Kei Wells' virtual influencer career was defined by great art, an interesting storyline, catchy music, and a trove of fans obsessed with all of the above—a well-orchestrated production off to a great start.undefined

Alas... legal issues, contention, and more led to Kei’s sudden disappearance from social media in tandem with a total removal of her music from streaming platforms. Shortly after, on March 23, 2020, the multi-talented Noé took to her personal Instagram to reveal the real reason @thatgirldad's music got taken down, ultimately outing herself as the voice and mind behind Kei Wells. She provides a BTS look at Wells’ deletion, which we chronicle in a dedicated piece for you here.

While Kei Wells’ artist career ends on a sad note, her virtual presence should not be defined solely by the downfall. Today, we are excited to give you a glimpse into early drafts and illustrations from one of the creatives involved in this virtual influencer project from the start.

Cam Chan (@_baomii)

Meet Cam Chan. Cam is a Chinese-American illustrator living in Los Angeles, CA responsible for designing the 2D environment art on the Kei Wells project. Her work is warm and inspired by childhood nostalgia for YA fantasy novels, manga, and roleplaying video games. Chan’s art exists at a comfortable intersection between mood, color, and light, and her 2D work on Kei Wells' environments really speaks to that—it's evocative, exciting, and welcoming, visually communicating a sense of fun and kindness. Check out and support her work on her store here.

We are excited to showcase Cam Chan's environment art, which were commissioned during the creation phase of Kei Wells, as well as initial illustration concepts of a would-be Kei Wells character that never saw the light of day on the @thatgirldad account.

Looking back on Cam Chan's art for the Kei Wells project should inspire just a glimpse of how much her fans miss her presence, style, and down-to-Earth storyline.

The 2D approach to virtual influencer storytelling challenges the popularly accepted notion within the virtual influencer industry that "uncanny valley" is a necessary step to tell a human, connected, and authentic storyline. Know, the underlying innovation of the virtual influencer industry is the compositing of a character, in any style, into the real world—not simply the creation of a 3D model, which humanoid-focused PR coverage of the industry may lead you to believe.

Look to 2D girl Hatsune Miku, the most famous virtual influencer in the world and Japan's biggest pop star. Animated characters as virtual influencers represent the next major innovation on decades of 2D character storytelling and continue to redefine how we think about virtual influencer storytelling as a whole.

Kei Wells will be missed, but someday the void will be filled by another lovable, 2D character as the virtual influencer industry continues to grow.

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