The Pokemon Art Gallery
There is a lot of horrific art out there. As an art minor I'm ashamed to say that I've wasted too much of my life staring at it. Luckily, The Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis did not dissapoint with their recent Pokemon Battle Royale Exhibition.
This small art gallery opened its doors on April 20th to a new exhibition that features 151 paintings, prints, and drawings of the original batch of Pokemon. Contracting with 151 different artists from around the country was no small task, as the small team behind the project had to keep everybody on the same page regarding things like art sales and (most importantly) which artists get which Pokemon. Each contributing artist had to write down their top five choices for which of the original 151 they would like to adapt to their style. Talking with Chris Hajny about the behind the scenes process, he said that the least desired Pokemon were "the rats" (Rattata and Raticate) and Machoke and Machamp.
Machoke by Zac Gorman
With an iPod playing classic Pokemon music in the corner, I wandered around and admired each piece of art, hoping that my favorite Pokemon were coupled with agreeable artists. As an insane fan of the Pokemon series, I couldn't have asked for more. It was one of those Truman Show-esque moments where you feel like your environment was hand-crafted to fulfill everything you've always wanted from the local art scene. This wasn't just simple fan-service, the contributing artists knocked it out of the park. Nobody phoned it in, banking on simple nostalgia to ensure a crowd. Some of the work was faithful to Nintendo's original concepts (like Pikachu) and others were taken into a whole new and interesting direction. From the frightening to the comedic, the show had you soak in a wide variety of art styles and interpretations.
Jynx by Jaime Zollars
One of the minds behinds the exhibit was telling me that they've received angry e-mails that their favorite Pokemon from the later generations weren't included, but overall the creators say this showing was a success. Opening night had kids, adults, and Ash Ketchum cosplayers filling up the small studio space and inspecting every artistic detail. Despite the success, the creators aren't planning another Pokemon show any time soon. They definitely want to keep sprinkling in game-themed exhibits in the future, however, and hope to arrange an indie game art show and a fighting game-themed exhibit down the road. We are at a point in gaming history where something once as far-fetched as a Pokemon art exhibit is happening just down the street in your hometown, games are a crucial aspect of our modern culture and it is nice to see them given such an interesting and well-crafted tip of the cap from the Light Grey Art Lab. For those of you in the Twin Cities area, the exhibit will be open until May 11th. I cannot thank them enough, as well as the contributing artists for their spectacular work.
Venonat by Teagan White
I'm tempted to post all of the images from the exhibit in this blog and share me thoughts on each, but to spare you the hassle I strongly recommend that you just check out the Light Grey Art Lab's website where they have a majority of the 151 art pieces for you to browse. You can even purchase a print, so choose wisely.
Blastoise by Kris Anka
Kabutops (top) by JP Coovert.