Graphic Designer Adam Kurtz Brings Instagram Pics to Life

by PAPER / photos by Diggy Lloyd
Adam J. Kurtz is a Toronto-born graphic designer living Brooklyn. People on the internet call him ADAMJK, because people on the internet like shortening things almost as much as they like puns. Though he's largely a digital artist, Kurtz is clearly still fixated on the tangibility of real world objects. Take, for example, his new book, 1 Page at a Time, an off-shoot of sorts from his annual weekly planner, Unsolicited Advice. 

The projects represent an appreciation for the bygone era of largely displaced by the mobile apps we carry with us everywhere. Kurtz takes things even further on his Instagram account, where his IRL series creates makeshift Instagram photos on placemats and other surfaces. 

Naturally, that series seemed like a perfect fit for Sprout's immersive computing platform so Kurtz decided to use the device to take IRL Instagram to the next level. It's not every day that you get to digitize a hand full of candy.

1 Page at a Time isn't a journal, sketchbook, diary or calendar, according to the press material. We know what it's not -- so, what is it, exactly?

It's none of those things because it's all of those things and more. It's a bunch of paper that you'll turn into whatever you want. It's encouraging and friendly, but it gets real -- so use it as a sketchbook to jumpstart creativity, or fill it with your secrets. It'll become whatever you make of it.

It sounds like you were using this project as an opportunity to expand what you did in the book, in a sense. Were you expecting to create supplementary work for the book before hearing about the project?

I'm looking forward to using the book myself throughout the year, revisiting ideas that I've since turned the page on myself, or even completely forgotten. Because every book is a chance to make something entirely different, it'll be exciting to go through. Using Sprout by HP was my first chance to really dive into the book, and the unexpected tools, like super simple 2D capturing and even 3D rendering let me go literally beyond the page.

How did you get on the IRL Instagram kick? Was there a desire to create something a little more...tangible than you get on screen?

Tangiblity is what it's all about for me! From my "gift shop" products ( to the book, it's all about finding ways to slow down, hold onto thoughts and ideas before they disappear "down the feed," and GET REAL. The "IRL Instagrams" are a fun, literal, obvious way to do that.

Sprout seems like a good fit, in the sense that it provides a sort of bridge between the digital and the real world. Are you actively looking for a way to connect the two worlds?

I am interested in bridging the gap, again that's what a lot of my work and projects are about. Slowing down, disconnecting, feeling and making things, and then bringing them back into a digital space to share (because that's just how we communicate these days). I'm not anti-internet or a luddite by any means, I love this stuff! But I like the play between physical and digital and I think there's a lot of cool stuff to be done with the combination of the two. Sprout seems like a cool way for people to get their hands "dirty," so to speak.

What was your experience like with the device?

It actually all went very smoothly! The device was easy enough to dive into, exploring tools and options for creating from basic digital drawing to pulling images off the internet. I'm so used to all these steps, making, photographing, scanning, cropping -- Sprout did a lot of that intuitively, which could put a lot of new resources in people's hands.

Were you able to explore any avenues -- technological or otherwise -- that hand't been open to you?

I got to make a 3D rendered banana! That was so cool. You just put the object down and Sprout captures and digitizes, then you play with the angles and position before finalizing the render. It was super sci-fi feeling. The future is cool.

Did you hit upon any concepts you'd like to explore further? Anything that might make it into a future book or planner?

I really used it as an opportunity to respond to my own prompts rather than create new ones, but I had a lot of fun with the candy and lightbulbs -- some of that might make it into my mouth in about five minutes.

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