There are a lot of reasons artists choose careers in game development.
Some of us were so inspired by the games we played as kids that the best career we could imagine was to pay that gift forward to others.
Others of us are motivated by the opportunity to create collaboratively with brilliant people of diverse talents.
Still others of us appreciate the financial possibilities the current era of big budget and popularized mobile game development affords.
First and foremost, artists choose to work in games because this is our favorite mode of entertainment and the opportunity to be a part of a game fulfills a lifetime dream.
But the work is demanding, and after months or years of development in the same creative waters, most of us need to refuel in other ports.
This show is about some of the recent creations New England Game Artists have created outside of their professional game development work. These nine artists from studios large and small created these pieces for a wide range of reasons, from exploring themes of identity to exercising their passion for history to connecting with lost family.
Some of these pieces were never meant to be shared. The work they do for their jobs is public. These are personal.
We hope you enjoy Art Out Of The Game.
Wishing I were painting,
MEET THE ARTISTS
Daniel Bradford [38 Studios]
“Robot13,” “Portraits,” and “GraveSlinger”
I am just a guy that loves to tell stories in a visual manner. Particularly of the spooky and the weird.
Phroilan Gardner [Demiurge Studios]
“The Destroyer” and “Hairbird”
A 12-year veteran of the game industry, Phroilan has worked at such studios as Konami, Crystal Dynamics, and Blizzard. Primarily a character artist, Phroilan started off as an animator and quickly made the transition to character models and textures. While at Blizzard he began dabbling in concept art and Illustration, most notably creating the concepts and models for the male and female Barbarians and contributing to the design of D3′s incarnation of the series’ namesake, Diablo. Currently an artist at Cambridge’s Demiurge Studio, Phroilan spends his free time painting barbarians, training his fierce Shih-Tzu, Josie, to shake hands and bark at people, and holding entire conversations while not blinking.
‘The Destroyer’ is the first time an illustration of the artist’s is to be shown for display. Additionally, ‘The Destroyer’ is currently up for a gold or silver award in the next Spectrum Fantastic Art in the Comics category. Regardless of winning anything, Phroilan is TOTALLY STOKED to be included in the book and considered alongside many artists whom he considers to be his idols.
An art blog of the artist can be found at: phroilangardner.blogspot.com
“The art I make for myself really isn’t much different than the art I would make for work. It’s the best career ever, where I’m always looking forward to painting that next crazy world or larger than life hero or villain. I love what I do!”
Ben Houge [Ubisoft, Berklee College of Music]
“Shanghai Traces 201012231920090 2/20,” “201012231921550 2/20,” “201012231930450 2/20,” and “201012232028250 2/20″
In parallel to my career designing audio for videogames since 1996, I’ve been active in various arenas of artistic production, organizing concerts and performances, designing sound installations, and exhibiting in galleries and other public spaces. While my background is in music, my experiences in games have led me to focus on the organizational systems that structure my work, with the realization that in a digital medium, any input may be mapped to any output. Therefore it was a small leap to applying structural concepts from videogame ambiences and soundtracks to visual media, and since 2008 I’ve been developing digital prints and videos, primarily comprised of manipulated photos or original footage, that complement my ambient, generative soundscapes. In my art I seek to emphasize connections and commonalities between different media and by extension between different disciplines, different cultures, and different people.
The series Shanghai Traces represents some of my earliest forays into visual art, developed while I was living in Shanghai and working for Ubisoft as audio director of Tom Clancy’s EndWar. These images are based on photographs of neon lights along Shanghai’s busy East Nanjing Road pedestrian corridor. I developed custom software in Max/MSP that extracts snippets from these images into algorithmic configurations that suggest something of the dazzling disorientation that characterizes life in the world’s second largest metropolis.
Emily Lubanko [Zynga Boston]
“Dreams” and “The Hunt”
When I’m not making game art, I tend to take a more illustrative turn with my personal work. The Hunt is one piece in a larger context of lore that I’ve been intermittently working on in my free time. Conversely, Dreams is based on a passage out of a book I was reading that stuck with me with quite some time before I broke down and illustrated it. I like to balance my time between spur of the moment inspirations and developing longer continuous stories.
