Featured Artist: James White

by Jay Hilgert
on January 14, 2008

Everyone, have I got a treat for you! Please welcome the latest BittBox Featured artist: James White. James is a talented, experienced designer from Nova Scotia, and his work speaks for itself. I chose a few selected works for this post, but believe me, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Visit James’ Flickr page to browse all of his work and hang on to your pants, because you will be inspired. Read the interview with James below to get to know the artist a little better and you can also visit his website (Signalnoise.com) for more info. Ladies and gentlemen, the fine artwork of James white:

Featured Artist: James White

Some of James’ Works:

Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White
Featured Artist: James White

James’ Flickr Page:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/signalnoiseart/

James’ Website:

www.Signalnoise.com

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.

James

My name is James and I’m a graphic designer working in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. After drawing all my life, I trained to be a designer from 1995 to 1998 and have been working in the field ever since. I do corporate design work by day and always have various personal art projects I work on during the evenings and weekends, which ultimately fuels my love of art and creation. I let my design and personal art bounce off of one another as I learn new techniques.

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2. What drives you? What keeps you interested in design?

James

Everything is a challenge. Whether it’s a client job or a piece I want to create for myself, it’s the process of coming up with an idea and executing it properly that really keeps my fires burning. Art and design is everywhere, and I draw a lot from my environment in terms of inspiration and exploring different styles. I start my with a mug of coffee and surfing the web for art updates (mostly via ffffound.com) which is easy because the web is flooded with new art every single day. Being an artist isn’t limited to the pencil or computer, to me it’s a way of life so it’s very easy for me to keep the ball rolling.

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3. If you could tell everyone out there 1 thing about your work, what would it be? Maybe a unique skill you have, or rare technique you use?

James

My weapons of choice are Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and my mitts. I’ll sketch out an idea to nail down a simple composition that appeals to me aesthetically, then mock it up in Illustrator using simple blocks so I can experiment with color on the fly. After that it is a matter of building all of the elements I require for the given piece, which sometimes involves using Flash as a random asset generator for shapes and things. Illustrator is where most of the logos, type and precise shapes begin. I then use Photoshop to bring everything together and really refine the composition, colors, type and texture. I rely quite heavily on the happy mistakes that happen along the way which causes me to see the piece in a new light and may give me ideas I never would have considered otherwise. My process is rather lengthy, but it’s enjoyable to see all of the elements finally come together when/if they do.

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4. Name at least 1 quirky or dorky thing you do for inspiration or to pass boredom in those “design-block” moments.

James

Blocks happen fairly seldom to me because I really do try and immerse myself in what I love all the time. I’m constantly watching inspiring movies and cartoons, reading design magazines and comic books, and keeping up on the internet art scene as much as I can. I also do a lot of art history research. Having inspiring material and people around all of the time really makes design-blocks a rare occurrence, and keeps me into what I’m doing. Many of my friends are creative types and their ambition to pursue their own projects is very easy to get swept up in.

To get a shot of inspiration I will sometimes start reading US conspiracy theories and checking out 1970s television network promotions on Youtube. Sounds strange I know, but it works.

When a block or bout of discouragement should hit, I normally just go for a walk to get away from my sketchbook and computer for a while. I live close to a park and the ducks there are good company.

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5. Music while you work? Yes, No Sometimes, or Blaring Constantly.

James

Constantly. I love my rock and metal and it keeps me going as I click away in Photoshop or do some sketching. Some of the art pieces I have created hinge directly on what I might be listening to at the time because I love music so much. A few of my favorite bands to play as I work are Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin, In Flames, Massive Attack, The Beatles, Isis, Pelican, Mastodon, Jesu, Tool, Red Sparowes, Unkle, etc.

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6. Do you have a favorite artist or a few that influenced you more than others?

James

I’ve come across so much great work that has inspired me, but I’ll do my best to pare it down. Older influences come from the early part of the 1900s, guys like Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko, Marcel Duchamp, Josef Müller-Brockmann, Saul Bass and the Bauhaus School. Most of these artists were practising far before the computer was invented, yet there work and style are benchmarks in a lot of new work coming out today.

I surf a lot of artists’ websites to keep up on what is happening on the modern global art scene. There are some wonderful things happening online now in the ‘post web-boom’ era, and so many artists who came to light in the early 2000s have really found their voice. Some of the artists I’ve been watching over the years are Joshua Davis (Joshuadavis.com), Scott Hansen (iso50.com), Chuck Anderson (Nopattern.com), Fatoe (Fatoe.com), Jemma Hostetler (Prate.com), Mike Cina (Trueistrue.com), Mike Young (Designgraphik.com), Sheppard Fairey (Obeygiant.com) and the comic book artist Darwyn Cooke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwyn_Cooke).

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7. Are you available for commissions? If so how can we contact you?

James

Absolutely. I am always interested in potential commission or collaboration work, and I’d love to work with any of the musicians or artists I listed above. My full contact information can be found on my website, Signalnoise.com.

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8. Anything else you would like to say to the readers?

James

Keep the pedal to the metal. Never stop trying new things and exploring different avenues and mediums. You will never know your full potential if you set boundaries for yourself so keep looking forward and plan how to evolve your work. Also, there are riches to be found in the past. A little bit of online art history research is a wonderful way to generate new ideas and concepts. If you have an artist who is your hero, find out who influenced them!

About Jay Hilgert

Formally trained at Oklahoma State, Jay Hilgert is a graphic and web designer, font designer (Link), software developer (Brush Pilot™), and the founder of BittBox.

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