Munich: Bending shapes

Munich: James White

For the past few weeks I have been trying to figure out a way to bend my shapes without compromising the sharpness and quality. After many unsuccessful attempts I finally figured out a method of arcing my shards in any way I want, which really opened some doors to some different compositions and ideas I wanted to explore where previously I was limited to keeping things in a straight line.

This new piece, entitled Munich, is designed at 18 x 24 and will eventually land in my online store. You can see a detail right here.

Store update: Things are going very well with getting the shop off the ground. The coding is just about complete and I’m currently hooking it up to Paypal. Hoping for a launch relatively soon.

Inspiration: Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes

My good pal Mike Holmes from here in Halifax recently started up a stream on Flickr, showcasing some of his illustrative poster work and his two weekly comic strips This American Drive and True Story.

Last year he was published by Oni Press with the 160-page graphic novel Shenanigans (written by Ian Shaughnessy) which he pencilled, inked, gray scaled and lettered. He also developed and shot this innovative music video for the song Tonight Tonite by the Superfantastics, inspired by the Sesame Street’s teeny little super guy.

In short, Holmes is a creative machine and if you haven’t heard of him, you will.

Inspiration: 70s Network promos

Network promos

I have mentioned my inspirations in previous posts, but I have been meaning to make a more specific entry about the subject. My recent works have been heavily influenced by television promos from the 1970s from networks like NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS. Some of these bumpers were created before the computer was used to animate in 3D space, while others were created at the dawn of computer generated graphics. Networks wanted to create bright and bold animated logos with the charm of 70s design.

The above graphic is made of simple snapshots of some of these wonderful animations, and it is easy to see the spectrum being used in bold and creative ways. NBC was really the front runner in my opinion, using the spectrum to animate their peacock logo.

Check out these YouTube clips of promos from NBC 1971, NBC 1978, NBC 1979, NBC 1982, ABC 1960s and the awesome Hanna Barbara logo. Enjoy.

Commodore 64

Commodore 64: James White

In the late 80s my father got a used Commodore 64, complete with a shoebox full of big black floppy discs loaded with copied games. The best family computer of the era. Even though I had a Nintendo at the time, I spent many hours at the computer desk noodling with games like Othello, Hot Wheels, Henry’s House, Impossible Mission, Jumpman, etc. It even had a primitive poster and banner making program which was my first experience using a computer to make art for me and my friends.

I have many fond memories of the 64, and this art piece, aptly named Commodore 64, pays homage to that great system with it’s hilarious ink-ribbon printer and adorable 2-toned blue screen. You can see a detail here.

Varo Special Presentation

Varo Special PresentationInspiration for this piece, Varo Special Presentation, was pulled directly from the CBS Special Presentation promo that was used in the 70s and early 80s. I remember this bumper being used before all of my favorite holiday cartoons and that rare occasion when I’d find Star Wars being aired on cable tv. There was a lot of excitement and anticipation when I saw this loud promo appear.

It was fun to add some perspective to the abstract shapes, as my past pieces have all been relatively flat. Adding different angles to the pieces allows them to play off of one another in a different way, bringing about a different atmosphere. Another small note, I had been using the Avant Garde typeface for a little while now and completely by chance, it is the same one CBS used in their bumper back in the day. Go figure.

Conducteur Universal

Conducteur Universal: James White

I’ve only worked on a couple of collaborations in my design career, but they’ve always been enjoyable. I like taking something that someone else created and putting my own spin on it, or vice versa. It’s another element to play with that offsets my normal workflow. This piece, Conducteur Universal is a collaboration with my good friend Chris Toms who supplied me with a photograph with abstract light shards. I then added my own shapes and colors to it in an attempt to maintain the perspective of Chris’ original.

The logo in the lower left is similar to a design on our family television from the 80s. It was a big wood-paneled floor model that I’m sure had some kind of hi-fi feature.

2001 A Space Odyssey

2001 A Space Odyssey: James WhiteThe image bookmarking system at has become a personal invaluable resource for inspiration, which is where I recently spotted this poster for Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey. I have always loved Kubrick’s use of slow camera arcs and long slow pans to add his special flavor of atmosphere to an otherwise uninteresting scene.

I started thinking about his style coupled with that very simple poster for 2001, and thought many styles of executed properly could accurately represent the movie in poster form, especially with the 21-minute amazing psychedelic scene near the end of the movie. I decided to put my own spin on the poster, and tried to make it look like an old beta-max or vhs cover.


Mego by James WhiteThe newest piece, entitled Mego, was inspired by a recent conversation with a friend. We were talking about animation and toys from the 70s and the Mego Corporation came up. Mego was a toy company started in 1971 and made licensed toylines for Star Trek, Wizard of Oz and superhero figures for both Marvel and DC. They suffered an eventual downfall in 1983, which resulted from turning down the then unheard of Star Wars toyline in 1976.

As I mention in recent posts, I have been greatly inspired by the cosmic design of 1970s television graphics and started watching old toy ads as well. I found the Mego logo, recreated it, and decided it was a nice addition to this piece. It was designed at 18 x 24 and will eventually become a print. You can also check a detail here.