Imag[in]e: Oliver White

Oliver invites us into an alternate world of experimentation in 3D graphics.

Tell the readers a little about yourself and what you’re studying.

Hi, hello, I am Oliver. I grew up in rural Victoria until a couple of years ago when I moved to Adelaide. I am currently studying Communication Design with an interest in 3D illustrations that convey a simple mood or message. When I’m not doing work, I have a tonne of other interests. I love old cars, guitar, groovy Netflix/Stan shows, and Mr. Sunshine’s café in Thebarton.

A while ago you mentioned you jumped from Product to Communication Design. It seems like what you learnt in Product Design really influenced your style. Were you interested in 3D graphics even before you came to uni?

I’m really grateful for the things I learnt in that course and the main thing was to be curious! Have curiosity of your surroundings, how things are made, and how other cultures approach design. Product design being so physical and hands on, I loved the idea of drawing from multiple disciplines to help influence one single medium.

While I didn’t even know about 3D art and motion design before uni, my interest in it has been quite intense since I started self-teaching it six months ago. I’ve never had such an epiphany like the time I first discovered the ManvsMachine studio and artist Alexis Christodoulou. While I am absolutely in the early stages of my learning and design journey, I will never forget that thought of ‘I need to know how the hell these guys are producing this work.’ I mean I am still quite baffled by a lot of new work that’s being produced today by visual designers. Usually I hate change, but I absolutely love it in this field.  

I’m curious as to what styles you were into previously, can you tell us about how your interest in art and design has developed over the years?

My place in art and design has been interesting because I didn’t really put my hand into it until after high school. While I did love to draw when I was little like everyone else, throughout my teenage years I was putting all my creative focus into audio engineering and writing music as hobbies. So, for a long time I was really interested in audio, rather than visuals. And it wasn’t until I did a case study on 3D printing that my life direction completely changed from business accounting to a creative career. Now I’m experimenting with digital sculpting with no real idea of what is going to come out of it. But that’s what gets me really excited about communication design. I think there’s something romantic about growing up with varying interests, and then being able to combine them all into a career. A dear friend of mine told me that I have always been a creative, and that I’ve just been applying it in different areas as I’ve grown. Something about that has really stuck with me since.

Some of your work feels almost eerie in a way, though the experimentation of texture and lighting in all your pieces seem very powerful. Are any of them inspired by your day-to-day life?

I think you could say that. I like to make the scenes somewhat relatable by nature, but I sometimes feel the need to add a subject that makes the viewer question what the image is about. I find odd image perceptions really fascinating. Like how old photographs of children wearing Halloween costumes are absolutely horrifying to look at today. They’re scary but so simple. I guess I’ve stemmed off things like that for my surreal images. Other areas are usually based off what I want to see around me. I’ll build up a scene in my head throughout the day and try and produce it as quick as I can. Usually it looks nothing like what I imagined, and this is when I do my best work, as it can spark a new idea or direction. Sometimes I will just start with one or two colours that I really like at that time and build from there.  

I am also super envious of your 3D skills, how would you give advice to someone who wants to teach themselves how to create their own 3D graphics?

Thank you! Well, I would tell them to take advantage of online resources. YouTube, Vimeo, and Lynda are full of fantastic tutorials on learning 3D programs such as Cinema4d and Blender. There are so many techniques and styles in computer graphics that I find it’s just best to learn one technique at a time and then apply it to your own personal projects so that you remember it in your own way. 3D art and motion design has a really wonderful online community as well, so don’t be afraid to reach out to other artists and designers for help or critique of your work. I do this quite a lot and it can be a little daunting at times, but mostly the reception is lovely.

What’s the ideal project you’d love to work on, and with who?

Ooo that’s a tough one. I would love to do more visual work in the music industry. I love the styling for The Jungle Giants so I would be stoked to work with them.

Give us your best tips on how to keep creative.

My number one tip would be to do your own personal projects. And do them as much as your free time allows. Having a brief to follow for a client or uni assignment is great, but doing your own work allows you to make terrible work, experiment some more, and hopefully come out the other end with something new. I find It really rewarding to use Instagram as a platform for a personal project because it keeps you accountable to continue making content. Set lots of small, realistic goals that you can work towards, but keep the bigger picture in mind. Which is creating the work you want to create!


Interview by Sascha Tan

Graphics by Oliver White

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