The[Crafty]Gamer: Jeff Dokken (The Lamentation Of Pac-Man)

by Annette Gonzalez on Jul 25, 2010 at 07:00 AM

This week The[Crafty]Gamer features Pennsylvania native, Jeff Dokken. In order to celebrate Pac-Man's 30th anniversary, Dokken commemorates the pellet chomper in an oil painting that depicts Pac-Man in a way you've never seen before. Check out the post for this and other works.

Name: Jeffrey Dokken

Age: 25

Hometown: Small town outside of Philadelphia, currently in southern Florida

Occupation: Graphic designer, illustrator

Creation: The Lamentation of Pac-Man

Tell us about the Pac-Man piece and the inspiration behind it?

2010 marked the 30th anniversary of  Pac-Man. I was thinking about how long 30 years really is in the course of a lifetime and how many things are subject to change. Pac-Man is seen here after years of glaring electronic music and chasing ghosts, reflecting on what his life was and what is yet to come. It's kind of a bittersweet anniversary for him after a messy divorce and years of substance abuse.

Please describe the process of creating the Pac-Man painting.

It all starts with a sketch or a rough concept on paper to develop a basic composition. From there, I'll make a quick color study and a rough digital painting to start thinking about color, and start adjusting details and placement of objects. Once I'm satisfied with where it's going, I'll move on to a canvas, sketch it all out again with a pencil, then move on to actual paints. With all the prep time, materials and steps you need to take to mix colors and have it dry correctly, it can really take a toll on your patience. This is especially true if you're used to the instant results a computer can give, and tend to be impatient as is (like me, hehe). Still, it's interesting to see how your original concept develops as it changes mediums. At one point when you're slapping your brush around, you reach this sort of critical mass, this zen state where nothing else matters, no problems, no stress, nothing. It's just you and the paint. After that, everything works out better than expected.

What sorts of challenges, if any, did you come across when putting the piece together? What solutions did you come up with?

I'd have to say working with a large canvas was a pretty big hurdle to get over. Not to mention the Pac-Man painting was one of my first attempts at working with oils. Trying to mix paint to match a color that's spread over a couple square feet is pretty challenging.

Any Web links to other work?

Unfortunately, like every other aspiring artist out there, I'm still in the process of creating my website, and working on a portfolio while the deadline of graduation looms over my head. I did, however, make a deviant art page, which I may or may not update over the next few months. I also dabble in sound design, and music production, so you can check out some music I've made.

Anything else you’d like to add about yourself? 

I'm a big fan of classic games, mostly the 8 to16 bit era. Games like Area 88, Cybernator, Jackal, Earthbound, and Super Mario World are some of my favorites. These are games that retained their ability to keep it simple yet fun, and keep the player entertained. I think that's a quality that has been sacrificed lately in gaming, which is unfortunate. But, you cant play games forever, and I got a list of things a mile long to do before I die -- most of which involve me getting out of the house. Humans need sunlight. Get out of the house sometimes. Yeah, you, reading this in your darkened room. I know you know this applies to you, too.

Will we see more video game-themed art from you in the future?

Oh, most definitely. Video games are as much a part of my life as my kidneys or breathing air.

Are your prints available for sale?

I can make prints if anyone is interested, just drop me an e-mail. And of course, I am always willing to take up a commission or two. You can reach me at dokk.thx@gmail.com.

The[Crafty]Gamer has officially moved from the Editor Blogs section to the Features section. Check out our previous entry on Andreas Heikaus and his Mario sidewalk speedrun here. We are regularly looking for new entries, so if you'd like your work featured, please send me an e-mail to express your interest and I will follow up with details: annette@gameinformer.com.