VGA will have an exhibit and speakers at this year's GDEX, a convention dedicated to a love of games and creative technology, located in Columbus, Ohio. GDEX 2017 will be September 29 – October 1st at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus Ohio with an expected attendance of 4,000+ from across the country. VGA will exhibit work from the print collection and feature talks by Executive Director Jonathan Kinkley and VGA Board President Ross Hersemann.
HARDCORE / CASUAL 2017: An Evening to Benefit VGA Gallery
Co-chaired by Jessica Kiser and Lindsey Wojcik
Saturday, September 9, 2017
5:30-7:30pm VIP Dinner and a Private Exhibition Tour at VGA Gallery, 2418 W. Bloomingdale #102 (VIP Ticket Holders Only)
7:30-10:30pm Hardcore Casual Party at Bloomingdale Art Building Event Space, 2418 W Bloomingdale
Enjoy games, art, music, food, drinks at VGA Gallery and Bloomingdale Arts Building while supporting exhibitions and programs in VGA Gallery's 2017-2018 season. At the event, the VGA Global Illumination Award will be given to legendary game artist Anna Anthropy for her rich contributions to the medium of video games. The artist will be present at the event. Drinks by Chicago mixologist Antar Jackson.
Tickets Available Via Kickstarter
Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery is the first nonprofit art gallery devoted to video games and new media. For the past three years, VGA has organized vibrant pop up exhibitions and events for dozens of partners and audiences of thousands. Now is the time for VGA to open a permanent gallery space to be a home for art and games.
Our dream is to create a lasting, independent space that will advance the constantly-changing discipline of video games and related forms of new media art. We will be the first permanent venue of its kind in Chicago and hope to amplify the work of important artists in the field. In addition to encouraging video game artists to take risks and realize their visions, we also aspire to make a significant contribution to an international conversation on emerging media in contemporary art.
About VGA Gallery
Founded in 2013, we founded Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery in response to a need for a public forum for the visibility, understanding and critique of an emerging and exciting new medium: video games. VGA Gallery is run by nine volunteer staff members, three interns, and a 25-member Board of Directors and serves more than 25,000 people each year.
Our signature programs include exhibitions, artist residencies, education, publications, and other events. VGA has partnered with a range of venues to collaborate on these projects. In the past year, we mounted exhibitions at Rebuild Foundation, Columbia College Chicago, Mana Contemporary and The Nightingale cinema; we organized and carried out an artist residency in partnership with University of Illinois at Chicago’s Maker Space; and mounted a public panel discussion in conjunction with the Adler Planetarium and Bit Bash, among many other programs.
VGA Gallery also supports game studies scholarship and the documentation of significant work in the discipline of games. Recent conferences VGA has participated in include the INTERPLAY Conference (co-hosted by University of Chicago and Northwestern University), College Art Association New Media Caucus, Chicago Video Game Law Summit, and an Adler Planetarium Panel Discussion: Chicago Made Games as New Media Art. VGA has published articles for Leonardo, Routledge Press, the Journal of Games Criticism, the AV Club, Motherboard, and the Illinois Game Developers Association. We have received grants from The Terra Foundation for American Art, the City of Chicago's Department for Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, the Graham Foundation and Illinois Arts Council Agency, amongst other funders.
Opening Exhibition: Savior
Josuhe Pagliery & Johann Armenteros' Savior is an experimental game where a metaphysical character is witness to the deconstruction of the very world around them. It is currently being developed in a unique cultural context: the rapidly changing social, political, and economic landscape of Cuba. This will be the first time that work from their game will be publicly exhibited in the U.S. The exhibition will run from August 11 - Nov 19 as the inaugural exhibition in our brand new home.
VGA's past exhibitions have featured the work of Adriaan de Jongh, Amanita Design, Andy Hoyos, Arnie Jorgensen, Atomhawk, B. Borkur Eiriksson, Beau Blyth, Ben Crooks, Ben Esposito, Benji Blessing Sayed, Cardboard Computer, Catherine Fox, Christine Janokowicz, Cook & Becker, Craig Adams, Cukia Kimani, David van Brink, Feng Mengbo, Gabriele Brombin, Greg Wohlwend, Hannah Leja Epstein (hanski), Hollow Tree Games, Hunter Jonakin, Infinitap Games, Irrational Games, Jaromír Plachý, Jesse Tise, Jessica Fenlon, JODI, Jon Satrom, Jonathan Blow, Joseph Chiocchi, Josh Larson, Luke Whittaker, Matt Gilgenbach, Michaël Samyn & Auriea Harvey (Tale of Tales), Naughty Dog, Netherrealm, Nick Briz, Nina Freeman & Joni Kittaka, Numinous Games, Paloma Dawkins, Paul Hertz, Philip Mallory Jones, Pippin Barr, Pol Clarissou, Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Richard Anderson, Ryan & Amy Green, Sara Goodman, State of Play Games, Stoic, Superbrothers, Sylvain Tegroeg, Team OK, thatgamecompany, Thekla Inc, and William Chyr.
The successful opening of our new space depends on a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. While VGA has a stable and growing base of support with diverse revenue streams, we need a one-time cash infusion to connect game artists from around the world with the gallery and create an international center for art and video games. Kickstarter will help us grow a global audience and give us the resources to be a world-class, state-of-the-art gallery where fans and creators of the best games in the world can meet.
