanese photographer who uses multi−layered processes, vibrant colors, and rich textures to create distinctive works of art.

“More interested in making images rather than taking pictures,” Umemoto uses a combination of digital and analog tools to create portraits and still-life compositions. By manipulating images to his liking, he is able to depict the space between real life and a dream-like state in his art. 

On display at KhaOs Stories this summer are pieces from his ongoing Flōra collection. The dreamlike distorted flowers are an ideal pairing for the group show celebrating the arrival of spring. I asked Kenta to share a bit more about his creative process and the inspiration behind his work.

What is your process of coming up with ideas for a shoot? 

I don’t have a specific process to generate ideas, they actually come naturally. 

What is your editing process like? 

My editing ranges from digital manipulation to painting; I always combine digital and analogue processes, blend manual texture in and create my own perspective. 

Do you have a favorite shoot? 

I like all my shootings, whatever the subject is : models, flowers, landscapes or animals. 

How do you manage to edit and make the image entirely unique/distorted while still leaving the focus on the subject? For example in the New Faces  2021-2022 series, or when you work with brands/clients? 

I worked on several layers and techniques to achieve my New Faces portfolio, such as digital manipulation, distortion and painting. 

Biggest sources of inspiration? Human and non-human? 

My inspirations are rooted in Japan. Since elementary school, I have been obsessed with Manga (Japanese comics) and Anime (Japanese animation). Later, in my teen years, I got into Ukiyo-e in addition to all sorts of novels and movies;  It is inevitable to say those random cultural encounters had a huge influence on me. Being born and raised in the countryside of Japan, I am constantly inspired by nature. Deep down, my work has always been linked to nature one way or another; the combination of both cultural and natural experience are my main source of inspiration. 

What is the relationship that you see between nature and fashion? 

I believe there is always a connection between nature and fashion. I try to translate this relationship in most of my works. 

You are returning to KhaOs (last time being in 2021), what is different for you the second time around?

Mindset is always the same but physically (and geographically), having an exhibition in Paris and Barcelona is a totally different experience in terms of local culture and location. I am looking forward to seeing the reaction from the Spanish audience. 

How does this venue compliment your art? 

This venue is the place where I can see my works from a bird’s-eye view and get energy for my next project.

KhaOs Story #7 Showing through Oct. 31st

To view the artwork in this Barcelona show, please make an appointment with @KhaOs.stories

KhaOs founded its reputation with demanding collections and breathtaking locations for their exhibitions. With strong beliefs about the role of art, KhaOs refuses to define itself as a gallery, but as a space of sharing, dialog, curiosity and poetry. Art is devoured and discussed with passion and simplicity, and the team makes a point to open its doors to passers-by and neighbours, as much as to art lovers and collectors.

By Leah Pratley

About the author

Hello! I’m a student at the University of Oregon studying abroad in Barcelona for 8 weeks. I’m excited to be here and contribute to Frikifish, which allows me to explore the city and all of the incredible art it has to offer. I enjoy reading, writing, going to museums, and the beach. That being said, I couldn’t picture a better place than Barcelona. Hope you enjoy following along with me!

leah pratley

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