While your local mall rats are busy pawing their greasy fingers over Emo 1-UP Mushroom sweatbands and run-of-the-mill "retro gaming" T-shirts, feel free to turn your nose up and stroll on over to the I am 8-bit exhibit as a cultured alternative. I am 8-bit, originally displayed in 2005, serves up the more refined examples of gaming culture through a collaborative display of paintings, sculptures,and interactive art inspired by the classic games that have deeply impacted gaming pop culture over the past few decades.
A recent Game Informer interview with curator Jon Gibson reveals what to look forward to at I am 8-bit’s exhibit in its third year, with mention of a work that’ll match the awe of the giant 8-foot NES controller from the premiere show. ...
[Painting above titled Soda Popinski by artist Jeff McMillan]
Gibson also yields some interesting views on gaming as an art form, as informed by concept art developed for games that is never seen by the larger public:
Well, anyone who knows me in the industry is well aware that I love concept art from games — especially looking at modern stuff. Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, Psychonauts — all these games have amazing concept art that stands separate for the awesomeness of the games themselves. It’s ironic that a handful of the artists in the show actually conceive all that art…There is consistently great art out there in the game industry, and paying tribute to that is an important step, I think, to other industries like film and music taking gaming seriously as an art form. Most people just think games make themselves.
Plug that information into your brain sockets folks -- games are art! So if you’re in the So-Cal area, be sure to check out the exhibit at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight in Los Angeles, opening April 17 through May 12, 2007. Can’t round up enough clams to get a ticket out there? Then take a sneak peak at last year’s exhibit in episode 6 of The G-Hole.
Great Tiger | Jeff McMillan | Acrylic on Panel | Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (NES)
King Hippo | Jeff McMillan | Acrylic on Panel | Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (NES)
Rewards & Obstacles | Ryan Bubnis | Acrylic, Spray, and Cel Vinyl on Panel | Super Mario Bros. (NES)
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right...WHAT?!?! | Dave Chung | Acrylic on Canvas | Contra (NES)
Mario's Lament | Reuben Rude | Collage and Acrylic on Board | Donkey Kong (aracde)
Mega Man | Shuji Suzuki | Mixed Media | Mega Man (NES)
Donkey See Donkey Do | Dave Wasson | Mixed Media | Donkey Kong (arcade)
Frogger | Michael Leavitt | Mixed Media | Frogger (arcade)