What your Contributions Will Support:
Your support will furnish our new gallery as a destination for art and games. Funds will allow the purchase of crucial technology like computers, projectors and game consoles for the space. It will also allow us to buy tools and fabricate artwork to mount the first exhibition. Join us in making Chicago's first gallery for video games and new media a reality!
We have an exciting range of rewards for local and international audiences. There are beautiful t-shirts designed by the inimitable Ohn Ho, posters and giclées from beloved indie games, opportunities to join VGA for our annual always-sold-out, not-to-be-missed party, and even naming and sponsorship opportunities for the space’s plaque and exhibition areas. Representative images of our rewards, as described to the right, are below.
Curated Selection of Indie Games
Pippin Barr's Art Game, Hunter Jonakin's Jeff Koons Must Die, Organ Trail and Max Gentleman by The Men Who Wear Many Hats, Octodad by Young Horses, and Rob Lach's Pop: Methodology Experiment One
Fine Art Prints/Premium Giclées from the VGA Collection
Hardcore Casual Tickets
Risks and challenges
VGA is a risk averse organization, we do things well or don’t do them at all. Every project has risks, but VGA is run by experienced professionals in programming and development, overseen by a brilliant board of artists, lawyers, game developers, academics and art patrons. Its staff has expertise in areas of finance, fundraising, communications and store fulfillment. We are experts at fulfillment -- as an online gallery for the past three years we’ve shipped thousands of posters, giclées, t-shirts, and tickets.
On August 11th, 2017 from 5-8pm, VGA (Video Game Art) Gallery will open a new venue at 2418 W Bloomingdale, the first brick and mortar art gallery devoted to video games and new media in Chicago. For the last three years, VGA Gallery has functioned as a popup exhibition and event organization, mounting various programs and developing critical partnerships with artists, game developers, nonprofits and audiences across the city. After growing its audience and funding, and establishing a strong foundation of programming, VGA is now positioned to open a physical gallery space and aspires to embed itself within the community with a stable and consistent location for organizing programming. An innovative rotating exhibition series as well as public programming featuring art and games of cultural significance are envisioned for this new space.
Space Location and Features:
Located at the intersection of Chicago's Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Bucktown neighborhoods, VGA Gallery's address is 2418 W Bloomingdale Apt 102 in the historic Bloomingdale Arts Building, just a few blocks south of the blue line Western stop. It is right off the 606 trail by the Western Avenue on-ramp.The gallery is wheelchair accessible, features eco-friendly LED track lighting and includes a full kitchen and bathroom for private rentals. It is has the distinction of being the former home of Woman Made Gallery and former photography studio of Randall Moe. It is part of the lively artist community of Bloomingdale Art Building (BAB), a former metal stamping factory, that was converted into artist live/work spaces in 2001.
Public hours will be Wednesdays from 5-8pm and Sundays from 12-5pm and special events on occasion. When not in use by VGA, the space will be available for rent on Airbnb and private rentals.
The successful opening of the space will be contingent on a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. While VGA has a stable and growing base of support with diverse revenue streams, the gallery is in need of a one-time cash infusion to connect game artists from around the world with the gallery and create an international center for art and video games. Kickstarter will grant VGA the global audience, time, and resources to be a state-of-the-art, world-class gallery where fans and creators of the best games in the world will meet. The campaign seeks $10,000 and will be run from July 11 to August 1. Compelling rewards include game downloads, VGA posters and t-shirts, special event tickets, exhibition sponsorships and more. The project is championed by the Kickstarter Arts Outreach team.
About VGA Programming:
Annual programs include 3-5 exhibitions a year of solo and group shows featuring the work of artists and game developers from around the world; an education program comprised of talks, screenings, and tours for students and the general public; the VGA fine art print collection that features the sale of giclees and posters of artwork from video games; and a publications program that will launch the VGA Reader in 2017, an annually-published, peer-reviewed journal that highlights new scholarship about video games and new media art.
Inaugural Exhibition - SAVIOR: Cuba's First Indie Game
The first exhibition on display for VGA Gallery's August 11 grand opening is artwork from Savior, an experimental videogame, the first to be independently developed for wide release in the changing cultural and political landscape of Cuba. With a unique story about metaphysics and deconstruction of the game world, a gothic art style and an existential tone, Savior challenges cultural expectations, as well as formal understanding of games. Savior is being developed by Josuhe Pagliery & Johann Armenteros, it is hoped the artists will be able to attend the opening.
