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Behind the Title: Leviathan executive creative director Jason White

Name:  Jason White (@jasonlvthn) 

Company: Leviathan is a creative agency that specializes in designing digital experiences for physical environments. Some examples of our work would be projection-mapped concerts, experiential events and interactive installations.

Though our company’s core competency is content-related CG production, our differentiator is conceptual development, paired with software engineering to create custom systems and experiences for each new project.

What’s your job title?
Executive Creative Director

What does that entail? 
I’m responsible for our company’s creative direction: who we are and what we appear to be. I oversee all aspects of the company’s creative output, often helping my team look at everything we do from a holistic, art-centered point of view.

I also play a prominent role in defining the company’s culture — from coaching individual teammates to meticulously crafting our portfolio for public viewing. When it comes to public relations, attracting others into our orbit has got to be one of the most rewarding parts of the job.

What would surprise people the most about what falls under that title?
The left and right sides of the brain working in perfect harmony… at lightning-fast speeds.
The job is a delicate balance of focusing on the business end, from both our company’s and clients’ needs, while continuously expressing myself creatively, by always coming up with new looks and fresh ideas.

What’s your favorite part of the job?
Growing artists. I feel an enormous amount of satisfaction creating jobs for artists, creating paths for growth and seeing them succeed over time. It’s incredibly rewarding to not only be in the position to invent a company that provides jobs but to work alongside the staff and continuously re-invent the company together.

What’s your least favorite?
Stopping. I sometimes have to stop the creative fire within my team, that same fire that I’d ignited when the project started, that thing that we were so excited about as a team. Sometimes stopping what we’ve started means that clients changed their minds, direction or just ran out of money to support the project. Breaking that bad news to my team is hard, and I don’t like breaking hearts.

What is your favorite time of the day?
I’m into every minute of every day. There’s just never enough time to experience it all.

If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead?
Creating non-commercial works of art and exhibitions.

How early on did you know this would be your path?
When I was in middle school, I was already creating my art and had a vision of building an art-centered culture and studio, inspired by a blend of Andy Warhol’s art factory and the strange world that Salvador Dali had conjured.

It wasn’t until college, though, that I realized computer animation would be the key to putting all of these dreams into reality and the moment I stepped into a post production boutique, I immediately knew that I would someday build one.

Airbus

Can you name some recent projects you have worked on?
We’ve recently wrapped two special exhibit projects. One is an experiential exhibit for Airbus, a commercial aircraft titan, that features sculptural projection mapping, using a touch interface for system control. The other project is an interactive exhibit within California’s PG&E energy training center that uses augmented reality to teach people how to conserve energy while touring through a real model home. Both of these exhibits share an instructional approach to the interactivity that informs and educates in real spaces, making for project assignments that are much more rewarding.

What is the project are you proudest of?
I’m in the middle of writing a book on the subject of Experiential Design, under contract with Routledge Press. It’s an industry-focused book that documents the extraordinary art and technology experiences surrounding us and, ideally, helps define our industry for the current and next generation of artists. I’m proud to say that so many studios and professional artists have rallied to the cause. They have been supportive and generous with content and interviews, and enriching this project.

Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
Laptop. Wacom tablet. Weather app.

What social media channels do you follow?
The ISS (The International space station) photograph feeds are so inspiring. Daily images from life in space puts things in perspective for me.

Do you listen to music while you work?
I have a work playlist filled with composer Cliff Martinez’s soundtrack work (Drive, Only God Forgives, Solaris) His recent The Knick series soundtracks are perfect to work to; delicate, meditative and curious.

What do you do to de-stress from it all?
I fight. Well, only through boxing in my gym. I’ve been doing it for almost two years now, and I have to say that it’s both the best full-body workout and mental stress reliever. The amount of focus required under intense pressure ironically puts you in a zen state of mind, where nothing else matters.

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