A first hand look at the Pokemon Battle Royale art show

People, hey, seriously, look at this. This is awesome.

Now, I won’t say that I’m an avid art fan, nor would I say that I don’t have a level of respect for it.  That said, it’s rare that something like the opening of an art gallery can tear me away from Netflix or a cold beer.  Apparently though, all it takes is some phenomenal Pokemon inspired art work.  This last Friday, April 20th, I had the pleasure of taking in the opening of the Pokemon Battle Royale at the Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis.  The crowd was great, the gallery was packed and I have to say, I was impressed by more than a fair share of the artistic contributions.

Great stuff waits inside

For those who don’t remember, or didn’t read our article about the show, Pokemon Battle Royale was a collaborative effort of 151 artist to take on and create their own conceptualizations of the original 151 Pokemon.  Yes, it was as cool as it sounds.

We crowded in to see our favorite Pokemon

Upon arriving to the tiny little art gallery just outside of downtown Minneapolis, I was a little taken back at the sheer amount of people waiting in line.  Pokemon definitely still has some sway in the gamer scene, and apparently the art scene as well. Everyone seemed excited for the doors to open and the atmosphere was light and fun.  Once the doors opened the Pokemon faithful rushed inside to get a peek at the creations and very quickly you saw nothing but smiles, even some laughter among those in attendance.  The tiny gallery was packed, it was warm and there wasn’t any flow to people’s movements, but no one seemed to care as they browsed the wide variety of different interpretations of what are now classic gaming icons.

Alakazam was always my favorite

Depictions of the Pokemon ranged from the very cool and very well done, to the weird and bizarre.  Some were clearly fan favorites, some seemed to confuse people (such as a Jigglypuff that was neither jiggly or puffy), but there was no denying the talent behind every piece of artwork in the building.

Adorableness: Factor 100!

So we continued along, as music from the original Pokemon games played in the background.  Upon hearing the victory music someone said, “I wonder who won?” and most of us in the area laughed.  In that moment, surrounded by what had to be at least a hundred people, staring at a wall of art and music all inspired or part of a video game it was difficult to not be a little taken back in the moment.  The artwork at the Light Grey Art Lab this last Friday evening was spectacular, no doubt, but what I personally took away from it was a very “in your face” example of the truly cultural phenomenon some video games have become, the sheer magnitude of a shared cultural experience that all came on a couple of little square game cartridges.

I dare those who scuff at the idea to attend something like this and tell me video games can’t be art.

The crowd that had formed after less than an hour

The entire art gallery, in much better quality than the photos I have here, can be found through the Light Grey Art Lab’s website by going HERE. It is certainly worth taking a look.

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About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.