VGA Gallery History and Mission:
Founded in 2013 in Chicago, Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to increase cultural appreciation and understanding of video games and related new media art through exhibition and study, fulfilling a need for a public platform for exhibition and discourse on the emerging medium. VGA’s signature programs include exhibitions, artist residencies and events with partnering venues and spaces for the purposes of collaboration and audience growth. In the past year, exhibitions have been mounted at Rebuild Foundation, Columbia College Chicago, Mana Contemporary and the Nightingale Cinema; VGA has held an artist residency that was organized and carried out in partnership with University of Illinois at Chicago’s Maker Space; and a public panel discussion was mounted in conjunction with the Adler Planetarium and Bit Bash, among many other programs. Scholarship and the documentation of significant work is an important part of VGA’s mandate. Recent conferences VGA has participated in include the INTERPLAY Conference, co-hosted by University of Chicago and Northwestern University, College Art Association New Media Caucus, Chicago Video Game Law Summit, and Adler Planetarium Panel Discussion: Chicago Made Games as New Media Art. VGA has published articles for Leonardo, the Journal of Games Criticism, the AV Club, Motherboard, Illinois Game Developers Association. It counts The Terra Foundation for American Art, The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, the Graham Foundation and Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events as its recent funders. In FY16, VGA served 24,900 people including hundreds of students at ChiArts.
REPORT FROM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
Looking back, VGA had a banner year in fiscal year 2016 (October 1 2015 - September 30, 2016) as we advanced our mission to draw public attention to games and new media of significance through exhibition and events. Our programming and partnerships were marked by innovation and high quality, our financial muscle became stronger and our Chicago footprint widened. VGA partnered with some of Chicago's greatest cultural and academic organizations such as Cards Against Humanity, Columbia College Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, the Chicago Design Museum, Mana Contemporary, the Rebuild Foundation, the Neofuturists, Bit Bash and the Neofuturists to mount programming all over the map of Chicago from north to south and east to west. What a year!
Financially, we far exceeded our goals.VGA raised $14,493 in revenues, far exceeding our expenses. The esteemed Graham Foundation supported our incredible exhibition from the forthcoming title Manifold Garden by William Chyr. Columbia College Chicago provided critical support to realize the Art Game VS Game Art exhibit. VGA organized its first-ever annual fund and we are proud to build upon this loyal group of donors from within our board ranks and our expanded friends and family. Sales of editioned giclees and posters also enjoyed strong proceeds from our print sales of incredible art from games small and large. And finally, at the end of the fiscal year we mounted our most successful HARDCORE CASUAL Benefit for VGA Gallery to date, grossing over $4,000, raising awareness of VGA and honoring the contributions of AV Club Editor-in-Chief John Teti, who gave a speech about the importance of critique for gaming that none of us will ever forget. The year ended with a net surplus that we allocated to past debts and banked for future programming. I'm proud to report that VGA is now has zero debt and is well in the black and well positioned for future growth.
Speaking of growth, this year we grew our staff to ten deep and thanks are owed to our small, nimble group for their great work in making VGA shine. VGA co-founder and director of exhibitions and programs Chaz Evans' curatorial leadership sets the artistic direction of the organization and his ideas, exhibits and events are always nothing short of brilliant and inventive. Tom Caprel guides our communications strategy and keeps us up to date in trends in the marketplace and George Chen handles our growing load of print orders with an even, expert hand. The fact that they are all volunteer except for the occasional grant or contract compensation is all the more admirable. The largest addition to the staff was the wholesale new department of the VGA Reader. We are thrilled to welcome this crack team of Tiffany Funk, editor-in-chief, Michael (Mick) Reed, managing editor, and Amanda Coleman, VGA Reader intern, to help publish our first annual peer-reviewed journal slated to come off the press in 2017. It aims to be nothing less than a leader in the video game art scholarship. While Kristine Strom, manager of finance, and Heather Robbins, manager of development, have been pulled away by other commitments, we are very grateful for their time and hard work spent with us and we are fortunate to count on Kristine's service for future 990 filings. On our board of directors, with the help of our amazing Executive Committee of President Ross Hersemann, Vice President Eric Mittereder, Treasurer Adam Wolek and Secretary Jen Rhodes, we welcomed Antar Jackson, Jon Krusell, and Teresa Silva as intrepid new VGA leaders. Thanks to the entire VGA board for their service and governance, we are lucky to draw from the collective wisdom of this incredible mix of artists, game developers, academics and creative professionals.
From a communications perspective, more than 24,900 people experienced VGA art in-person. Online we had web traffic of 76,800 unique visits, and 2,952,394 impressions and 90,368 clicks in free advertising courtesy of our Google Grant. We also reached 14,985 using targeted Facebook ads, and our programs were covered in two major stories in the Chicago Reader. We were also featured in a Touch Vision video interviewed by Beth Elderkin and received plenty of shoutouts on social media. Our email list is over 700, twitter followers grew to 627, Facebook fans jumped to 592, and we started an Instagram account and now have 249 followers and growing quickly!
It's fun to look back and take stock of our impact. I hope you will keep in touch as there is a great deal of excitement to come.
VGA Co-Founder and Executive Director
REPORT FROM DIRECTOR OF EXHIBITIONS AND PROGRAMS:
As we move into a transformational year for VGA, it’s a great privilege to reflect on the programming goals we accomplished in FY16. When I say we, I'm referring to the large group of people who have all made crucial contributions to the organization, including our artists, our staff, our volunteers, our board, and the incredibly cool community of people coming to and participating in our shows. 2016 was a year of expansion in all of the program structures that we use to support video games and related new media art: exhibitions, education, residency, collection, sales, and even the establishment of a new endeavor: publications.
