We had the good fortune of connecting with Joey Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joey, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Pixel Canvas started out as a video game studio back in 2018. We’ve released an award winning VR horror game Reiko’s Fragments and have enjoyed some success and was awarded the Epic MegaGrant. However I decided to pivot the company towards virtual events during the Covid 19 quarantine period around March 2020. The decision had a lot to do with my personal background and professional experience in physical event design and 3D visualization. I’ve spent over a decade at event design agencies such as George P. Johnson (GPJ) and the idea for virtual events was because during March of 2020 the events industry was in panic trying to find a solution to quickly translate canceled physical events into a virtual experience. For me the solution was crystal clear because what I was already doing at GPJ was designing and rendering physical exhibit booths and environments inside a game engine the Unreal Engine. This is also the engine I used to build Reiko’s Fragments with my team in Pixel Canvas. So for me I knew if I simply added a few of my programmers from pixel canvas to add some interactivity to the 3D designs you can simulate the exhibit booth experience. After spending many years in the event design industry I’ve finally merged it with my passion with interactive video games and the result is a truly engaging virtual events platform that can be experienced through your web browser from any device no downloads required. We launched our first virtual event with Verizon in Sept 2020 and since we’ve delivered multiple virtual events for big brands such as Warner Media, LG, British Telecoms and many more.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My background professionally for many years is 3D art and design. I’ve spent most of my career in the events industry designing and visualizing physical events before they are physically built. The problem was I’ve always wanted to break into the gaming industry because that is where my true passion is. I not only loved playing games but loved creating levels within games such as Little Big Planet. The biggest challenge was location because I spent most of my years in Washington DC and the amount of game industry opportunities there was very rare and I found myself stuck in the event industry for 7 years before I decided to move to Los Angeles. The city was exactly what I was missing all those years. I quickly met so many gaming industry professionals and creative people in the first couple months. Some who are now my closest friends inspired and pushed me to start my own game company. I think the biggest lesson learned for me is location does matter and the people around you can lead you in very different directions in life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love food hopping in Los Angeles. When I first arrived I was constantly amazed at all the different types of food available in a 30 mile radius. I’m a huge fan of authentic Chinese food and Alhambra has so many of my favorite restaurants and boba tea shops. So I would take my friend food hopping around the San Gabriel area. Then I would hit down town LA for some night life around Ktown for some drinks. I would schedule another day to do some touristy stuff like Hollywood walk of fame and a hike at Griffith Observatory. Then spend some time relaxing at one of the many beaches in west LA. One of my personal favorites is Redondo Beach. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to my parents for the support and the risk they took to help me get Pixel Canvas to where it is. Non of this could have happened if they didn’t help with the initial funding to kickstart my decision to quit my day job and pursue the virtual events platform business.
Pixel Canvas Inc