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.
Artist Andy Hoyos' very first fantasy assignment as art director for Sierra's King’s Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! (1990) was the spooky Witch's House within Serenia's Dark Forest. Yet for the artist, the piece left something to be desired. Now -- 25 years later -- in an exclusive partnership with VGA Gallery, Hoyos has revisited his original concept in a spirit of fun and unbridled imagination, and at long last has completed his original concept. Compare the original sketch and painting (below) with the fantastic new painting (above). The piece underscores the prominent role game artists play in shaping the gamer's experience. It begs the question of when is a work of art complete? And how would games be different if artistsrevisited a title years later? It is also a charming and indulgent work of high fantasy that is both nostalgic as a recognizable scene from King's Quest V and emblematic of the spirit of Sierra living on today. Read more....
On Thurs 9/17 at the Adler Planetarium's awesome After Dark night, VGA's Chaz Evans is leading a panel discussion titled Chicago Made Video Games as New Media Art at the Adler Planetarium! The talk will feature members of the city's expanding and vibrant game community: developer and Bit Bash lead curator Rob Lach, Northwestern University academic, graphic designer and game developer Whitney Pow, game developer and Video Game Art Gallery artist-in-residence William Chyr, and Bit Bash organizer, Pedagogical Game Developer, and Interactive Artist Brice Puls. Learn more and pick up tix here: http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/adler-after-dark/
VGA is teaming up with Bit Bash for their second annual one-day event. Bit Bash is an interactive arts festival in Chicago, showcasing an international collection of lesser known but culturally significant video games. This year VGA will particpate in the festival by guest curating the Art Bash Risograph poster competition, exhibiting several selections from the VGA Collection, and debuting a selection of new prints based on games that will be live and ready to play. The new prints are truly at to forefront of stylistic experimentation in games and will be announced shortly.
Don't miss Chicago's biggest game festival with over 50 games, art, music, food, drinks, and more!
Tickets and more information available at the Bit Bash website.
@ Threadless, 1260 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL, 60607.
On Thursday, June 25th more than 130 guests turned out for HARDCORE / CASUAL, VGA Gallery's first annual benefit party held at Emporium Arcade in Wicker Park, co-chaired by VGA Board members Ross Hersemann and Jen Rhodes. VGA's Jonathan Kinkley and Chaz Evans bestowed Katie Salen Tekinbaş with the inaugural VGA Global Illumination Award for Deep and Significant Contribution to Video Games and Computational Art. During the course of the night guests enjoyed open bar, hors d'oeuvres, a performance by Pizza Pals, unlimited game tokens, and VGA Gallery art prints. Lucky raffle contestants won an exciting array of prizes including: Adler Planetarium memberships and After Dark Tickets, Arcade Brewery Swag Packs, Avant-garde Games: Playing with Technoculture (by Brian Schrank), MCA Tickets, Neo-Futurist Tickets & Publication, Steppenwolf Theatre tickets, The Last of Us Remastered (PS4), and a VGA Print Pack. More than $4500 was raised for FY16 programming. Thanks to all who came out for this epic night!
Check out pictures here!
Art Bash is an art exhibition or original prints that celebrate video games andtheir cultural impact presented at Bit Bash 2015. VGA Gallery is proud to curate this year's exhibition in collaboration with Bit Bash, and we invite artists, designers, and anyone who loves video games to take part! The theme this year is: How do you visualize the video game future?
LEARN MORE AND SUBMIT YOUR YOUR WORK HERE!
HARDCORE / CASUAL: An Evening to Support VGA Gallery
Katie Salen Tekinbaş to be honored with VGA Global Illumination Award
Performance by Pizza Pals
Thursday, June 25th. 2015, 7-10pm
Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N Milwaukee Ave.
Co-Chaired by Ross Hersemann and Jen Rhodes
$30 early bird ticket (until June 18th) includes admission, hors d'oeuvres, beer and well drinks from 7-9pm / $35 at the door
Please join the VGA Board, friends, and artists and gamers from across Chicago for HARDCORE / CASUAL: An Evening to Support VGA Gallery, co-chaired by VGA Board members Ross Hersemann and Jen Rhodes. Enjoy games, art, music, food, drinks at Emporium Arcade Bar while supporting exhibitions and programs in VGA Gallery's 2015-2016 season. Game designer, artist, and educator Katie Salen Tekinbaş will be honored with the VGA Global Illumination Award for her many rich contributions to the medium of gaming. Music by Pizza Pals. Tickets will be held at the door.