In October, William Chyr became VGA’s first artist-in-residence and was awarded studio space and a solo exhibition through UIC’s Maker Space at Mana Contemporary to work on his debut game Manifold Garden. The resulting exhibition was a unique opportunity to understand and document the process behind Chyr’s work as both framed and interactive aesthetic glitches. It also allowed audiences to get to know Chyr and his game Manifold Garden before its release (coming very soon!).
The group exhibition Psychedelic Tourism at Cards Against Humanity’s Black Box Gallery in March brought other new prints by Chyr together with work from Gardenarium by Paloma Dawkins and imagery from Ridiculous Fishing by Greg Wohlwend. As three bodies of work, they function as a study on the mercurial but inhabitable cityscapes, seascapes, and landscapes that are offered to those who visit virtual spaces in contemporary games.
Game Art Vs. Art Game opened at Columbia’s College Chicago’s Arcade Gallery in August as VGA’s biggest and most ambitious exhibition to date. The international survey of artists’ experiments with video games spanned decades and over 60 artworks, and illustrated the complex and evolving relationships between video games and contemporary art. It has also become VGA’s first touring exhibition and will be mounted at the Christian Peterson Art Museum in Fall 2017.
It is always a blast exhibiting fine art prints at Bit Bash. For VGA’s third consecutive year collaborating with the mid-west’s biggest video game fest, we were invited to curate a special selection of glitch artists from the Chicagoland area, together with the games and other festivities. The glitch-themed exhibition featured work by Nick Briz, Jon Satrom, Jessica Fenlon, Benji Blessing Sayed, Paul Hertz, Sara Goodman, and Christine Janokowicz.
Dateline: Bronzeville enjoyed a long installation at the Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative to bring artist Phillip Mallory Jones’ rich historical vision of the black metropolis, 1940’s Bronzeville, to Chicago audiences. The exhibition was accompanied with education programs and tours that connected Mallory Jones’ techniques and extensive historical knowledge to students and members of the Dorchester Art community.
On top of the special exhibitions above we continue to grow and exhibit the video game fine art print collection that we founded for our first exhibition in 2014. We made new exciting acquisitions by Benjamin Crooks from Boxer, Sylvain Tegroeg from Hidden Folks, Pol Clarissou from Vignettes, Jonathan Blow’s The Witness, and That Dragon Cancer by Numinous Games. Selections from the print collection were exhibited in a number of venues: The Neofuturist Theater, The Chicago Video Game Law Summit, Bit Bash, our HARDCORE/CASUAL benefit at the Indie-City Co-op, and ValorCon 2016.
It continues to be an incredible honor to act as custodians of the work of so many brilliant artists and share it with different audiences. It’s a thrill to be able to look back and describe what happened in 2016, but it will be even more exciting to share what is coming in the next year. As always, please stay tuned as we find more ways to support artists who make videogames and find meaningful contexts for their reception in a larger international conversation on contemporary art.
VGA Co-Founder and Director of Exhibitions and Programs
FY2016 (October 1, 2015 - September 30, 2016) Programs
- William Chyr's Manifold Garden Exhibition in partnership with University of Illinois Chicago's Maker Space at Mana Contemporary (October 16-18, 2015) Attendance: 500
- The Neocade Exhibition in partnership with the Neofuturists (November 12, 2015 - Current) Attendance: 10,000+
- Psychedelic Tourism Exhibition of work by William Chyr, Paloma Dawkins, and Greg Wohlwend in partnership with Chicago Design Museum and Cards Against Humanity (March 25, 2015 - January 9, 2016) Attendance: 5,000+
- VGA at Chicago Video Game Law Summit in partnership with John Marshall Law School (April 16, 2016) Attendance: 250
- VGA Glitch Exhibition and Booth at Bit Bash August 13, 2016) Attendance: 2500
- Game Art VS Art Game Exhibition in partnership with Columbia College Chicago's Arcade Gallery and Columbia's Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces (August 18 - October 28, 2016) Attendance: 4,000
- HARDCORE CASUAL Benefit Party at the Indie City Co-op (September 12, 2016) Attendance: 150
- VGA Booth Exhibit at ValorCon at Macy's (September 30,2016) Attendance: 1500
- Dateline: Bronzeville Exhibit of work by Philip Mallory Jones at the Dorchester + Art Housing Collaborative in partnership with the Rebuild Foundation (September 30, 2016 - March 31, 2017) Attendance: 2500
Cards Against Humanity
Chicago Design Museum
Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Lisa Yun Lee
UIC Maker Space
ValorCon / Thomas Glen
VGA Staff (October 2015 - September 2016)
Tom Caprel, Manager of Communications
George Chen (Zhi Quiao), Store Manager
Amanda Coleman, Publications Intern
Chaz Evans, Director of Exhibitions and Programs
Tiffany Funk, Editor-in-Chief, VGA Reader
Jonathan Kinkley, Executive Director
Brice Puls, Manager of Exhibitions
Michael Reed, Managing Editor, VGA Reader
Heather Robbins Manager of Development
Kristine Strom, Manager of Finance
VGA Volunteers (October 2015 - September 2016)
VGA Board (October 2015 - September 2016)
VGA Reader Editorial Board
Adriaan de Jongh
B. Börkur Eiríksson
Benji Blessing Sayed
Cook & Becker
Craig D. Adams
David van Brink
Hannah Leja Epstein (hanski)
Hollow Tree Games
Michaël Samyn & Auriea Harvey (Tale of Tales)
Nina Freeman & Joni Kittaka
Philip Mallory Jones
Porpentine Charity Heartscape
Ryan & Amy Green (Numinous Games)
State of Play Games
Donors and Sponsors
Jeremie Michaels Lim
VGA is delighted to partner with Open House Contemporary (OHC) for a summer survey of video game art. As a Chicago-based organization that brings art into residential settings, the OHC is a singular venue whose primary audience are guests of the OHC's Galerie Soirée, a vacation rental and exhibition space in Chicago's River West neighborhood, available for private booking here. The survey will highlight distinctive game art by emerging and established artists and game developers from across the field and across the world, as drawn from the VGA print collection. This exhibition is organized by VGA Gallery in partnership with OHC. Click here for more information.
