For his turn as the January artist-in-residence at Manifesto-ish, a virtual gallery space, Jon Gourley has opened the Video Game Art Museum, a space dedicated to the often-overlooked paintings and art pieces strewn throughout the backgrounds of video games. Gourley has separated them from their homes among the walls of castles and creepy mansions to let them stand as their own artistic works.
The collection has plenty of familiar pieces. The Boo paintings from Super Mario 64’s ghost house and a portrait of the giant octopus Ultros from Final Fantasy VI are standing works in the Old-Fashioned Game Nerd Canon (Norton, 7th ed.). Others are more esoteric, the sort of background objects even the most obsessive player might miss. Paintings from stray levels in Splatterhouse 3 and Ys II are paired together in one sub-gallery and are pretty, somber, and stirring. There are countless Tumblrs dedicated to video game art, screenshots, and GIFs, but Gourley’s work invites a distinctly un-Tumblr-like reaction: the urge to stop and admire the smallest, often unseen bits of games. New pieces go up every day this month.