Paint us a Retro picture!
It's a wonderful community us retro game lovers have isn't it? Well sometimes it's wonderful, because some folk are so cool!
So many diverse opinions and so much choice from the games alone, however when you add into the mix all the cool things that go along with the gaming then everything becomes about 400 times better.
This portal trip highlights a growing and awesome part of the scene and something that really speaks to us here at RGG...... Art!
Retro invading your home...
Warhol, Himukai and Blake. The heck you on about, Olly023!? ART, sir!
It's time we got a bit more cultured 'round deez parts of the site, so it's high time RetroGameGeeks present an exclusive interview with the fine folks of Gothelf Bros. Studios!!
Now, who are Gothelf? Well, that's why this feature's here to answer such things, silly retrobate!
So, check it out as me and Alex (of Gothelf) get together and have a little natter for your enjoyment.
Still life is great... Pixels are better!
RGG: Standard opening question: who be Gothelf Bros. (on a personable levels) and are you gothic elves or have you just obtained an elf and missed an e for convenience of spelly-spell? A geek of the retro game persuasions gotsta know! In short, I don’t know how to pronounce Gothelf.
Alex: Well first off it's actually me (Alexander) and my brother (Evan) we make up the Gothelf Bros. But what's funny is that I used to be called that in high school Gothic Elf, Got Milk or my favourite Gandalf haha, but the proper way to pronounce it is Goth-elf. It gets easy as you keep saying it.
RGG: Fancy explaining to the fine readers of RetroGameGeeks.co.uk exactly what it is you cool cats are doing with paints and canvas?
Alex: What we do basically for our wonderful fans is we take your favourite 8 bit and 16 bit games and turn them into beautiful pieces of art so you can always relive your favourite moments as they're hanging on your wall haha. Everything we do either it be a painting or statue is all handmade and carefully done to ensure a perfectly done painting.
RGG: So, when did you hook up, bang heads and think: ‘yo, we needz to be splashin’ our colour up in hurr’? Did it start as simple fun, do you do commissioned work and how has your stuff been received by the retro community (if it aint positive, some people be cray-cray, that’s for sure)?
Alex: At first we were separate artist then one day we realized well shit we do the same work so how about we just join forces and work together! Everything we started off with was just for fun until we decided to start doing shows and commissions and realized wow people love it and nice to see how many retro fans exist out there!
RGG: A personal assessment of y’alls body of work is that you guys adore that sassy 8-bit styling, was there a particular draw from the offset there?
Alex: I'm not sure if I'm answering the question correctly haha but we've never really been taken away from our style. I mean we used to free hand stuff back in the day but ever since we fell into the 8 bit world it's always been pixels on our minds.
RGG: Sort of following on from the question just past, but we gotta know; what was your introduction(s) to video games? Your first console? Any awesome memories from the days when sprites ruled the world?
Alex: Our introduction to video games started pretty early as kids. Our older brother had a NES and a Sega Master System so we were lucky enough to start off with both great systems. We've actually owned a lot of systems growing up and I still own most of them like the SNES, Turbografx, Gameboy, Neo-Geo, 3do and what not. One of our most fondest memories has to be us playing Super Mario Kart on the SNES we loved that game more then anything. We would even take it a step further and make our own cheesy go karts and race around the house haha.
To be this good took Retro..
RGG: Is there any hero worship your end from specific pioneers of the pixel art trade? Or is it just a wide range of loving for the era? Any main inspirations?
Alex: I wouldn't say it's a hero worship but one artist we do look up to that gave us motivation to start painting was 8bit Artist I used to buy a lot of Bead Sprites from him and now we're actually good friends! But we always played the typical games like Super Mario Bros 1-3, Zelda, Contra, Metroid, Sonic and thanks to those games it's what gave us our main motivation to do what we do today!
RGG: What’s your preferred method when it comes to adapting sprites from the screen to the canvas? Tools, brands…go nuts on a behind the scenes LET US KNOW! Granted, I may simply be interested by account of me being an amateur artist myself…
Alex: Haha well it's not much of a secret! Anyone can really do it, it's more of a how well can you do it kind of art. But I either just use a emulator to play through a game and take the scenes I find most interesting or if I can't find something I'll just make a scene from scratch using sprite sheets or I'll go one step further and just make my own custom sprites. It's really what you find to be easier for you or how creative you truly want to get.