Join artist Philip Mallory Jones in conversation with Paula Robinson, President of the Black Metropolis National Heritage Commission in a conversation about Bronzeville's history, present and future in real and virtual contexts. The talk will take place during the closing night of DATELINE: Bronzeville. This exhibition features work from the forthcoming first person mystery video game, "DATELINE: Bronzeville" that brings 1940s Bronzeville to life at a time when vibrant black culture and business flourished during the great migration. It showcases playable game vignettes, fine art prints of scenes from DATELINE: Bronzeville, and corollary historical material.
Presented in partnership with VGA Gallery, the Rebuild Foundation and Black Metropolis National Heritage Commission, and made possible by The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust.
VGA is excited to announce that we have had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing game artist whose work is represented by VGA Gallery: B. Börkur Eiríksson. Eiríksson is known for his sci-fi and fantasy illustrations imbued with a sobering dose of realism as well as his amazing skill in imagining the grim realities of both dystopian futures and medieval pasts.
Q: What medium and/or software program do you like to work in the most?
A: These days I use photoshop for almost all my work. I like using oils more for my personal work and I'm experimenting with some colab between the two mediums.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
A: Don't get caught too much in you emotions. Listen to your gut when you are problem solving. You have to be three people when you are creating amd switching between the three is important. An artist, the audience and an editor. Don't forget the artist.
What you like now you will not like in 5 years. Don't take it too seriously.
And never ever stop.
Q: Did you always draw/paint? What made you start? What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I always envied people who were good at drawing and I thought it was a special gift. I didn't start drawing seriously till in my teens. Then I realised it's simply a skill you have to train. If you have a creative mind you can do it.
Q: What kind of games do you like to play?
A: My taste in games is very different from most people. I used to play games a lot but today I mostly play very hardcore games like Darkest Dungeon and Dwarf Fortress. I'm a sucker for old ascii dungeon crawlers.
Q: What has been your favorite project to work on so far?
A: Hard to say. I usually don't get involved in projects unless I'm interested and believe in them. The one I'm currently working on is my favourite so far. I'm afraid I can't talk about it yet.
Q: Are you currently working on a game? If so, which one?
A: I am but I'm afraid I can't reveal what it is. All I can say is that it is a VR game.
Q: What do games mean to you?
A: Games are just as much an art form as anything else. They are a perfect medium for escapism. I've played games since I was an infant and I consider them a big part of life.
Q: How does your professional work differ from your personal work?
A: I try to make all my professional work personal. I'm not interested in doing a 9-5 job and not putting my heart into it. If I can't put my soul into things then I simply loose interest. It's something I've learned over the years. It might be an uprofessional thing to say but that's just the way I am.
My personal work is more free though and I get usually get more satisfaction from it. Other people seem to like it more as well.
Q: Who are other artists you take inspiration from?
A: There are so many that I can hardly count them. And they change a lot over the years. I usually go for artists that are not doing the same rehash as everyone else. Egon Schiele is a big inspiration for example. As are many of the classical ones.
Q: Could you explain a little about your artistic process?
A: It differs greatly. I've tried all kinds of methods. Everything from starting from value sketches and then moving to color and rendering. To just starting and seeing what happens.
I don't really have a specific process anymore. I feel like I have a toolbox that I just pick from and use that process/tool for the task at hand.
Thank you again to Mr. Eiríksson for allowing us Thank you again to Mr. to interview him, we can't wait to see how your project turns out!
Click here to view giclees and posters by Börkur Eirίksson!
VGA is excited to announce four new prints from the critically acclaimed video game in five acts, Kentucky Route Zero! Posters start at $35 each. From now until Jan. 1st 2017, enjoy 20% off with gift code HOLIDAY. Click here to COLLECT ARTWORK.
Kentucky Route Zero: The title Kentucky Route Zero refers to more than a video game. It is more a context for video games, video games that are between other video games, artworks that sometimes are and sometimes are not video games, the negative space that fills gaps between these relationships, and the liminal space at the cusp of video games and everyday life. That context can also be described as a series of stories, a shared context for mystery (rather than puzzles), loss, community, pathos, media art histories, haunted technology, and skeletons. With so many paths within the world of Kentucky Route Zero and so many points of entry it might be hard to know where to start. Simply staring at this iconic cover image for Kentucky Route Zero Act IV is as excellent a point of entry (or a point of reflection for those already traveling the Zero) as any.
