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Jul 21

James White

2008 at 10.48 am posted by Veerle Pieters

For our next guest we travel to Canada and I'm sure that illustration lovers will have seen a glimpse of his work in some form or another. It's my pleasure to introduce James White.

Hi, my name is James White, I'm a 31 year-old designer and visual artist living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I've been working as a fulltime graphic designer since 1998, all the while keeping up with my personal artwork on my own time. I have been running Signalnoise.com, my personal art website since 1999 and this year have opened up my own online art store where I have sold posters to people all over the globe. I'm still into videogames, toys and comic books :)

Commodore

Commodore

I believe James' strength lies in the way he manages to bring complex geometric or organic forms together in a harmonious way. He is also a master in using primary and secondary colors and make them perfectly blend together. His work has an old school vibe but with a modern twist. This combination and in some case the addition of textures is what makes it all work imho. Wish I could experiment like that :) If you browse his older work on Flickr you'll see that James evolved quite nicely over the years.

La Femme

La Femme

Did you always know you wanted to be an illustrator and did it take long until you had your personal style?

I've been drawing since I was 4 years-old, so being creative has always been in my blood. I was doodling all the way through school and using the family Commodore to make little posters for me and my friends, which was my introduction to rudimentary computer graphics. I did it because I loved it, and never stopped. In terms of personal style, it took a very long time with a lot of hard work and dedication. I started developing my own computer artwork when I landed in the design industry in 1998, and spent almost 10 years trying everything I could creatively.

Comic books, character design, posters, animation, videogame graphics, children's books, lots of logos, painting . . . and this was all outside of my design day job. I would be inspired by everything around me as well as the new artists I was finding through the web. It's been a long and windy road so far, and I'm always looking for the next challenge.

Legacy 2600

Legacy 2600

How did you come up with the idea to use the Dutch language on posters like 'Omringen' and 'Oplossing'? I'm interested in this as it is my main language and to me it feels less exotic when compared to French for example :)

It's funny you should mention that, because the reason I use dutch words is because they look exotic to ME :) When I use words I'm not familiar with it allows me to see them strictly as form, not meaning. I love using type and logos mixed in with my art, but if I use English (my own main language) it has a high potential to slant my own perception of the piece where the word is the most important element. It might go against many design regulations, but I use words I'm not familiar with to remove any preconception I have so I can judge the overall work on strictly aesthetic and composition.

Omringen

Omringen

Oplossing

Oplossing

Can you tell us a little bit more about Flash Forge engine without giving away all your secrets :) For example about how you came up with the idea of using Flash in the first place and shed some light on how it works?

Forge is an engine I built in Flash to help me create random assortments of shapes on the fly. I am a very meticulous artist, so I really needed a tool that would force me to relinquish a bit of control over the elements to create a more organic aesthetic. It's a very clunky and cantankerous application, and I'm surprised smoke doesn't billow from my PC when I run it. But it works wonderfully for what I need it to do. I use Forge to create small random groups of vectors based on shapes I feed it, which I then export to Illustrator where I can clean them up and manipulate them however I want. This method isn't new, and is based on the work of Joshua Davis whom I have been a fan of since 1998.

Nebula of Shapes

Nebula of Shapes

Is your work the result of experimenting or do you have a clear picture in your head of the end result when you start + how long does it usually take until you reach an end result that you are pleased with?

I tend to start each work with a basic idea of what I want to achieve, but inevitably I stray from the course either intentionally or accidentally. I do a lot of sketching before I even look at the computer, sometimes drawing up to 40 thumbnails before landing on a composition I like. Once I jump onto the computer, I have a very organic process where I tend to say "Hmm, what if I tried this?" to see if I can discover new styles and ideas on the fly, so there is a lot of trial and error. That being said, I do try to maintain the overall vibe I want the piece to have, and banging through with so many variables at work can be quite a lengthy process. I'm a bit of a brute when it comes to not leaving a piece alone until it's doing what I want. The amount of time spent on each piece swings wildly, where one might take 3 hours and another, 15 hours. Eventually, things will snap into place where my initial vision and technical experimentation sync up.

Solid Gold Bomb

Solid Gold Bomb

Did they internet change the way you work and create new opportunities?

Absolutely. The internet is a constant and unrelenting source of inspiration. I get out of bed, make my coffee, and check out what all of my designer pals from all over the world uploaded while I slept. It's a wonderful creative organism, and I am very much addicted to it. As far as my own work habits go, Wordpress, Flickr and Big Cartel have changed my life with easily updatable websites, networking, and allowing me to sell my art online to a huge audience worldwide. Because of the internet I have been given opportunities to work with some amazing people, such as Toyota, Armada Skies and I have been recently contacted by MTV to work on a very exciting upcoming project. To say that the internet changed my life would be a vast understatement :)

Musica Viva

Musica Viva

Robot Rock

Robot Rock

More examples on James White's website Signalnoise.com. James is also active on Flickr and on Behance. He also has a Signalnoise store where you can buy his lovely posters.


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permalink this comment Michal Tuschl Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 11.53 am

James White is an amazing artist and one of my favorites!! Incredible work with colors and shapes. I like it a lot. Thanks Veerle for this nice interview!


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permalink this comment adelle Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 03.32 pm

Great post, he is an amazing designer & I’m a huge fan of his work.


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permalink this comment elend Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 04.41 pm

Great artist. Love his colorful works!


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permalink this comment bnlake Mon Jul 21, 2008 at 05.03 pm

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! The art of this day and age lack everything that these designs so proudly flaunt. This artist doesn’t seem afraid to combine contrasted colors; to break the rule of standards. I could never get bored looking at anything of this style. Beautiful selection for study!


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permalink this comment Joshua Davis Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 02.21 am

rocking !!! right back at ya James… “Oplossing” is one of my favs of your work. Props to Veerle for posting this interview.


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permalink this comment Nick Brown Tue Jul 22, 2008 at 06.35 pm

Awesome work. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple…) at its absolute best. Color is great and the lighting and subtle use of texture are sweet. What better than great illustration and great music (Robot Rock) – it hits Daft Punk on the nose! Great work!


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permalink this comment Tuesdai Noelle Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 01.33 am

Very detailed, clean, crisp, and professional drawings that you have featured on your blog. I design that I like BEST is; “Nebula of Shades”..looks as to the universe evolving into it’s full form.. for some reason takes me directing in the mindset of the thinkin on;  Adam and Eve.


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permalink this comment Mauricio González Sat Jul 26, 2008 at 11.39 pm

I love having good design to check and learn from, thnx for the interview & congrats for the great work. Lots to learn from. nice blog by the way.


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permalink this comment Consuelo Carrillo Sun Jul 27, 2008 at 04.11 pm

¡WOW!

Congratulations


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permalink this comment Vespa Tue Aug 5, 2008 at 12.36 am

They look like the futuristic art of the eighties. It feels so nostalgic to look at them and think back, remembering what it was like twenty years ago.


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permalink this comment Gareth Wed Aug 6, 2008 at 09.07 am

WOW! I love this man! Really bright design which works so so incredibly well. To tell you the truth i’m very jealous! How on Earth does he create these designs? Maybe he isn’t from Earth! Any ideas anyone?


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permalink this comment Jason Fri Aug 8, 2008 at 10.26 am

This is just beautiful. Its almost overwhelming with all the bright colors in your face.


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permalink this comment clarice Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05.23 pm

I love his colour sense. Amazing one of a kind style. He makes an interesting point about using foreign words in his work. Thanks for sharing.


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permalink this comment Mark Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 08.47 pm

I’m impressed! Great work! Especialy “Musica Viva” i like it very much!



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