Back in the 1980′s, when Mario and Mega Man were the main heroes in gaming, I was only a small child and from that classic perception I can understand where people view
gaming being targeted towards the young crowd. However, the children of the 80′s are grown up now and we have a strong sense of nostalgia in our era of gaming and gaming has only contrinued to grow with us. This is shown through independent game designers, musicians and our topic of the day; art.
On Friday, July 6th, I had the chance to attend an event known as No Quarters Necessary, a video game art show located in my hometown of Scranton, PA in a nice little bar simply known as The Keys. This bar has held events like this in the past and are very well in touch with its patrons and the community in general.Ian Shields, one of the featured artists said “It was actually an idea I ran across my best friend and fellow artist, Mike Watts. He loved the idea so we joined to gather up artists for these events.” I have attended their events such as ‘May The Fourth Be With You’, ‘A Call To Arms, A Tribute to Evil Dead and a Ninja Turtles art show as well. He went on to say, “The idea to engage the geek community was simple and easy because we are geeks. We love these types of things and it was a natural progression.” I always love attending these events at the Keys bar because I feel that this small watering hole is just for me. (They do have a Super Nintendo in the back for a reason.)
I was interested in attending this event weeks ahead of time, and soon after I found out an old friend of mine, Chris Gaylets was actually in the show. Chris and I go all the way back to 7th grade and growing up, I always noticed he had artistic abililty, but I never imagined he would get into this area. His displays were centered around physical pixel art, which involved taking a lot of small beads and putting them together like a puzzle. If done right, your results can come out looking like this:
“I first got the idea from another Pixel artist known as Pixel Papa.” he told me. “I played around with bead art for several years and decided to make a Bullet Bill for my friend’s birthday last year. That’s what pretty much gave me the final push to get into this whole thing.”
I think this is an amazing concept because it is like taking the actual sprite from your game and hanging it on your wall, fridge or window. I first saw this several years ago at MAGFest and I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing and wanted every piece of art I could get my hands on. However, these things can be quite expensive.
Some more art that stood out to me was the work of Mike Watts. He uses the same concept as Chris, except with legos. As a child who grew up with legos, I was immediately drawn to his work. It truly does make you think of the art you can pull off with children’s toys and building blocks. When I asked him why he chose Lego blocks for his medium he told me, “I chose to use legos to build my video game sprites since I knew they would give the pieces the right look for 8-bit characters.” I could not believe the accuracy he had on his work including Mega Man firing his buster cannon and Mario getting a mushroom from a block. After examing the pixels to each piece of art involving the legos and beads, I was convinced that they were spot on. Chris and Mike have said that a lot of work goes into it and you need a lot of patience to get every pixel to what you desire.
This was a great way to bring local gamers together and enjoy a night of drinking, gaming and art. If you like what you see in the pictures, there are many more. Please refer to these websites for artwork for sale and some of these artists offer commissions. I myself got a pixelated Commander Shepard from Chris; the detail is outstanding! So if you need to spruce up your man cave or general gaming area with some fun artwork, look no further. These guys will set you up nicely.
Links for Chris’ work: http://www.facebook.com/collab.artdesign
Link for Mike’s work: http://aninjaintheshadows.deviantart.com/
Look for more awesome articles at: http://imretroactive.com/
If you find the artwork of these other artists, don’t be afraid to share!