Cardboard Computer is the collective name of Jake Elliot, Tamas Kemenczy, and Ben Babbit. They are known for their sprawling multi-part video game project Kentucky Route Zero which began in 2013. Other credits include Neighbor, an official selection for 2016 Milan Triennial International Exhibition, and a House in California which was nominated for the 2011 Independent Games Festival Nuovo Award.
VGA is delighted to announce the ongoing release of artwork from three important games: The Witness, That Dragon, Cancer, and Dateline: Bronzeville. Posters start at $35 each. From now until the new year, enjoy 20% off with gift code HOLIDAY. COLLECT ARTWORK HERE.
The Witness: Jonathan Blow is one of the most important figures of the revolution of indie gaming. His Braid (2008) won an Innovation in Game Design award at the Independent Games Festival and the story of its development was told in the insightful documentary Indie Game: The Movie (2012). Six years in development, The Witness debuted in early 2016 and revived the adventure puzzle genre forged in the 1990s by games such as Myst (1993). Its colorful postcard landscapes are rendered in a style distinguished by its emphasis on lighting, shape and color in contrast with an industry that is reliant on traditional texture maps. Without loading screens or cut scenes, the game is wholly manifest in one unbroken immersive experience. The panoply of environs tantalizes the wandering player to discover all of its secrets. Yet its familiar gaming environment tropes of jungle, desert and mountains are imbued with an alien quality by their lack of characters and fauna.
That Dragon, Cancer: Ryan and Amy Green heartbreakingly lost their son Joel to cancer in 2014. As a way to grieve, empathize with others, and commemorate Joel’s life, the Greens developed and released That Dragon, Cancer on Joel’s birthday in January 2016. Among the most profound and moving stories told in the medium of video games to date, That Dragon, Cancer is an intensely personal struggle of raw emotion and moving metaphor that utilizes the medium for connection and personal engagement, in a manner without precedent. The game leverages an art style where characters are rendered without distinguishing facial features. This technique functions as both a vehicle for empathy, allowing participants to insert themselves into character roles, while also softening what might otherwise be an overwhelming and too real experience. The entirety of the game is bathed in an otherworldly light, underscoring the presence of the supernatural throughout.
Dateline: Bronzeville: In the first half of the 20th century, Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood was known as the Black Metropolis, alive with vibrant Black culture and business that flourished during the Great Migration. Highlighting this historical moment, multimedia artist Philip Mallory Jones has developed a first person mystery video game, DATELINE: Bronzeville, set in 1940 based on oral and historical documentation. Philip Mallory Jones has long played an important role in the media arts field; he was founder and Executive Director of Ithaca Video Projects, a pioneering media arts center, from 1971 to 1984, and Director of the Ithaca Video Festival from 1974 to 1984. He has held a number of artist residencies around the world and his videotapes and installations have been exhibited internationally.
VGA is proud to announce the release of posters and editioned giclees from two visually distinctive games: Boxer and Vignettes. Posters start at $35 each. From now until the new year, enjoy 20% off with gift code HOLIDAY. TO SHOP, CLICK HERE.
Cukia Kimani and Ben Crooks' Boxer is firmly rooted in the fighting game genre, yet it extends two-player brawling into novel and surprising directions in terms of imagist, hand-drawn figuration, and real-time character control. The struggles, victories, and defeats of the game's anonymous pugilists are depicted in a highly illustrative style that draws on a diversity of animation and drawing traditions. Crooks' animations and drawings function as a fighting game distillation of Bill Plympton, William Kentridge, and Leon Golub. The surreal gestures of extended limbs are as graceful as they are grotesque in a way that matches the organic flow and feel of thumbstick-only control and top-down perspective. Here in Wiggle Joysticks, the two figures express the relief and agony shared by both the victor and the loser in a fleeting a post-fight moment.
Ben Crooks is an artist, animator, and game maker based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Boxer, which won the inaugural A MAZE/Johannesburg award, is Crooks' first collaboration with Cukia Kimani. Kimani makes games in Johannesburg where he founded the Nyamakop game studio.
Vignettes is a subtle video game that takes on the bold task of transposing the long tradition of the still life into interactive media. As a video game Vignettes performs a task that two-dimensional still life can never do: reveal the interconnectedness of apparently different objects through real-time animation and playful manipulation. Unlike conventional still life, Vignettes creates radical relationships between objects that may not have been there before, instead of meditating on the form of a single object alone. In print form however, these relationships are again refocused on the essence of objects in the manner of still life painting, drawing, and photography, revealing that 3D modeling is an extension of these media and that the video game artist can have it both ways.
Pol Clarissou is a graphist and game developer based in Valenciennes, France. His other credits include noteworthy existential wandering games such as Even the Stars, and Orchids to Dusk: a 2016 Independent Games Festival Nuovo award nominee. He is also a former resident of KO-OP. Vignettes is a collaboration between Clarrisou, Armel Gibson, Pat Ashe, and David Kanaga.
The Game About Diversity
October 6, 4-6 p.m.
