Acrylic on Canvas
So what is my Donkey Kong backstory? When I was growing up in Chicago, I'd sometimes get to hang out at a hot dog joint in a strip mall on Cumberland avenue called "Happy Dawg". They kept a steady rotation of two (and only two) arcade machines in the place; a popular draw for the neighborhood kids. This is where I first played Donkey Kong; the simple yet brutal barrel jumping game based on an evil ape that held a plumbers girlfriend hostage. I sure didn't last long when I got my turn on the machine. I'd be lucky to make it to the second screen fireball stage.
Back in those days, I wanted to relive the arcade experience so badly, that I settled for the stopgaps (the horror that was the Atari 2600 version of the game). It sure didn't look the same, but it was close enough. I remember not being able to fall asleep the day before picking up the "pre-paid" cartridge from Musicland (Harlem Irving Plaza location) the next day. Donkey Kong looked more like a brown piece of crap than the ape I knew from the arcade machine, but those were times when you took what you could get.
The Arcade version of Donkey Kong and the Atari 2600 version.
The Atari 2600 cartage box promised a "real" arcade experience.
There were other ways I filled my world with Donkey Kong characters too. I had a set of coloring books which brought me closer to this odd monkey drama. I can't even imagine what the premise would have been in these coloring books - I just remember trying to stay in the lines and do Mario justice.
This painting is an homage to Mario and his nemesis, with the idea of an "obstacle course" universe that was so foreboding, it was almost impossible for Mario to succeed. Kong stands upon a giant mechanical version of himself, spitting barrels at the hero that seem to have no finite limit. Yet Mario, as small and pudgy as he is, faces his opponent head on with only an occasional hammer at his disposal.
The reception for Popcade will take place 6pm-10pm, May 10th 2014 at:
Rothick Art Haus
170 South Harbour blvd
If you live in the LA area and Anaheim isn't too far of a stretch for ya, go and check out the show while it lasts.
Also, I just started up a Facebook site for "social butterflies" who like art updates delivered in their news feeds. Go check it out and see my iPad digital layout and thumbnail captures. You get to see how I started out with the idea and modified on the fly. Also, much appreciated if you give my page a "like" and spread the word.