Michael James Meara [Yoomerang, Brass Monkey]
“Triforce,” “Gleeok,” “Link,” “Dodongo,” and “Gohma”
Video games have always been a major inspiration of mine as an artist, especially growing up in the nineties when everyone had a Nintendo. I spent a lot of my weekends hiding in my room lost in Hyrule or the Mushroom kingdom. When I wasn’t playing I would spend the rest of my free time drawing my favorite video game characters.
Legend of Zelda held a special place in my heart (container) and as I kid I remember playing LOZ with my Mom. We would spend hours getting lost in caves and dungeons or the lost woods. My Mom was just as addicted as I was.
Early this year my Mom passed away from breast cancer. It was a long battle that unfortunately she could not win. Before she passed I started this water color project as both a tribute to her and our memories of playing Zelda together. She never got to see them finished but I know she would be so proud of me. I hope you enjoy these watercolors as much as I did making them.
Thank you Mom for all these wonderful memories.
Elizabeth Popolo [Turbine, Inc.]
“Female Anatomy Study,” “Woman With Sheer Cloth,” and “Model Portrait”
I work primarily with traditional media (mainly conte crayon, graphite, and charcoal) and human subjects, because these let me work loosely and focus on starting with a gesture. One of my artistic goals is to become more effective at gesture drawing, since this practice leads to the development of a good natural sense of weight and balance, which are both crucial to posing a character in a game setting.
Most of my work included here was done during the short time frame of a lunch hour. The time constraint encourages quick, confident sketching, with a focus on the most important elements of the piece, which can later form a solid foundation for a finished piece.
Lauren Saint-Onge [Harmonix Music Systems]
“16th Queen’s Light Dragoons” and “The First Shot”
These pieces are part of a larger, ongoing personal project to revivify the American Revolutionary War and the individuals found within it. It is about revealing the truth of genuine human struggle and a reality that has faded over time.
Britton Snyder [Mad Doc Software,THQ, Demiurge]
“Wizard Of Oz” and “Jax”
In addition to teaching full time in WPI’s Interactive Media and Game Development program, I have worked as an artist in the field of video game development for the past 12 years, contributing to a number of well-known titles with concept art, illustrations, 3D models, storyboards and cinematics.
Companies I have worked as an artist for include SONY, Blizzard Entertainment, Liquid Entertainment, Rockstar, THQ, Demiurge, Subatomic Studios, Hitpoint Studios and 745 Studios. I have contributed to such games as Warcraft 3, Diablo 2 expansion set, Downhill Domination, Dragonshard, Empire Earth 2 expansion set, Empire Earth 3, WALL-E, Mass Effect for PC, Deblob, WORD FU for the iphone and Rock Band Greenday. I currently teach Digital Painting, Concept Art, Figure Drawing and 3D Modeling at WPI in Worcester MA where I am a full time Professor of Art.
In addition to my work in video game development, I am author and illustrator of “THE SUPERFUN ADVENTURES OF JAX”, a 93 page graphic novel released by U.K publisher Markosia . The graphic novel has been featured in ImagineFX magazine an article in the Observer Eccentric newspaper and was a staff pick for Previews magazine.
I earned a BFA at Berklee College of Music and studied figurative drawing and painting at Watts Atelier, the California Art Institute and the New England Realist Art Center in Boston
Yoshi Yoshitani [MIT/Singapore Gambit Game Lab]
“The Four Winds” and “The Bear King”
I am constantly inspired by cultural folktales and mythology. So when I find time in-between projects, I take pleasure in researching and world building for my various stories; currently I am working on a Norwegian, a Persian, and a South American fairytale. I want to create work, characters, landscapes, and assets, that is influenced by the original heritage of the story’s aesthetics ae well as my own. I hope that others can enjoy, as I do, the individualities in the cultures that fostered these stories, but can also relish their universality.