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80's Video Games Influence the Contemporary Arts

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Arts and Culture
The nostalgia of the 80's has been simmering in the fashion world for several years. It is perhaps not a surprise that the pop culture of the 80's is also rearing its head in the art world.

We have seen graffiti, which was once considered a vulgar expression of inner-city youth, become a tool for marketers and embraced as a creative outlet for urban artists.

This was made apparent on a recent episode of 'The Apprentice', Donald Trump's reality program aimed to select a candidate from a group of smart, resourceful and business minded men and women. One of the tasks given to them on the series included creating an advertisement for a new game. They were to create a graffiti inspired advertisement on the side of a building to be used as a billboard.

Well, if Donald Trump has given his approval..

Speaking of games, another big hit in the 80's was video games - Pac Man, Mario Brothers and others were played by most teens at one time or another. These teens are now adults looking back with a hint of nostalgia at their youth, despite the fact that it was only 15-20 years ago. But technology changes quickly and so these icons of the 80's are now being featured in art galleries like Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight in Hollywood.

The gallery features pieces that take a contemporary look at video games and is possibly helping to create a new genre in the field.

A painting depicting Pac Man as over-the-hill and on a drip of pellets went for 3000 according to a Reuters press release.

The artist, Greg Simkins, claimed he started out by painting graffiti in back alleys before working with canvas. And he's not the only one bringing this strange combination of video and art to the public.

So what should we expect in the next five years? Well, for the art world change is always good, although often criticized in its formative years. So we may have to wait and see if 'video-game art' will make a solid stand in the art community. What we do know is that the original game players are now coming into their 40's and anyone under that age will have grown up with video games as a part of their childhood, just as 'I Love Lucy' was a part of another generations'. Because of that, the images will likely have an emotional pull and impact on new and existing collectors today