My Art and Computer Games
What is the relationship between my art and Computer games?
It is related because the virtual worlds created by the games designers are often works of “virtual” art.
A contemporary artist responds to the world which includes worlds described in computer games (image from Final Fantasy 15).
As an artist I explore the real world and the unreal. This includes the internal world of the mind, the hidden world of the subconscious, the spiritual world and the virtual world.
The virtual worlds are not the same as the worlds we have been used to before digital technology was available. The worlds in computer games have specific details which make them different to photographs or solid 3 dimensional spaces. All of my art is influenced by the idea of virtual worlds. Each painting I create is like a still of my thoughts, using imagery and dimensions which are strongly influenced by exploring virtual worlds on computer.
What is the “Virtual” world and how does is differ from the “Real”?
The “Real” is a universe defined by time, location and space. These dimensions are fixed and shared, and mostly unchangeable. We explore it by senses.
The “Virtual” is a created universe, where time, space and location can be played with to create alternate worlds. We explore it using digital media as an interface between the world and our senses.
Every game creates its own universe, with its own rules and often, its own physics, mode of exploration and objects.
Computer games create their own worlds, where the user enters an alternative universe, and must abide by its rules or pay the penalty, which may be virtual death, loss of skills points or virtual health.
An example of this can be seen in Eve Online, which is a large universe shared among millions of users.
Users play with others all over the world, using spreadsheets to create their own fleets and explore, trade and battle for trade.
Eve was created by teams of designers, digital artists and games engine programmers working collaboratively. Below is a gif from the game.
The world is beautiful, engrossing and totally immersive.
There’s no point in trying to create a printout of the images and hanging them on our walls, because Eve is amazing. It’s a totally immersive universe, and with headphones and handset, backed up by spreadsheets software to play with others all over the world, no single image could even begin to compare. The story line is told through FMVs (full motion videos) each of which is carefully crafted by the teams.
Here is a trailer from the game:- EVE Prophecy. The colours, dimensions and physics are created for this universe. They correspond to elements of the real, but the entire world of Eve consists of exploring and interacting in a virtual space. Note how carefully each frame has been designed by the developers.
“The Fall” – A Static 2 Dimensional Universe on Canvas.
This is an example of how my art is influenced by computer games. I spend a lot of time exploring all the different worlds which the artist inhabited in the past. As a child my mother would take me to work with her during the school vacation. I would go to work with her and then sit in the central London museums and galleries while she was at work. We would meet for lunch and then go home together when she finished work. I spent a great deal of time looking at the beautiful objects in the British Museum. I was fascinated by the medieval manuscripts, Russian Revolution Posters and Maoist art in the British Library, as well as Aztec Codices and Japanese floating world prints. I spent hours in the National Gallery and the V&A, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, depending on where my mother worked. To me, those artefacts, manuscripts, posters and painting represented the pattern of our evolution.
Later on, I became involved in computer systems and taught computer games design. That was when I realised that there was another dimension that the artist has to explore, the “Virtual.” It is this which I explore in my art. The virtual world is the latest new frontier which we are in the process of exploring and I believe that it is part of our culture..
My paintings combine ideas from the “Virtual” with the images discovered in the museums I visited as a child.
In this picture, which I call “The Fall”, I’ve returned to one of my favourite subjects which is the idea that we have lost paradise, or that paradise existed, but we have destroyed it by our sins.
The fall is a 2D flat image of a universe. It is designed to hang on a wall and to be viewed in what I will now call “The real”, as opposed to the “the Virtual”. this is a space which contains its own embedded stories and obeys its own rules.