Today we take great pleasure in introducing Mar-K.os known by his full name as Markos Aristides Kern. Markos is from design agency Visual Drugstore, and it’s a pleasure to be contacted to introduce new members of the community. Here we discuss with Markos several facets of the creative world and how he is involved; What is Visual Drugstore? What does being a VJ involve? How has social media helped his business? How has traveling expanded your ideas?
Hi Mar-K.os It’s a great pleasure to introduce you to our readers here at Design Juices. We thank you for taking your time out, firstly to those people who may have not come across you and your work, would you please introduce yourself.
My full name is Markos Aristides Kern a.k.a Mar-K.os and I’m the founder and creative director of the design agency Visual Drugstore. We’re based in Munich, Germany and also operate as a popular VJ label.
You founded the company Visual Drugstore, now tell me how you came to setting up how the company is today since you launched the company.
Well, actually Visual Drugstore grew out of my work as a VJ. When I first started with my live shows a few years ago I found myself struggling being a one man show. I was in the position where I was doing so many different things from stage design, animation to around 130 shows a year when I realized I needed an assistant. The company grew from that point onwards and everything started to get bigger and bigger…
The company has a wide range brief of projects and skills in its arsenal to work with clients on is there a particular area of design you love to work under the most?
Actually there is no specific project that I only do in which I have a slight favoritism towards. I love to switch fields of having the approach to change between a new client or project. I get bored pretty easily if I’m doing the same thing twice, so finding a challenge or something new is always great. Of course there are certain aspects that I’m fascinated by, one in particular are live setups. No matter what I do exactly, I love to create that moment in which everyone is feeling how I want to let them feel. Every live setup is unique and most certainly a one of a kind experience.
Traveling around the world must be a great eye opening experience to visit and work in new cultures and areas of the world many people will only see on television. Which areas of the world have been the most rewarding to work in?
That’s really hard to tell, I guess the most interesting part for me is the contrast between different cultures and the way people live around the globe. Every time I get to a different place I’ll grab my camera and just start walk and explore my new surroundings, there really is no better way to get the vibe and the feeling of the culture.
The crazier the city the better! Huge cities like Bangkok or Dubai amaze me so much because of the diversity and the energy within them. That was also the reason why I had an apartment in New York- it’s cities like these which give you this unbelievable boost of energy. They fuel my creativity and is incorporated into my live performances.
You come out of Germany, what is the creative world in Germany like at the moment? How is it handling the current economic climate? Have you found much downturn in work in your industry with the world economic climate?
Surprisingly there’s been not much of a downturn, I’ve never had to keep an eye out for projects or clients, I’ve always had more than enough work- which is how Visual Drugstore came about which consists of a close knit team.
Especially now with all these well known brands, companies have discovered the unlimited possibilities in how I work and how the concept can be driven into a very nice and unique direction.
Briefly introduce your work as a VJ, and what that means to our readers?
I hope everybody here knows what a VJ is!
I think the reason why I’m known for what I do is because I have a different approach towards VJing and live visuals. Lets be honest, most of the time VJ shows are a pretty random flow of visuals just playing along to the music. I believe this media has such a strong impact on people in which it is often underestimated. When I do a show I like to create every aspect, creating the design of the stage/floor, producing all the content I use myself. When I play all night I try to perfect yet dramatize the event.
What does a typical live show as a VJ like yourself consist of?
Firstly there is the content that I use in my shows. In total there are approx. 8500 clips so far, all produced by me in a very high standard and that have a vast range from studio shots to 3D as well as everything in between. During my live shows I arrange these and try to find that perfect state where I can emphasize all the various emotions that come from the music. With a versatile medium such as video, I am constantly trying to achieve the indefinite so it’s very hard to give you a prediction of what to expect in my shows.
What new advances in technology and gadgets have helped to improve your live performances? Are there any particular brands/companies that are helping in pushing the boundaries of your performance?
I of course remember the times when I had to carry loads of equipment for my performances. Now lets say there has been a vast improvement and all I need are two macs, a mixer and good software.
The guys from VJ Software like VDMX and Modul8 are really doing a great job and actually right now we are actually in the process of designing our own Visual Drugstore VJ mixer.
Working with such a diverse portfolio do you feel sometimes your skills are overstretched in too many areas of creativity?
Never!!! I love it! Having to adjust to different areas/settings and finding that new approach is the highest challenge in creativity. It’s really thrilling to set foot on a field you’ve never touched before and then try to create something new. Most of the time it’s this ”mixing” where the cool things happen: ”Hey let’s take an old rocket launcher truck and put 24 cinema projectors inside,” which resulted in our MMOV project (Multi-media Offroad Vehicle- http://
What has the explosion of social media and networking meant for you as an individual and as a business in helping to promote and connect with clients and fans.
I think the development in social media over the last years was a real boost for almost every creative field and the especially people that work in them. The world got so much smaller and anyone with a good idea can be found anywhere in the world- just yesterday we got mail from Korea for a Light Muses show (www.lightmuses.com). I think most of the projects we did outside of Germany was because someone got forwarded a link of ours. As a person that travels a lot it makes it so much easier to stay in touch with people all over the world.
Do you have any particular favorite contacts in your social networking circles which you recommend our readers to follow?
Hmmm…not really…as an artist people are constantly asking me where I get my inspiration from, which exact tweets I follow, what sort of design blog I read and here’s the truth: NONE.
I work about 16 hours a day here and there, of course from time to time I do look at some random stuff my colleagues send me, but thats about it. If I wouldn’t have so many nice friends and my amazing team I’d really have no clue what’s going on out there.
What does the rest of 2011 and beyond have in store for you? Do you have any exclusives for our readers?
hmmm what a question! The rest of 2011 is definitely gonna be packed with many projects. We’re actually just getting ready for a tour of video mappings with our MMOV in Germany this summer. It includes testing a brand new system we’ve developed which will enable 3D mapping on a very large scale Guerilla-Live performance with a DJ.
But the most interesting thing for me personally will be a project I am planning next January. It will be an open and non-profit project where I’ll be inviting artists from all over the globe in joining me for a couple of days each on the MMOV Ξ (Multimedia Offroad Vehicle Expedition starting January 1st 2011, North Africa). I’ll post more information regarding this soon here on www.visualdrugstore.com and http://www.facebook.com/pages/MMOV-%CE%9E/118727538223698. Be sure to check the updates on facebook- it’s for sure one of my most exciting projects yet!
Can you ever turn your mind off as a creative designer? What things help to relax and remove you from client work at weekends and on weekday evenings?
NO. I absolutely love what I do. I consider myself extremely lucky in the fact that most of the ”client work” is what I’m already so passionate about and paid for by a client- that’s not a bad thing to have as an artist!
The relaxing part of my job is when I finally see a project come to life and the crowds reactions,you know if a picture can speak a thousand words…then what are the possibilities of motion?
If someone wanted to hire you or get in contact for any kind of work or opportunities, what’s the best way to get involved?
Just drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org