gamer culture

Mash-up Artist Rolls Out Optimus Prime/Samus Crossover

by Andrew Reiner on Apr 28, 2014 at 06:59 AM

Artist Timothy Lim is a master of mash-ups, capable of amalgamating Star Wars and Metroid, Super Mario Bros. and Transformers, and Batman and Castlevania into stunning artwork pieces. Lim’s clever twist on these iconic universes is just a small sampling of his extensive collection of video game artwork.

Lim is now working with Valve on confidential projects. “If you like Valve, you're going to be very happy with what comes next," he says.

I talked with Lim briefly about his projects, and his obsession with Optimus Prime.

Do your video game ideas come from playing games, or are you just a fan of video game art?

I play casually when I have the time, but for the most part I just try and keep myself informed of what's current. I actually got my first publications in PlayStation Magazine (PSM), so I owe a lot of my Internet connections (and fan base) to video games. Recent years have shown a great deal of interest and love towards video game art, which I'm glad to see. With the work I'm doing with WeLoveFine, we are doing art for games such as Portal, Shovel Knight, Team Fortress, and other Valve properties – that also means that I have to play enough of the games to know what they're about. Reading about the plot doesn't help much because you lose a lot of the character interactions and moments that the fans love.

From your gallery, it looks like Optimus Prime is your favorite muse. What is it that you like about this character?

As corny as it may sound, I see Optimus Prime as the robotic amalgamation of those qualities and virtues that we admire in men, fathers, and heroes from the greatest generation: He represents honor, duty, sacrifice, freedom, and valor. He's one of the childhood heroes whom I can say acted indirectly as a role model. I still haven't mastered how to turn into a semi, but I'm working on it.

Do you work with other people on particular projects?
I do. "Ninjaink" is the online handle that I go by, but it's actually a team effort. I have a small circle of writers and brainstormers who are close friends of mine, and they've provided me with a buffet of ideas. Jean Luc Pham worked with me to create the Schultz City strips, and Mark Pellegrini has worked with me on a lot of our most popular projects. Robert Simpson has been helping me recently with t-shirt ideas. They help keep me focused and keep the ideas fresh.

How did you get involved with the Street Fighter and Mega Man tribute books?

Udon has a presence on DeviantArt, and so I found out about their tribute contests through the website. I submitted work for the Darkstalkers book but was turned down. Capcom's games have had a great nostalgic impact on me and so it's a great honor to be featured in their tribute books! I submitted at least 3 pieces per contest and they chose one from the pile, so I'll probably do the same thing again when they announce their next book.

Tell us about your creative process. Does the idea begin with the poster or the characters involved?

It's a little bit of both. I am a fair admirer of vintage and retro art as well as iconic posters and propaganda material, so a lot of times I will try and take a piece of art and ask myself, "What character can I substitute here and make it work?" It's a pretty simple formula for mash-ups, but I try to make it work 100%, not in a haphazard way. However, there are times when I definitely want to draw a certain character and actively have to think about what the reference should be.

Is any of your art for sale? How can we get our hands on it?

Some of it is, at least the ones that were demanded. Prints, stickers, and shirts can be seen and purchased at our RedBubble store.

Can readers contact you?
Sure. if you're on DeviantArt, be sure to add or watch us. We're also on Tumblr, and you can find and friend us on Facebook. Or, shoot me an e-mail at Ninjaink[at]gmail[dot]com.