The fourth annual I Am 8-Bit art show debuted in Hollywood last night, taking over the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery on Hollywood Boulevard, attracting hundreds of video game-loving, art-appreciating Californians. Everything about the show — from the venue, the crowd, the artwork on hand, the massive queue of patient fans — was bigger than last year. It was even stuffier, more humid and hotter, seemingly in an attempt to outdo every aspect the 2007 edition of I Am 8-Bit.
Arriving well after the suggested time — and half an hour after the show had officially opened to the public — we were met with an insurmountable crush of people. It wouldn't have been a surprise to learn that those who showed up when we did, sans press access, faced a two-hour wait to get in. And when they did, the vast majority of artwork on hand had already been sold to a collector.
Our favourite piece from the show, a moody Link versus Ganon painting, shown after the jump, was fortunately priced out of our range, so that particular sell-out didn't phase us.
Like previous showings, Nintendo characters dominated walls. The evening's soundtrack, courtesy of Computer Jay, DJ R-Rated and Leeni, was similarly Nintendo saturated, as chiptunes were interspersed with dance beats. This resulted in some of the evening's "over-served" patrons busting some awkward moves, in turn making for some unfortunate shirtlessness.
The crowd was a healthy mix, part nerd, part scenester, with reps from PR, the artistic side and the press making for an atypical gallery opening.
And they weren't just there for the Colt 45s, despite its promise of working every time. They were there for the art, which drew inspiration not just from Nintendo's stable of IP. Yes, Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid and The Legend of Zelda were more than well represented. I Am 8-Bit 2008's artistic set also drew from games like Tron, Street Fighter, Bionic Commando, Earthworm Jim, Chrono Trigger and more. We even spotted a few pieces based on Elevator Action and documentary The King of Kong.
As we ogled artwork and mingled with the crowd, the gallery did brisk business. Tracking down the curator and salespeople was no easy task. It took us a good portion of the evening to secure this set of Pac-Man ghosts for our personal collection of things we don't really need.
It's foolish to call the fourth I Am 8-Bit showing anything but an unqualified success. The show has continued to outgrow its venue, with security turning folks away at the door when the show met capacity and artwork being snapped up before almost anyone got to lay their eyes on it.
To be there, virtually, check out our gallery from the show. Be warned however that more than one shot is not safe for work. This episode of the show was certainly more sexually charged than the last, thanks to Bionic Commando fighting off naked Nazi vampiresses, some underclothed Nerdcore models and one skilled Princess Peach fetishist. You've been warned!