The Artcade Show Opens Tonight at Parazol Studios in Downtown Phoenix
|Painter JJ Horner works on Altered Beast at his Tempe studio.|
JJ Horner, however, kept his artwork grounded within the context of his particular game Altered Beast. The painter chose the 1988 Sega hit when when Paredes and Bracamonte approached him for the project since was a childhood favorite.
"I remember the exact position where it was at in the old arcade I used to go to as a kid in Flagstaff," Horner says. "My mom used to have a framing shop right next to it, so whenever I was stuck at work with her I'd bum quarters and walk over to the arcade and Altered Beast awaited."
Horner says he played the game multiple times to come up with what he wanted to paint on its cabinet, which he estimates has taken close to 90 hours of work.
"I've beaten it several times, now that I've got it on free play," he says. "It's easily a $25 game. It's pretty hard."
The result is two epic-looking works boasting a very painterly style that cover both sides of the cabinet. One is a layered mural of all of the different levels in the game -- which involves two gladiators battling scores of evil creatures from Grecian and Roman mythology -- while the other is a totem-like painting of all the anthropomorphized beasts like werewolves and dragons that the player can transform into.
"I've been working with layers and hole in particular, so revisiting this game it maybe influenced me on a subconscious level because in Altered Beast, you're going layer to layer, level to level through a hole or portal. So I just wanted to highlight that."
Urban artist Adam Dumper's work on a Ninja Gaiden cabinet is equally epic-looking, as he created a close up of the main character Ryu Hayabusa.
"I was going for the ninja crouching scene [in the game] with the raindrops. [I] thought that was a powerful image," Dumper says. "I want something that draws you in to play."
Those in attendance at the exhibition will definitely be getting in some joystick time on each of the games, which will be set to "free play" mode. Paredes and Bracamonte are also hoping that some Artcade patrons will also be in the mood to buy.
All of the artistically redesigned cabinets can be purchased, and while a small portion of the money from each sale will go to help fund El Barcade -- the old school gaming hangout and nightspot they're hoping to open somewhere in downtown in the coming year - a majority of the cash will be going to each artist.
"Everything that's painted by an artist is going to be for sale, because the artists are also going to get their money and its up to them how much they want," Bracamonte says. "These are big, collectible pieces of artwork, not only with entertainment and nostalgic value as arcade machines, but as a big, two-sided painting. So we want 'em to get some cash out of this show."
One of the other goals of Artcade, he adds, is to help get people interested in El Barcade.
"We're not getting any profit off of [Artcade]," Bracamonte says. "We want to raise awareness of what we're doing. And we wanted to do something different that's never been done before."
The Artcade Show runs from 5 p.m. to midnight this evening at Parazol Studios. Admission is free.