James van den Elshout is a Brooklyn based Australian artist and designer. He has a hybrid focus on combining rich and detailed worlds with clean and minimal compositions. Throughout his career he has created live visuals, music videos and experiential installations with award winning creative duo, Toby & Pete, since then he has relocated to New York and is currently an Art Director with global VFX advertising studio, The Mill. While he loves the challenge of client briefs and working with a large team, his creative ambition has always been fueled by self-initiated solo passion projects, his most recent case study and film La Biblioteca de Babel is a fine example of this.
READ Our Q&A with James van den Elshout Below
What have you been up to, what have you been working on over the last year?
I wish I had more excitement going on but the past year has all been about learning to live with the ongoing pandemic, all while gaining a better grasp of work/life balance and finding the true value in things that matter the most in life. Work wise I have had the great opportunity to art direct some incredible commercials and campaigns with the talented team over at The Mill in New York and also gearing up for more personal work in 2022.
Tell us a bit about your art practice and any key themes throughout your work?
The 3D space is at the heart of most of my work, I find it gives me the most freedom to realise whatever it is I am aiming to create. I like to think I have a bit more of a graphical approach to my subject matter and compositions but am starting to blur those lines a bit with more detailed and cinematic works. Personally I believe I am still discovering what my key themes are, I have certain aspirations and goals I am striving for but am still a little off what I am happy with.
What attracted you about showcasing at Satellite?
Getting the chance to introduce NFTs and their application in the art world to the public is a wonderful movement to be a part of. In addition, exhibiting my work among other artists that I admire and respect so much is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Can you tell us more about the story and inspiration behind your Satellite submission?
‘Cerulean Cloudscape’ is an expansion and in some ways the culmination of existing techniques and ideas I have explored from previous artworks. As I thought about the type of work I wanted to exhibit, the more I wanted to create an abstract piece that would compliment the room it sits in, something that brings color, dimension and detail into the space and inspires curiosity.
Who/what are your biggest influences and where do you find your inspiration for your art?
I’ve always been inspired by video games and stories of fantasy & sci-fi, however only in the last couple of years have I felt confident enough in my abilities that I could start to explore and develop some of these worlds of my own. I’ve been re-reading The Riftwar Saga series of books by Raymond E. Feist, they are classics in the genre and have sparked countless ideas and levels of world building. Also rediscovering a childhood interest of the card game Magic: The Gathering has been a wonderful past-time during the pandemic, the card art is so rich and features such a deep world of classic fantasy themes.
Can you share any plans for upcoming projects?
I’m building towards another large body of work similar to my previous project ‘La Biblioteca de Babel’ with further exploration of world building and everything that it entails. I’ve enjoyed taking my time with projects and not feeling a need to churn out work for the sole purpose of needing to post something. Stay tuned, but I wouldn’t hold your breath!
In your crystal ball, what are your predictions for NFTs in the next 5 years?
The literal million dollar question – short answer, I have no idea! Longer answer, I believe NFTs have proven their function within the art industry, however I am curious to see how we can apply this technology to other applications so other industries can utilize and benefit from them too, such as within gaming, live music ticketing and election voting. I’m optimistic!
Don’t miss seeing James van den Elshout NFTs at Satellite 2022
A month-long, digitally immersive and sensory experience Bringing together over 40 NFT artworks from leading influential Australian and international artists, in Bondi Beach this March.