Thursday, December 15, 2011

Final Essay Project for Digital Media

Paul Stufkosky Art 245 Digital Media Professor Joseph DeLappe Video Games and Expressive Art, they don’t seem like the ideal bed fellows, given the chance they make something beautiful. When seeing these two artists my thoughts were simple, in that, I wasn’t expecting much when it came to video game art. Now I can comfortably say that the Video Game Art world is a vast open sandbox filled with possibilities. In the world of Video Game Art, artists Justin B. Evans and Paul Steen stand out in the gaming art world. Justin Evans is a graduated from Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2006 with a Bachelors of Fine Art and has been noted by his senior thesis, “Indifferent the Duck and the Sprite Sculptures.” Paul Steen an artist with various degrees the most recent was his degree in journalism from Gothenburg University. One of Paul’s works “Art Assault” was noted by Hrag Vartanian the editor of Hyperallergic, “Best Game Ever.”( Both artists are known for trying to bring the real world and the video game world together in a more humorous and memorial fashion. How the two differ is how their work comes out and what subjects they choose to work on. The First Subject is Justin B. Evans’ “Senior Thesis.” This piece is a sculpture made for the Corcoran College of Art + Design thesis project. A self-proclaimed child of the 1980s, Justin was a video game enthusiast. Pixels were everywhere in his child hood and is what still influences his art work today. The sculptures comprised of Justin’s own original sprites “Indifferent the Duck,” to appropriated sprites “Super Mario” and “Mega Man.” Justin meets his audience half-way with familiarization. To bring people in to his art work, Justin uses the well-known video game characters to help his audience familiarize with their surroundings, and then little by little Justin adds more game characters from lesser known games and finally his own characters, with an audience Justin had to bring the pixels to life.
Justin wanted to bring the sprite world to the real world as they were, almost as if the design leapt right out of the television set in to the real world. Normally people would believe the design would take a real life representational form, but this artist felt that his work should show a sense of off world look. The look he wanted was an impossible one, to make pixels outside the video screen. Since the Pixel was a small square on the television screen he needed something to represent that pixel, some that was tangible, and was able to be held in the palm of his hand. Justin also had to take in the fact that the pixel was a two dimensional figure, he needed to make it three dimensional but still keep the piece flat. Taking the fact a pixel is a square; Justin chose the 3D version of that square, a cube, keeping it a three dimensional figure but still flat. The Sculpture is made from wooden cubes ranging in size of ¾’’on all three axis’s to 1’’x1’’x1”. These cubes are then fitted together accordingly by glue then painted with acrylic paint. This procedure seemed the at most difficult because Justin had to know which cube were to be put together and what shade to be colored and these cubes had to be put in a specific place in order to outline a shape of an appendage. This is where scaling the Model from pixel to sculpture became most important. Each shade of color of the cube represented a large portion of the sculpture, in the end there is a lot of geometric math is involved. These sculptures are a prime example of a mosaic sculpture mixture. The entire sculpture is painted to show the backside of the characters, to show an evolution of 2D to 3D. It is as if the sculptures were a missing link from relief art to sculpture art evolution. The continual evolution of the digital world wasn’t just by physical means, Paul Steen shows how that the three dimensional world effects the digital. Paul Steen, a man from Switzerland and modern artist, uses the actions of the physical world and puts them in the computer world. His work shows a point of human existence and dumbs it down to an entertaining digital media outlet. “Art Assault” is a first person shooting game where the objective is to fight over current art gallery level by killing the opposing team. Each avatar is labeled from a list of 150 current famous artists from “”. This piece is interactive and downloadable and gives the player a chance to kill his most favorite artist. The levels are current art galleries that the game has been shown in, showing a number of art works already in the gallery in the game. As Justin B. Evans wanted to bring the digital people to the organic people, Paul Steen does the opposite bringing the outside world in to the virtual world. To do that, Paul gets the basic land geometry of the gallery and scales down in to the virtual world. Certain galleries such as the P.S. 1 Art Gallery in New York, was digitally remade and reconstructed art piece that this game was currently shown. All the changes and altercations make it a virtual reality. Paul continues to do this with other galleries all over the world: Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin Locust, Miami Saatchi, and London. These galleries are now the newest level editions to the game.
His idea to piece shows a personal feel toward the art world. It shows that Paul sees the art world to be a competitive world. Art is used to express one self, but when one wishes to show that expression people are force to confront fellow artists as a competition for attention. Every artist doesn’t get to show their work in a well-known gallery while other people’s work does, so it becomes a battle for a place on the wall, much like a video game when it tallies a score and compares it to other scores seeking for the best player. Paul inadvertently portrays or purposely portrays a surface of the best artist; his work wasn’t just representational it’s now political. This is on speculation and not what holds true to what the artist Paul Steen believes, but when making a satire of real life situations is to draw attention a real life situations that are deeper than we perceive. The other side can be considered to be just a satire in itself. This piece can mean that you can jump on a computer and have fun. This lighter side makes it easier for the audience see the gallery in the digital world and its works presented to the player while he or she tries to stay alive. It’s similar to video game advertising; where advertisers would product place their logos on virtual items or walls. Paul does the exact same thing only with artists being represented by their art work. This idea is a tough to maintain because advertising companies can go by a simple logo or catch phrase or both. The art represents not just who it’s from but what expression who it’s trying to portray. Since there is only one original piece and isn’t mass produced the artwork is less known and so is the artist. When working on these projects the artists always use what they know and where their passion is from. Having their mind set they both set out to find new ways to manipulate and reform what is in front of them to make to original pieces of work. When it comes to their work Paul and Justin try to bring the two separate worlds together. In doing so they create an evolutionary step of the Gaming Art world, both works bring in their audience but still keeping a form of realism detachment. The realism detachment of their work shows that the artists want to bring in the audience with surprise, wonder, and astonishment. The Humor in some of these pieces can be viewed as light hearted much like the “Indifferent the Duck and the Sprite Sculptures” to where it can bring a charming and up lifting, whereas Paul’s “Art Assault” and “New Life” is placed in more a darker tone and surreal sense. In Short Paul Steen is a more of a realistic artist bringing in realism to a fantasy world, whereas Justin B. Evans takes the fantasy world and brings it into reality. The two artists struggle bringing life to the video games, they wanted to bridge that gap of virtual and physical, and in so doing both artists took completely opposite paths to achieve the same goal. Source Page: “Game Art: Paul Steen’s “Art Assault” (2010)” GameScenes, Mathias Jansson. Web. 9/22/2010. “Game Art: Justin B. Evans' "Indifferent Duck and the Sprite Sculptures" (2006)” GameScenes, Matteo Bittanti. 11/23/2011. “Paul Steen Art Assault.” Paul Steen. 12/1/2011. “Senior Thesis” Justin B Evans. 12/1/2011

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