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One of the fields I’m really interested is how the new medium of video games viewed in relation to the art world. To begin with, the first question I asked is: “What is game art?” This followed with more, more specific questions like, “How is it judged by today’s art critics?”  and “What defines it as art?” Doing some research, I came to understand that game art is still generally overlooked by most art critics who don’t understand it or acknowledge it as art, though there are always some critics who recognize its potential. Two artists from this field that I chose to study are Kristoffer Zetterstrand, and Carlo Zanni, who approach this field in entirely different ways, yet share some similarities.

Kristoffer Zetterstrand:

Trained in classical traditional painting, Zetterstrand is inspired by the video games’ premise of offering a different world where anything is possible, yet it is in many ways an incomplete illusion prone to shattering. In Zetterstrand’s painting, The game, the gamer is depicted as real and outside the game, but in the nature of the painting he is ultimately unreal. In this way, Zetterstrand makes the viewer question his perceived realities.

Zetterstrand’s hyper-realistic painting: The game

Carlo Zanni:

Carlo Zanni is a video game artist who is interested in the relationship of video games to reality. His work, inspired by walkabout games like Leisure Suit Larry I offers no tangible goal, leaving the protagonist to wander the harsh world, bombarded by ‘breaking news’. By channeling real life news into a format often considered as a ‘different reality’ this ‘video game’ invokes contemplation upon what can we actually consider the reality.

Zanni’s ‘art game’: Average Shoveler

Link to watch the second part on YouTube.


Both pieces are considered ‘game art’.
Both utilize digital media. (Zetterstrand uses 3D program to make a mock-up of the work before painting it)
Both question the notion of reality and how it is attributed to video games.

The artists utilize completely different mediums, (traditional painting vs. game programming) as well as presenting overall different ideas of utilizing digital space.

, “The game”


Matteo Bittanti is a video game artist interested in the interplay between media, ideas and video games. Since they combine several mediums which are considered “art”, Bittanti views videogames as the ultimate medium. One aspect that he brings to light about games is their ability to be used as a tool for propaganda and social influence as well as the subculture that has risen out of them.

One of Bittanti’s most powerful works, bruno, presents the actions of a significant event in reality transpiring in a video game under his control. The notion of what is and isn’t part of the game is made moot. While viewing the piece before reading the description, one might think of it as a boring and meaningless demonstration. While many commentators thought that this memorial for his dead friend was in bad taste (this serving to mirror their perception of video games as something irrelevant to worldly issues) I found it to be an intuitive use video games as art to present a different perspective of life.

Mark Tribe is an artist interested in human behavior putting particular emphasis on performance as a way that we choose to interact with and learn from each other. One of his earlier works, a social experiment organizing cars in a university parking lot by their color, demonstrated how most people, as a society, could be or were allowed themselves to be controlled, while a few odd ones out resisted the categorization.

In his work, The Dystopia files, Mark Tribe presents a room in which there are many file cabinets with a different name on each one, yet they are all locked. In this installation piece, Tribe plays on the human social and emotional responses to being controlled by the government, and even being told that to know and what not to know. On the walls of the space, a video of riots is played displaying the violent methods of the riot control and intensifying the experience to provoke thought.

My first impression of Ryan Perce’s work was that it looked a lot like a cartoon, albeit with a more vivid detail for things not normally focused on in cartoons. The theme that binds them all together is the world beyond human existence, as nature begins to reclaim the earth — a time that Pierce warns could be much sooner than we think. Much of his works show dilapidated ruins of the human civilization, while some works like Golden Rooster convey a feeling of hope through the bright, warm colors even while rubble covers the background. The way that natural images are shown in conjunction with everyday junk brings to attention the very unusual nature of our current life, being very reminiscent of the movie Koyaanisqatsi, while at the same time, accentuating their unnoticed beauty.

One thing that particularly struck me, though, was his style. The shapes and colors are very clear and this combination creates a surreal yet titillating feeling – as if the imagery is real yet at the very other end of the spectrum of real at the same time. There are definitely some aspects I would like to emulate, like the stenciling that allows for such clean shapes and colors to be isolated into its own plane, or pasted above and interlaced with others. I really can’t describe the effect this exhibit had on me, evoking the neatness and power of stained glass while depicting a scene of a ‘lack of order’ from a humanist point of view.

For this project I had some difficulty deciding on which projects to choose from, while not having much time to spare due to other classes as well as having trouble finding anything that I actually wanted to do. Being interested in music, I enjoyed working on the Johnny Cash project and, by listening to some of his other songs (especially his later works), was inspired to take the final assignment of Learning To Love You More. This assignment was simply this: say goodbye. Sometimes, saying goodbye is the only way to move on with life, and I hope that this list, while personal to me, can inspire others to find the things in their life that they would be better untethered from. This semester was an enlightening experience and many of the lines are ways in which I vowed to improve my life – and hopefully others’.

The Johnny Cash Project

Learning to Love You More, Assignment #70: Say Goodbye

Goodbye not having my own computer.

Goodbye not having a cell phone.