RGG: Original NES black box/pixel art covers were the best of the consoles packaging offerings, amirite!?
Alex: Couldn't agree more! I actually owned the whole black box collection during my collecting days. There isn't a retro gamer alive that doesn't know what a black box game is! RGG: Opa-Opa or TwinBee!?Alex: Opa-Opa all the way! I owned it as a kid and still play Fantasy Zone today.
RGG: Have you had any ‘famous’ (read: people us retrobates will go “oh yeah, them!”) folk asked for some of your work?
Alex: Oh no not at all. We haven't hit that big of status yet. But hopefully one day!RGG: Andy Warhol endorsed the Amiga, but what’s your brand of choice when it comes to retro home computing?Alex: I can't say I did too much computing back then but we had a Tandy computer and I was always playing some D&D or Doom on that thing haha. I was the console kid back then.
RGG: Speaking of retro computers, how brilliantly fun is the ZX Spectrum’s colour palette? Garish, limited, wonderful…non? PS: Have you done any Speccy renditions yet?
Alex: I can't say I'm too much of a fan of the ZX Spectrum after watching many videos on it. It's definitely for someone with a specific taste in gaming haha. I honestly don't think we'll be doing any pieces based on that unless we got commissioned to do something. Looking at that colour scheme hurts the eyes!
Getting personal, fine paintbrush time
RGG: Five games, any system(s). Your choice. Choose wisely. [Desert Island discs, retro games edition!]
Alex: You made this question too easy. Contra, Golden Axe, Metal Slug 5, Super Mario Kart and Space Harrier! Of course there's more games but I can play these over and over and they never get old.
RGG: As it’s all the rage and a HOT TOPIC~! What are your thoughts on the horrendous redesigns of the likes of Pac-Man and Sonic for the contemporary kiddy crowd? Talking Ghostly Adventures and Sonic Boom. I mean seriously, America? You do such great things! Why you fail us!?
Alex: Haha don't blame America to much! I'm sure there's a lot more people at hand for this mistake than most. In my honest opinion, the only Pacman I know of is in the arcade and the only Sonic I know of is on the Genesis and that's it. All these redesigns and reboots are terrible if they didn't work the first 100 times what makes you think they're going to get any better the next 100 times? As a huge fan of Sega back in the day I think they need to let Sonic die out for a while and concentrate on the hundred other franchises that made Sega amazing. Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone, Phantasy Star, Altered Beast, Golden Axe and Shinobi that's to name a few.
RGG: Bringing the round of questioning to a close, here’s your opportunity to go social media and web presence crazy by whacking in suggested linkages. So go wild! Also, any shout-outs or additional comments you want to make?
Alex: Well first off I'd love to thank you guys at Retro Game Geeks for giving us the opportunity to have this awesome interview! And also to say if anyone is interested in our work to please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and visit our store on Etsy! We do all custom commissions so if you would love to have something made into a painting or statue please let us know. You can visit our pages at the links below.
RGG: Typically, the final question would be Mario or Sonic. But I’m sick to death of people choosing incorrectly (correct answer is always Sonic. ALWAYS). Thus, instead; I am changing things up right from under Megatron’s nose. I just roll that way. Thusly, the final question is thus: Pitfall Harry or Miner Willy?
Alex: I don't blame you I hear that question too much. But I'd choose Pitfall Harry for the win! I loved that game growing up.
RetroGameGeeks Final Thoughts
So there you go people, retro work from retro people for the retro community.
We can't praise these guys enough here at RGG because what they produce is as unique and classic as the games they base the work on. It has long been part of the scene to collect figures and plush dolls etc however all of this stuff is mass produced in a factory somewhere by companies which have in many cases no real ties to the subject matter, just faceless corporations making a buck.
What Gothelf do is special and it's because of the fact that they work to design commisions that every piece they produce has real meaning and allows more than just collectability value but gives the owner something that connects to their own childhood memories, it's one art form complimenting another to preserve better times.
You cannot help but look at the superb work in the pictures around this interview article and instantly feel nostalgia wash over you, it's hypnotic, unique and proudly states that retro culture is here and it's here to stay.