Posts Tagged ‘Pokemon’

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Persistence of Pikachu

July 24, 2016

So I’ve been doing this new thing lately where I sketch some rando while I am out and about. I make their heads big and distort their features, so by the time I’m done, it doesn’t really look like them, but whatever.

Usually this happens at Space 55 (a totally cool little black box theatre in downtown Phoenix that I help operate) because it’s a good place to find someone who is sitting relatively still. Generally it’s an audience member or a performer. Lately they’ve all been guys, but that’s been situational, not intentional.

I just do the initial pencil sketch at first. I don’t spend time on inking or coloring because I want to sketch as many different people as I can while I am out in the world.

Then later, at home or wherever, I will go over it with pen and add more detail.

Then I leave it alone for a while and just let it roll around in my subconsciousness.

After a few days I will add a background and colors and try to turn it into what someone who doesn’t draw would call “finished”. The background may or may not have anything to do with the person. It might have more to do with stuff I’ve been thinking about, things I’ve been interested in or learned about recently.

Or I might start with something I know about the person, which is often very little because usually it’s a stranger, and then use that detail as a jumping off point to get the ideas going. I try not to be too deep about it. I’m not into putting hidden meanings into my stuff, I just try to hit upon an idea that is interesting to me that I would be excited to work on.

Here’s one that I did recently.

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I did the original sketch a couple weeks ago. This fellow came to see a show at Space 55 and arrived early. After he bought his ticket I told him the house wasn’t open yet but that he was welcome to hang out in the lobby. He said that he would go outside and look for Pokemon until the show started. This was a day or two after PokemonGo came out and it was just starting to blow up.

Side note: I don’t play Pokemon, but I am totally PRO-kemon. As with anything that becomes super popular, there’s a mob of people jumping up to say that it’s nerdy, that it’s a waste of time, and to point out all the negative stories associated with it. And in the case of the negative stories, there are things we should definitely be aware of. Obviously you shouldn’t play it while driving, or go into dangerous places alone, or sacred spaces, or private property, and all that other stuff that should be common sense.

But I’ve also seen how it brings people together. People are going outside and getting exercise, and making new friends, and exploring their neighborhoods, and I think that’s great. I wish the positive stories were getting a little more attention.

One super cool thing that I have seen over and over is parents and kids playing it together and becoming closer because of it. When I was a kid my parents did not play video games with me. (My grandma did, but she is exceptionally cool.)

Okay, end of side note. Back to drawing. 

So later that night, during the show, I spotted the Pokemon guy in the audience. It was really hot that night, and the poor guy was clearly suffering. That’s when I did the sketch of him, complete with sweat drops.

Then I let a part of my brain chew on it for a while. I thought about Pokemon. I thought about how hot it was. I thought about how fucking hot it is in Phoenix and how the summer drags on and on and feels so goddamn endless and depressing. And then I thought about that painting Persistence of Memory by Dali, which always reminds me of the the Arizona desert, and the bleakness of Phoenix in the summer.

Dali

And that’s how I wound up with a Dali-inspired background, with melted Pokeballs instead of clocks, and a distorted Pikachu instead of whatever the hell that creature is in the Dali painting. I also went for a Monument Valley-esque landscape in the distance to make it more specifically AZ.

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So there you have it: Persistence of Pikachu.

Wherever that guy is, I hope he’s recovered from that night, and reached at least level 20.