Friday, July 19, 2024

Pioneering Traditional Art in the Digital Age

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Travon Marner
Travon Marner
Travon Marner is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years under his belt. While studying journalism at Boston, Travon found a passion for finding local stories. As a contributor to Business News Ledger, Travon mostly covers human interest pieces.

Funktronic Labs, an innovative VR studio based in Pasadena, California, is revolutionizing the integration of traditional Chinese art into digital technology. The project is spearheaded by Katrina Tan Kit, a Chinese Filipino artist who draws her inspiration from her ancestral roots in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Katrina’s talent in traditional watercolor painting was discovered when she attended middle school in the Philippines.  She showcased her artistic talent through local Chinese festivals and conducted workshops on traditional arts and culture. Her community efforts were formally acknowledged in 2014 with a Resolution of Congratulations from the city of Bacolod in the Philippines.  Her watercolor paintings of the Chinese Zodiac have been adopted by the city of Bacolod organizing committee for the Chinese New Year celebration.

Funktronic Labs Pasadena, California

At Funktronic Labs, Katrina is positioned at the forefront of developing a virtual reality (VR) game that encapsulates the essence of traditional Chinese ink paintings. This game is a visual treat and a narrative odyssey steeped in Chinese mythology, the “Memories of Azure.” The Memories of Azure app is designed to be a multi-sensory VR adventure that pushes the limits of traditional gaming. Through Funktronic Labs, Katrina’s ambition is to create an immersive experience, allowing players to engage deeply with ancient Chinese visual art and stories. Since its founding in 2013, Funktronic Labs has developed a reputation for stimulating visual and audio senses through innovative digital platforms, making “Memories of Azure” a highly anticipated fusion of cultural heritage and modern technology.  The “Memories of Azure” will use Katrina’s watercolor painting art to create a vivid, open world.

A winner of the 2014 Google Cloud Platform competition, Katrina Tan Kit is devoted to preserving traditional paintings and calligraphy through technology. She has created an app called the “Chinese Ink Brush Effect,” which uses the Unity Game Engine to produce beautiful, free-flowing brushwork that mimics the effects of a traditional ink brush. (See  Funktronic Labs intends to build upon Katrina’s existing work to present a compelling story to a global audience. In the past, Katrina has created traditional painting interpretations of Funktronic Labs’ popular characters for community events and industry exhibitions with robust feedback from fans. The “Memories of Azure” project, set to be launched on Steam and Meta’s VR store in 2024, will be the studio’s first title to fully implement traditional Chinese watercolor art created by Katrina throughout the entire virtual reality environment. The “Memories of Azure” is a sensory feast for connoisseurs of traditional Chinese watercolor art.


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