Q&A: Piperboy

Edvin Lee, aka Piperboy, is an interactive designer living and working in the cold of Banff, Canada. Joe Russ talks to him about his numerous online projects, globalisation and the mystery of Kate Bush.

Computer Arts: So what are you all about, Piperboy?

Piperboy: My philosophy is to always have fun and not let people's opinions dictate my work. I like to use different influences to create my own style and am intrigued by pop culture and everything that relates to art, music, fashion and design. I'm currently working as an interactive designer at The Banff Centre where I've been able to collaborate with many different artists.

CA: Are there many opportunities for designers in Canada?

PB: There are loads of cool design shops such as Switch Interactive, Vacuum Sucks, Blast Radius and Hendersen Bas. These studios have produced really high quality work that has helped raise the profile of Canadian design and I'm really optimistic about the future. There are many opportunities, but the majority of full-time jobs are in the cities - Toronto or Vancouver. However, everyone is so connected these days, and information and money flows so quickly, that many talented freelancers are able to work in remote locations.

CA: You've got numerous online projects; could you talk us through a few of them?

PB: Piperboy's Scrapbook is the result of my travels around Europe in autumn 2003. I was blown away by the rich history and the openness of interesting visuals, and by the time I returned home I had accumulated over 30 rolls of fi lm that I wanted to share. My goal was to create digital collages and illustrations, which incorporated interesting visual elements while keeping the navigation easy to use. After its launch, I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback; it was even featured in Web Designing magazine in Japan in September 2004.

CA: And what's Sekushi.com about?

PB: Sekushi promotes new and emerging artists from diverse backgrounds who convey poignant statements in their work. I believe that the success of an online art gallery relies on the ability to generate a large worldwide audience, something that has eluded the traditional galleries and even museums. Online galleries are not limited by physical location - art lovers can view from the comfort of their own home.

CA: How did your obsession with 80s-style ladies come about?

PB: One of the first music videos I saw was Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). That day marked the beginning of a new era in musical taste. I used to watch Kate Bush's videos and wonder, 'What is going on with that woman?' I really didn't understand her until recently. Women such as Cyndi Lauper and Chrissie Hynde had their own style and didn't use their sexuality or compromise their integrity to sell records. I grew up listening to these artists, and they strongly influence my work. Still a work in progress, Eighties Ladies is a tribute to these pioneering women of pop and rock.

INFO: Check out more of Piperboy's work by visiting his websites at www.piperboy.com/home.htm or www.everybodyhello.com/eightiesladies/index.html