When visual and graphic artist James White headed to Las Vegas to be a part of Vegas: Alter Your Reality, he wasn’t even sure he was going to a real city, with people who live among what he assumed was an adult amusement park planted in the middle of the desert.
His mind quickly changed on his flight over from his small-town home of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. From the window seat, he saw a sprawling city of bright lights and big possibilities, and when he landed, his ideas for what his virtual reality would be exploded.
He saw the neon-lit, pulsing energy of the city, and as a child of the ’80s and an enthusiast of the decade’s culture, he merged the two to create his own reality: Vegas Rising.
Las Vegas looked like what he was already drawn to when creating in his own studio, Signalnoise. White draws his inspiration from characters like Tron; retro movie posters; and the bright, vivid use of colors and shapes. Las Vegas gave him a new set of tools to create not only a picture you see, but also, as he explains, one you can walk through.
Aside from being a Vegas first-timer, White also had never worked with 3-D art in his career of designing. When creating his virtual reality, White got to explore within a whole new set of boundaries in his Signalnoise studio.
Putting his work out there and stepping away from his comfort zone brought an actual whole new reality. White has created work for Toyota, Universal Music, Nike, MTV, Google, Wired, and many other influential brands. But Vegas: Alter Your Reality challenged and unleashed a whole new level of talent in the artist.
When you step into his virtual reality, you’ll be taken back a few decades to some place that’s brighter, louder and bolder. His style is sure to stir up your nostalgia, focusing heavily on the 1980s by using lens flares, rainbows and bright lights. White says, “Nobody does light like Las Vegas does.” He incorporated the brightness of Las Vegas, saying, “It’s a science.”
His Vegas Rising is told as a city that has risen out of the desert, era by era, icon by icon. It’s all infused by the nightlife and excitement of Las Vegas, while encapsulating White’s very own energy. If colors were audible, his use of a rainbow makes everything grow louder.
Entering his Vegas Rising reality brings no pressure except to step deeper into your own carefree (and neon-lit) perspective. White isn’t eager for virtual reality experiencers to walk away with one particular experience or single message, but instead hopes that viewers just have fun − the same motive he had behind creating.
“Two people could go into this VR experience and have a completely different viewpoint, just based on which way you’re looking. That kind of reflects a trip to Las Vegas.”