Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Seen: Super iam8bit show

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Los Angeles will always be more famous for Hollywood glamour than anything else, but the success of iam8bit show proves that Angelenos have more interests than what's fodder for E! or Access Hollywood.

The iam8bit show, an exhibition of video game related art inspired by 8-bit and 16-bit video games of yore, is very much a product of another lesser-known industry in L.A., game development.

The show was started by Jon Gibson, a former game journalist, who arguably has found a more lucrative way of making a living now that the iam8bit show has grown into a multimedia marketing and promotion firm working with the likes of Disney, MTV, Sony, and Nintendo.

Gibson gathered talent from local concept artists, who were already working in the video game field, and asked them to re-imagine the worlds of their favorite 80s era games. Think: Mario Brothers, Zelda, Pacman and Kirby (my favorite). Five exhibitions down the road, they are still going strong with plans for another book of video game-inspired art in the offing.

I came right before the show closed September 11, so I was lucky enough to see an almost-empty gallery. If you missed it, here were some of my favorites:

Wes Louie's That's the Way Life Goes does recreate a whole world. I'm not up to snuff on my video game knowledge so someone has to fill me in on what 8-bit game this is.

Centipede Plus 4 by Ben Butcher looks like a tapestry from afar. Just imagine how much time it took to collage all these pieces of paper together to create a sensible piece.

Kellice Penney's Bobblun is so crafty. It's like 3-D the old-fashioned way, if there is such a thing.

Kevin Stanton's Kirbies are amazing. Each one was cut out of paper and layered on top of each other. I particularly love the detail on Sword and Freeze.

Scott Belcastro's Link vs. Ganon had a David and Goliath drama to it. I enjoyed his muted palette, clean lines and bold message.

You could trace the family tree of mutant animals on Jude Buffum's Magna Arbor Vitae Deku. I spent many minutes spotting the minute differences in each species to be sure. 

I've been fascinated with small things that make up a whole lately and Melvin Galapon's We Come in Peace is right in that alley, which riffs off the concept of Space Invaders.

Here's a great detail shot. See the little aliens? I love it!

More video game art here. Info on iam8bit Productions here.


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