Interview with FITC Speaker James White

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Interview with FITC Speaker James White

FITC Toronto 2012 is coming up quickly (April 23-25). The event which features over 70 renowned digital creators from around the globe, and cover everything from HTML5 to making digital art, Flash, FLEX, AIR, mobile and more. We got to sit down with James White, one of the FITC speakers, to get a glimpse at what he will be presenting as well as ask him why digital creators don’t want to miss this event.

Hello James and thanks for speaking with me. Could you tell us a little bit about what you do?

I’m a graphic designer, or artist, working out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. I grew up drawing cartoons, comic characters and all that, so when I graduated from high school I was accepted into a one-year Graphic Design course at a local community college. Then after a two-year course in Interactive Tech I got a job in the web industry in 1998.

James White
The man. The myth. The James.

Outside of doing agency work by day I would spend my own time doing the work I really wanted to do. I experimented relentlessly with animation, digital artwork, comic book illustration, basically anything to fill my time during the evenings and weekends. After doing this for 10 years I jumped ship and officially started the Signalnoise Studio and independently caught the attention of clients like Nike, Toyota, Universal Music, Wired magazine, Newsweek and whoever else.


Jay and Silent Bob

But still, when I’m not working on client stuff I’m doing my own thing, which has always been the backbone of Signalnoise. I’m not currently working with my agent on some alternative art posters for my favourite movies. Big things on the horizon and I’ve never enjoyed my job more than right now. Hell, doesn’t even feel like a job anymore.

I see you’re going to be one of the speakers at FITC Toronto. What are you going to be presenting?

My presentation for FITC Toronto 2012 is called DESIGN RENEGADE. The talk I did for the last two years (BACK TO THE FUTURE) revolved around my childhood creativity and how that morphed into a career doing big jobs for big clients. I tried my best to show my artistic evolution going right back to when I was 4 years old.

RENEGADE is a deeper analysis of following your own creative path. The idea that, even though we go through school and are taught all the “rules for success”, it ultimately comes down to your own passion. How good the instructor is doesn’t matter, nobody can give you a 10-step process of how to achieve your personal creative goals that will work for everyone. It’s not until your break away from the norm that true innovation and creativity can happen. DESIGN RENEGADE is all about that notion and I frame it up using personal experiences and stories that would never have happened had I not deviated from the industry’s norm.

The Sword Band Poster

What are some good reasons not to miss out on April’s FITC Event?

Being from a smaller city in Canada I rarely have access to big creative events of any kind. I’m sure that’s the case for a lot of people reading this right now, these things are just out of reach. I made the decision three years ago to get my ass to Toronto for FITC and it shifted my view of not only the industry, but how I actually worked. Speakers get onstage and talk about their work from a personal angle, which super-charges the audience to run home, get brave and chase their goals. That’s what happened to me.

I can rattle off a few presenters that I’m really looking forward to seeing speak, like Aaron Draplin, Fabio Sasso and Jason Theodore, but FITC really is about the full experience. Meeting people I respect in between talks, hearing about their projects and funny stories, answering questions from wonderfully timid students … I just love it all.

I urge anyone to get to FITC if they have the means, or ANY design conference for that matter. Being in a pit of other creative people for three days is like being hit by a bolt of lightning.

Thanks James!