If you need state-of-the-art computer graphics and 3D projections, then you need Vello Verkhaus, the man behind the insane on-stage visuals for shows such as American Idol and musicians as varied as Coldplay, Kanye West and Skrillex. We persuade him to to take five minutes to allow us a peek at his little grey cells.
Did you get into these visual installations from a background in computers and code, fine art, film/video perceptive?
I got into these visual installations and experiential projects from a background in Art & Technology studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
What was your big break?
Did I have one yet? Not sure. Hah! That’s why I still live in LA! I think Korn’s concert visuals/DVDs and my collaborations with superstar director Jim Gable and Nathan Karma Cox definitely helped get my feet on the ground in LA. I think this year for my production company V Squared has been amazing, and really brought us into the TV market with our successful execution of the American Idol 11th Season 3D mapped visuals.
What’s the most intense visual project you have ever worked on?
Amon Tobin ISAM and the Infected Mushroom Fungus are super intense visually.
What has been the most ridiculous request you have ever had from a client, and did you deliver?
I try to dodge the bullet on ridiculous requests… and send them on to my producers.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are working on a visual show for Paris Hilton and a new 3D mapping nightclub visual system in Hollywood. The club is called Sound, featuring lighting design by SJ lighting and environment by iCrave.
Where is VJ/Digital video art headed?
Into the future! I think VJ visual art is becoming an integral and ever more important part of the electronic dance music scene.
What are the most exciting leaps in technology you have witnessed lately in your field?
The biggest leaps we have seen are in hardware and technology. What used to take four computers now only takes one.
Is anything possible these days in projections and visuals?
Seems like anything is possible these days. I just agree.
Will you be branching into hologram projections?
You mean Pepper’s ghost reflections? We are more interested in making truly holographic 3D mapping effects… vs. 1800’s magic trick reflections. When you can truly make a projected, moving hologram, then I will be interested. I studied holography in college, and find the term hologram projection an appalling marketing hoax. It’s like buying an HD mouse. There is no such thing.
What do you do to relax?
I hit the gym, hang out with my daughter looking for bugs, swim, hike and chill in my garden. I love watching movies, especially Sci-Fi and hanging with the guys.
What’s the last album you bought/downloaded?
I just bought Simian Mobile Disco Un-Patterns and Squarepusher Ufabulum.
Where’s is the most beautiful place you have ever been, when did you go, and why did it affect you so much?
The most awesome and beautiful place I have ever been was Koh Phangan Thailand and Scuba-diving at Sail Rock. This was the first time I ever really had seen the tropical ocean, and felt like being inside a Finding Nemo movie. I grew to love the ocean so much and learned to dive from one of the nicest guys I have ever met, Chan of Lotus Diving. I think I went in 2001.. oh how the years get fuzzy.
Where do you live, (City, state, etc) and why?
I live in Sherman Oaks CA. Why I live in Los Angeles is because the weather is amazing and this is the capital of the entertainment business in America.