Conaway Center, 1104 S Wabash Ave, 1st Floor
This panel is a cross conversation between our current exhibitions GAME ART VS. ART GAME andSkillshot: The Collaborative Art of Pinball as we explore how pinball and gaming leagues navigate diversity within its players, along with possible solutions to bringing together players of different communities. This panel is moderated by Echa Schneider, founder of the first women’s pinball league Belles and Chimes, and includes Keisha Howard, founder of the female gamer's community Sugar Gamers, Jamie Sanchez, co-founder of Voxelles, a gaming league focused on fostering gender diversity in the gaming industry, Brice Puls, Exhibitions Manager of The Video Game Art Gallery, Amanda Hamrick, Columbia College Chicago student and Interactive Arts and Media major, and Whitney Pow, Ph.D. student in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University.
VGA is delighted to announce its most successful Hardcore Casual party to date, netting $2,000 for critical programs in FY17. 80 people packed the Indie City Co-op for an epic night of art, games and libations. VGA presented the Global Illumination Award to The A.V. Club's Editor-in-Chief John Teti, who delivered captivating remarks on game criticism. The event was organized by the Hardcore Casual Benefit committee: Jon Cates, Kristy Conway, Ross Hersemann, Alia Walston, Jen Rhodes, Chris Tourre, Michael Velazquez. Guest enjoyed complimentary Arcade Brewery beer, heavy hors d'oeuvres by Art of Pizza while bidding on a raffle and admiring VGA posters and prints.
We are proud to announce that it has received a $7500 grant from The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and a $500 grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. It is humbling and an honor to merit these grants, in support of our artistic programming.
The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust's grant will support a fall 2016 exhibition and education programming featuring artwork by Philip Mallory Jones, a multimedia artist from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, who is making a video game about Chicago's South Side, circa 1940, titled Dateline: Bronzeville. This exhibition will take place at the Rebuild Foundation's Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative Center and is timed to coincide with the Centennial of the Great Migration. More details can be found by scrolling down on our exhibitions page here.
The Illinois Arts Council Agency grant will support VGA exhibitions, education programs, and administration.
Curated by VGA Gallery
Hosted by Columbia College Chicago Department of Performance and Exhibitions Services
618 S. Michigan Ave, 2nd Floor
August 18- October 28, 2016
Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
Reception: Friday, September 23 2016, 6-9pm
Organized by VGA Gallery, GAME ART VS. ART GAME is a group exhibition of video games of artistic significance, made by both experimental game designers and fine artists experimenting with games. Within the conversational space of Columbia College Chicago's Arcade Gallery, this selection of playable, iconoclastic video games will yield rare opportunities for comparison, contrast, appreciation and enjoyment.
Including work by:
Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative
1456 E 70th St, Chicago, IL
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 7 pm
Organized by VGA Gallery in Partnership with Rebuild Foundation
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Sept. 30th
Video Game Art (VGA) Gallery and the Rebuild Foundation are delighted to announce a fall 2016 exhibition (Sept. 30th - Dec. 18th, 2016) of artwork by Philip Mallory Jones, a multimedia artist from Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, who is making a video game about Chicago's South Side, circa 1940, titled Dateline: Bronzeville. This exhibition will take place at the Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative (1456 E 70th St, Chicago, IL) and is timed to coincide with the Centennial of the Great Migration.
In the first half of the 20th century, Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood was known as the Black Metropolis and was populated by waves of African Americans from the South, who arrived during the Great Migration. It was a dynamic period for business, sports, culture and the arts. Jones is developing a first-person mystery game for consoles, mobile devices, and virtual reality, set during this period. Dateline: Bronzeville is planned for release in 2017. The exhibition will include prints of screenshots and standalone art from the game, video animation, corollary historical material, and a playable game vignette.
About the Game: Dateline Bronzeville is planned for release in 2017. It is a first- person mystery adventure where the player assumes the role of Runny Walker, a seasoned photojournalist and columnist for the Chicago Advocate. The game takes place over the course of three weeks and each week you publish a weekly column that chronicles and critiques the spectrum of social, political, cultural, sport, entertainment and community events in Bronzeville. But the player also digs dangerously deeper, solving crimes and exposing corruption in Bronzeville. The player intuitively explores the fascinating world of a now-vanished Bronzeville, and interacts with numerous distinctive characters, and experiences the milieu of Chicago’s South side during The Great Migration, The Great Depression, The Chicago Renaissance, and Jim Crow Segregation, while discovering clues in order to solve several crimes and mysteries.
About the Artist: Philip Mallory Jones has long played an important role in the media arts field; he was founder and Executive Director of Ithaca Video Projects, a pioneering media arts center, from 1971 to 1984, and Director of the Ithaca Video Festival from 1974 to 1984. Jones received a B.A. from Beloit College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell University. Among his numerous awards are grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Film Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen, the Independent Television Service, and the National Black Programming Consortium. He has held faculty posts at Ithaca College, Howard University, the State University of New York at Fredonia, and was Batza Distinguished Scholar in Art and Art History at Colgate University. He has been Resident Artist at the Television Laboratory at WNET/Thirteen; American Center, Paris. France; Long Beach Museum of Art, California; the Institute for Studies in the Arts, Arizona State University, and the Aesthetic Technologies Lab, The Ohio University, among other institutions. His videotapes and installations have been exhibited internationally, at festivals and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Artists Space, New York; American Film Institute National Video Festival, Los Angeles; National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta; FestRio, Brazil; and the Afro‐American Museum, Los Angeles. Jones currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
This project is made possible by a generous grant from The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust.
