VELLO VIRKHAUS is a leading figure in the contemporary electronic music and visual art scene. Virkhaus was born in Rochester New York, and raised in Kalamazoo Michigan. After studying art with his grandfather, Dord Fitz, who was a gallery owner and avid painter, he went to Kansas City Art Institute in 1991 to study art. While at KCAI he became captivated by animation and video art, and switched schools, heading to The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated with a BFA in 1995, specializing in art and technology studies.
Before he was 21 years old, he formed one of the first VJ Arts companies in America, O.V.T.--short for Optique Video Tek. The key members of this organization helped to pioneer live video mixing in America’s electronic music culture. The first performances integrated earlier psychedelic light show techniques of oil and water, 16mm film loops, updating them with original video animation elements. After years of collaboration with O.V.T., Virkhaus moved from Chicago to Hollywood California and started his own studio, called V Squared Labs in 2002.
The last few years has seen Virkhaus’s solo career as a VJ and director explode internationally. Some of the first projects that helped launch his career as a director were the #1 selling, Korn Duece DVD, Korn NY Live, and the Untouchables Concert Tour Visuals. This stream of totally edgy, dark and experimental work took Virkhaus into a entirely new arena of visual entertainment.
2005 has been a year of major growth and stunning projects. Vello VJ’d and directed visuals for Billy Idol’s “Scream” music video. Next, he directed the animations and created audio reactive visuals for Coldplay’s “Speed Of Sound” Music Video, which was nominated for MTVs 2005 Best Visual FX Award. He also directed the original concert tour visual animations for 50 Cent and the 2005 Anger Management Tour. Virkhaus recently wrapped up a DVD of original visuals for Armani Exchange. He also created and directed the big-screen visuals for Bon Jovi’s “Have A Nice Day” tour.
In 2006, Virkhaus will conceive and direct the multi-media visuals for The Red Hot Chili Peppers World Tour. He also began a creative collaboration with Superstar DJ, Sandra Collins, culminating in a new A/V DJ VJ band with his own tour sponsored by Pioneer and Edirol, of Roland Systems Group.
Photo credit: Kiino Villand