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Canadian Arthouse Re-imagines Videogame Art

Photos Courtesy of Wolf/Sheep

There’s been a longstanding debate on whether our interactive medium (videogames) can ever be considered as art. Even outspoken film critic Roger Ebert weighed in on the conversation with his controversial view of the issue. Even as far as to say that no one in the industry can even compare their work to artists in other media.

“No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets.”

However, isn’t art defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power?

And that’s exactly what Wolf/Sheep Art House proved during their most recent art show. Titled “The End Is Here,” the show featured a great number of Wolf/Sheep’s greatest work. But what really got my attention were the re-imagined pieces of art based on popular and classic videogames.

Kyle Dark and his version of "The Illusive Man."

The most amazing piece was based on Mass Effect’s Illusive Man. Now I’m not an artist myself, but I found the use of color, the overall theme, and white paint at the bottom really represent the Illusive Man’s cold and calculating personality. The dripping white paint for me represents the blood of all the innocent lives he’s sacrificed for Cerberus. The artist, Kyle Dark has taken the Illusive Man’s cold, calculating, and overpowering personality and put it into canvas. In a way, the star that the Illusive Man always seems to stare at, in this painting, represents a scorched earth/universe, a means to an end if Cerberus has its way.

Ian Olsen's version of one of many "Space Invaders."

The next series of paintings that caught my attention was a Ian Olsen’s rendition of the infamous Space Invaders. Now we all remember these 8-bit alien invaders as tiny, colourful, and blocky characters that slowly descended upon earth. But it never occurred to me until seeing these pieces that the invaders could have looked like hideous, evil, and downright scary creatures. The image above shows a pink, octopus-like alien that looks like it would enjoy slowly devouring Earth’s population.

Another of Ian Olsen's "Space Invaders."

he painting above represents another of Ian Olsen’s Space Invaders with that’s a mishmash of a Jellyfish, the Predator, and a Manta Ray. I found this one to be the most effective as it’s colour, look, and overall shape is intimidating. I can only imagine being the defender ship’s pilot as he faces this alien monstrosity. This Space Invader is a lot more fierce looking and more dangerous than HALO’s own Grunts, Jackals, Drones, Elites, Brutes, Hunters, Prophets and even the Flood; and they’re supposed to be scary.

Wolf/Sheep's Genghis Shawn and his rendition of the "C.O.G." emblem from Gears of War.

This final piece is a re-imagined COG logo from Gears of War. Genghis Shawn’s other works in the show followed a strong “post-apocalyptic female rat” theme, and this one was no different. The painting, for myself, represents a violent and extremely dangerous post-apocalyptic world that the logo is based on.

If you’re one of those people that still can’t believe that games and videogame art can be considered an artistic medium, Wolf/Sheep proves that the art of videogames are applications of human creative skill and imagination; and can appreciated just like other media for their emotional power. Maybe you should take a good hard look at Wolf/Sheep’s re-imaginings. They might just make a believer out of you.

If these paintings have piqued your interest, check out Wolf/Sheep’s website: http://wolf-sheep.com/

Or follow them on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/WOLFSHEEP_ART

And finally, “Like” them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wolfsheep

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Posted on April 20, 2012, in Nerd Explosion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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