Development of Dateline: Bronzeville has been made possible, in part, by significant support from The Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission.
What a great year! VGA went from fledgling startup to a firm and reputable fixture in Chicago's cultural landscape. And this is only the beginning. But as we look to the future, let's take a moment to recap where we've been. Here is a brief rundown of our goings-on last year.
- Opening Exhibition and Launch Party hosted by Galerie F. Sponsored by Tallgrass 8-Bit (8/14)
- ACTIVATE Alley Event, in partnership with the Chicago Loop Alliance. (10/16)
- Lecture at the INTERPLAY Conference, co-hosted by University of Chicago and Northwestern University (10/16)
- Articles Published in AV Club, Motherboard, IGDA, Journal of Games Criticism (FY15)
- Lecture at College Art Association New Media Caucus (2/15)
- Auction and Exhibition of Work by Cardboard Computer and Kentucky Route Zero, hosted by and in partnership with The Nightingale. Sponsored by Arcade Brewery, in partnership with Tiny Missile. (3/15)
- C2E2 Booth and Exhibition (3/15)
- Chicago Video Game Law Summit (4/15)
- VGA Hardcore Casual Benefit Honoring Katie Salen Tekinbaş at Emporium Arcade featuring a performance by Pizza Pals (6/25)
- Bit Bash Art Competition Jurors, Exhibition and Booth (8/15)
- Adler Planetarium Panel Discussion: Chicago Made Games as New Media Art (9/15)
Altogether VGA served nearly 10,000 enthusiasts in art and gaming with excellence in programming, reaching tens of thousands more through articles and conferences. We are delighted also to note that VGA is in sound fiscal standing and accrued a modest surplus for the year. Total expenses in FY15 were $12,806 and total revenue was $17,923. A breakdown of expenses and revenues, and a comparison with FY14, are as follows.
Special thanks to our current board and staff, our FY15 donors and print buyers, and VGA's many artists, partners, volunteers, family and friends for helping us realize our dream to be Chicago's space for art and gaming!
Tom Caprel, Manager of Communications
Chaz Evans, Director of Exhibitions and Programs
Jonathan Kinkley, Executive Director
Brice Puls, Manager of Exhibitions
Kristine Strom, Manager of Finance
VGA Board of Directors
Ross Hersemann, President
Eric Mittereder, Vice President
Jen Rhodes, Secretary
Adam Wolek, Treasurer
Craig D. Adams
B. Börkur Eiríksson
Cook & Becker
Hollow Tree Games
State of Play Games
Chicago Loop Alliance
Chicago Video Game Law Summit
College Art Association, New Media Caucus
International Game Developers Association
Journal of Games Criticism
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Chicago
Donors and Sponsors
All Board Members
Paul Borawski Jr.
Marianne and Michael Kinkley
Felix Laurie von Massenbach
Copyright © 2016 VGA Gallery, All rights reserved.
VGA Gallery had a presence at this year's Chicago Video Game Law Summit. CVGLS is Chicago’s premiere video game law related event. It is a day of academic panels devoted to the nuanced way video games require unique legal protections from a myriad of diverse legal disciplines. Game developers, industry representatives, and legal experts explored, explained, and debated the latest issues in video game law. In addition to academic panel presentations on a variety of special topics in video game law, this year’s Summit included an interactive video game showcase featuring Chicago-made games, their creators, and an assembly of Chicago’s video game related organizations, such as VGA Gallery
Psychedlic Tourism is an exhibition featuring the work of William Chyr, Paloma Dawkins, and Greg Wohlwend. The exhibition was curated by VGA Director of Exhibitions and Programs Chaz Evans and presented in partnership with the Chicago Design Museum and hosted by Cards Against Humanity. An opening reception and artist talk was held on Saturday, March 5 from 5-8pm and was sponsored by Arcade Brewery. The premise is a W.J.T. Mitchell proposition that landscape imagery isn’t merely a contemplative space for transcendence or allegorical depiction of the environment waiting to be decoded. Instead landscape imagery actively constructs cultural power in collective social imagination. Landscape naturalizes ideas about our environment and recodes those ideas into the world around us. This exhibition presents work by three artists that demonstrate how this process might change if the environments depicted are the imaginary worlds of video games: dynamic, navigable and with no geographical referent. William Chyr destabilizes the built environment of cityscapes by reconfiguring how space itself is meant to function in Manifold Garden. Paloma Dawkins and Kyler Kelly’s Gardenarium presents a myriad landscape that serves as home to a population that struggles with both interior and exterior space. Greg Wohlwend’s illustrations for Vlambeer’s Ridiculous Fishing depict the depths of a dark past against a bright, geometric, and excessive seascape. By inviting us to visit unstable, non-linear, and psychedelic places, the artists exhibited can inscribe their own perspectives into video game environments in a manner similar to how collective assumptions have been inscribed into landscape imagery of the past.