Controllers & Canvas Video Game Art Event to Return to Bookmans in Mesa This Weekend
As anyone who's ever played Shadow of the Colossus, Rez, or Ico would likely attest, video games have become much more than just amusing distractions for geeks and teens. It's as much a legitimate art form as painting or sculpture, and no less a source than either the Smithsonian or Museum of Modern Art (both of which have exhibited arcade classics in recent years) can back that up.
Devon Christopher Adams Ryan Severyn of Phoenix wears his Mass Effect 3 Spectre armor and holds a digital art print by Anabel Martinez at last year's "Controllers & Canvas" at Bookmans in Mesa.
Local artist and gaming fiend Anabel Martinez also is a big proponent of the legitimacy of video games as art, which is one of the reasons she's helping co-organize and promote this Saturday's "Controllers & Canvas" event at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange in Mesa.
"Absolutely, I consider gaming [to be] an art form. It's impossible to see the music composers, artists, writers, animators, and everyone involved in the process and dismiss it as 'just gaming,'" Martinez says. "Those that don't [believe that] simply haven't been exposed to many games or don't understand the process behind them. The stigma keeps them from what could be an amazing experience."
And she also believes that the annual "Controllers & Canvas" event, which debuted last May at Bookmans in Mesa, will be just as amazing an experience for not only local video game enthusiasts and geeks, but anyone else who's ever gone a few rounds with a pixilated foe.
Martinez, who is a member of Firebase Gaming (a Arizona-based social gamer group run by creatives and enthusiasts), says the inaugural "Controllers & Canvas" came together last year after Cothrun "wanted to put together an event that celebrated the creative side of gaming" in the Valley. She was more than happy to help.
Devon Christopher Adams Chris Sharp's cosplay armor from last year's "Controllers & Canvas."
That includes such projects as her digital pieces and prints inspired by character and conceptual art from such titles as Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and BioShock Infinite, snazzy Mass Effect 3 armor and other imaginative outfits created by Valley cosplayers, or the plastic pixel art of Melissa Kaylor (a.k.a. Mel the Gamer Girl).
"In one sentence: The purpose is to celebrate the creative side of gaming," she says.
Martinez says the inaugural "Controllers & Canvas" came together last year after Cothrun "wanted to put together an event that celebrated the creative side of gaming" in the Valley. She was more than happy to help.
"We both realized that while there were lots of tournament events locally, there weren't any that really showcased the artists, costumers, fan filmmakers, et cetera," Martinez says. "Even at Phoenix Comicon, I realized that it was hard to find other gaming artists."
So she reached out to the Valley's gaming community for feedback and to gauge interest and discovered a few things.
"They wanted to learn from folks who were already creating stuff for their favorite games, give suggestions, see folks in costume . . . basically a mini casual gaming con," she says.