When I met Kekai Kotaki (or 'Cake' as we call him here at the 'Bar) several years ago at the 2005 Concept Art Workshop, I was amazed and inspired by his talent and his awesome sketchbooks. Though he was a fresh face to the scene, I knew for certain that his skills would take him far. And that they have.
Since 2004, Kekai has worked consistently in the gaming industry, starting as a texture artist, and making his way briskly up the internal ladders of NCSoft and ArenaNet, to become the lead concept designer on GuildWars 1 and 2.
Yet even with the demands of his day job, he still finds time to do freelance work for clients like Tor Books and their art director, Irene Gallo.
Kekai is an artist of rare acuity and vision. The images he creates immediately immerse you in the realms illustrated. Some fantasy artists require a suspension of disbelief or a familiarity with the subject matter at the very least, in order to make you believe. Kekai provides you with immediate recognition — regardless of your situation.
Even though his method is abstraction, he assaults your senses with his evocative character designs, atmospheres and solid compositions. The majesty of his landscapes and environments are beyond reproach. The images we've presented here are a select few, but they will leave you in awe.
As we discuss in the interview, Kotaki has created so much content that's been used in promo adverts by the gaming industry, that you may recognize them all, and never have known they were his. As such, we recommend you check out his site and blog for a bigger piece...of 'Cake'.
Below is a small gallery of Kekai's images. There's a distinct "wow" factor at work!
This is one of the images mentioned in the interview. The one Cake said Daniel Dociu kinda art directed him on (to good results).