We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Hanson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I think being creative is an innate impulse versus a chosen path. I think finding one’s path is a divining process, one uses intuition in conjunction with rational evaluation to ascertain if there’s livelihood and gratification potential. If you are truly a creative, I think you’ll find a path that works to support that impulse.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a former feature films visual effects artist who is now developing virtual reality experiences of remote and amazing landscapes and locations. My early architectural design experience led me into creating digital cityscapes for The Fifth Element, The Day After Tomorrow and others, but a few years ago I had a pivotal shift moving me away from creating the fictional and toward capturing the natural world through the rich opportunities that VR affords. I have worked on creating immersive media projects w/ Bjork, Ai Weiwei, and many other remarkable individuals that has led me to my current avocation of re-creating presence in beautiful and lyrical desert landscapes and cultural heritage across the world while in a VR headset. I am releasing a curated collection of these experiences on the Oculus Quest this spring. I am also an active educator, and am on faculty at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, teaching VR and VFX curriculum.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would show them the remarkable landscapes that surround Los Angeles, from Red Rock Canyon up to the Owens Valley. I would take them to the oldest living trees in the Ancient Bristlecone Forest in the White Mountains, and into a narrow volcanic slot canyon at Mono Lake. We’d soak in Wild Willies natural hot springs in the volcanic tablelands and explore the mysterious Lake Crowley columns. We’d catch a meal at Whoa Nelli’s Deli on the way to Yosemite and enjoy the high country and the remarkable vantage points that ring the Valley. We’d return through Santa Barbara looking at ancient Chumash rock art, and finally back to Santa Monica for a house margarita at Lula’s Cochina on Main. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say all that provided challenges along the way, you don’t grow or learn without them!