Goodbye my old watch.

Goodbye Art245.

Goodbye space cowboy – Spike Spiegel(Cowboy Bebop).

Goodbye planning to get everything done on the weekend.

Goodbye only talking to friends by e-mail. I will have to talk to them in person sometime.

Goodbye not making time for the things I love to do and personal projects that matter to me much more than schoolwork or video games that usually take that time.

Goodbye excuses for above.

Goodbye not being able to manage my time.

Goodbye being too shy to talk to a certain girl.

By using multiple tracks from primarily horror games my intent was to create a combination of horror music’s attempt to overwhelm the listener while the very sense of overwhelming also works against itself to shatter the sense of connection.  While the higher rows play music intended to be “serious” and frightening, the lowest row is an almost nonsensical compilation of especially cheap game sound effects, creating a dissonance between intent while at the same time integrating both into a cacophony as a “powerful” video game soundtrack.

I had intended there to be played no more than five to ten tracks at the same time, with at least one from the bottom row combined with the upper rows, but it never occurred to me to change the description at the top of the window. I also neglected to test it thoroughly and realized too late that certain videos (especially the two in the center and upper-center) play at a much higher volume.

Don’t have time for your dog and your baby? Then, you owe it to yourself to buy this amazing invention!

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any pets or offspring lost or injured due to irresponsible use of this device.

Project 3 – Animation

A man’s eternal quest for meat is thwarted yet again.

Project 2 – Triptych

While I was looking for ideas for this triptych, I came upon an illustration of Bosch’s triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, in my Core Humanities book, which greatly influenced the flow of my work. While my first panel was nearly completed, I tried to reflect a similar procession of tone to that of Bosch’s piece in the next two panels.

From the beginning, I was interested in exploring the oddities (for lack of a better word) produced from the creativity behind video games that have permanently influenced our culture’s mindset.

One goal of this project was to familiarize myself with Photoshop. I tried to find the weirdest and most expressive effects that could be produced by this technology to make my point. Posterize was one effect that I fell into using as it modified the content to look pixelated and distinctly digitized, in some ways reminiscent of older video game’s graphics which had a restrictive color limit to their palette, often making the imagery look garish and unrealistic. I used Puppet warp to create a sense of floating and non-physicality, and Skew and Distort transformations to play with the concept of three-dimensional space.

Here are some of my foci, many of which were inspired by what I learned in this class:

Play on perceived space. First panel from the left is a jumble of flat images with the monitor creating the only perceived space (though it is still pretty much a pop-up book effect), while the farthest on the right creates a more three-dimensional feel while incorporating recognizably two-dimensional imagery. The middle panel “plays” the most on the concept of space by creating the illusion of space while at the same time plastering over the illusion with 2D images that flatten the perspective at certain points.

Digital landscape – what we’ve familiarized ourselves with. (Looking back at the work of Paho Mann.)

Notion of Unreality produced by video games. (Meditating upon Lich Piercer’s Murder Hole.) How a bizarre abstraction of real world images can be created into a world of its own through the use of technology to transform imagination into reality. I’m hoping to incite some contemplation about how we see video games and what they mean to us.

Aspects of content and graphics. How unexpected content is brought into relative context – think Postmodernism. How real life objects like gothic architecture are represented in and translated into video games (Using the Castlevania series as a theme).

Repetition and bombardment of images (Andy Warhol/information overload). Images which are, whether familiar or not, undoubtedly recognizable as a product of pop culture. As another influence of The Garden of Earthly Delights, as well as partially my own style, I tried to create an environment in which the eye could roam and find many interesting details that are unseen from simply glancing at the work. I hope someone will have the time to explore and, if possible, zoom into parts of these works.

Trying to grasp the mentality that has germinated with the introduction of video games to our lives. How nonsense is justified by the means of making a game psychologically attractive. The final part of my triptych is, in part, lamenting how video games are imprisoned by the entertainment industry in this blind mentality, but also (in similarity to the final panel depicting hell in The Garden of Earthly Delights), a warning of a tragedy that can still be averted.

“Death and Photoshop”

Death and Photoshop

As an artist, I am often inspired greatly by music. Primarily pieces from video games or animation that I find very moving. I feel this piece in particular resonates with this work: Howl’s Moving Castle: Merry-go-Round of Life

This montage draws a connection between Photoshop and the futile desire to stay young. Using Photoshop to remove blemishes, smooth those wrinkles, and try to leave an acceptable image of oneself behind, all the while trying to avoid the subject of death when it is not forced upon us. Another thing I explored were the ways different cultures dealt with death (the afterlife, immortality…), and ways they left a mark on the world; perhaps not to be forgotten after death.

The woman in the piece holds religion on one hand, Photoshop on the other, seeming to almost float and dance about in her choice between the two in a very lighthearted manner – while specters and mythological creatures add a more grave and somewhat sinister aspect to the tone. The swatch of black in the upper-right corner is a reference to Stephen King’s short story, “The Reaper’s Image”, where a man sees the reaper in a mirror, but in disbelief mistakes it for a black piece of duct tape.