iam8bit Says VIDEO GAMES Are ART in LA Exhibit
iam8bit Says VIDEO GAMES Are ART in LA
Despite its relative youth when compared to the wider media landscape, the debate about video games over their effect on the individual and on the culture at large has seemingly gone on forever. From the dinner table to the Supreme Court, positions for and against video games have become as engrained and entrenched as any of society’s most intractable debates. There is no doubt however that video games have already played a large part in the cultural development of an entire generation. If you were an eight year old in the United States when the original The Legend of Zelda was released in 1986, you’d be turning 33 this year, and would scarcely remember a time in your life when that game, and hundreds of others, didn’t loom large in your life.
This is the fifth such open-to-the-pubic show that iam8bit has hosted since 2005, the first in their new storefront headquarters, and it is not just an exercise in nostalgia. “Everything is for sale, from the Zelda items to a book collecting images of the items from past shows,” explains Ahrens who goes on to say that gaming art galleries aren’t too different from those of the more traditional style. “It’s a crapshoot, it’s been our most successful show to date, but it’s strange, we have over two hundred pieces of art, over one hundred artists contributing and you don’t really know what’s going to hit or not.”
Though there is a place for serious commerce and the propagation of game-inspired art’s broader legitimacy, it is the aforementioned nostalgia factor that resonates with the iam8bit staff, as Ahrens tells it, “A young woman came in, I spoke to her and it turns out she was gamer who grew up in Korea. She plays the violin professionally, but hated it as a kid. She got rewarded for doing her violin practices by being able to play Nintendo. She came [into the gallery] and looking at the pieces, she looked like she was almost in tears. She kept saying, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you, for this,’ just the fact that it existed, and so near where she lived, she was almost overwhelms seeing her whole childhood on the walls.”
Super iam8bit concludes on Saturday September 10th with a signing from 12-3pm at the gallery, (2147 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026) featuring over 25 of the participating artists including Jim Mafood (Grrl Scouts) and Jorge R. Gutierrez (co-creator of Nickelodeon’s El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera).