Stephan Reese, Senior Producer at Bungie, has been a key player in Interactive Art Collection, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing historic materials and original art from the gaming industry. Established in 2021, Interactive Art Collection has curated the largest known collection of original art and production materials from Nintendo Power Magazine. Their most recent exhibition, titled “Art of Nintendo Power,” showcased nearly 400 artifacts and was held at PAX West 2023 in Seattle.
One of the highlights of the exhibition was Kirby’s Adventure, featuring panels by Kevin Brockschmidt, renowned for his work on Magic: The Gathering. Reese praised Brockschmidt’s talent and noted that many artists who worked for Nintendo Power also contributed as contract artists. Another notable piece was Itchy and Scratchy, attributed to Bill Morrison but signed by Matt Groening. Reese explained that Groening often added his name to Simpson-related artworks.
The exhibition also displayed the original artwork for Super C, painted over a photograph by Lee MacLeod. MacLeod skillfully incorporated additional elements into the composition. Star Fox, credited to American artist David Harto, showcased the meticulous process of creating pencil sketches, stencils, and painting using frisket tape. Harto’s contributions extended to Super Mario Kart and Darkwing Duck, each with its own unique technique.
A fascinating feature of the exhibition was the collection of Nintendo Power envelopes and letters, all created by children and acquired from a former Nintendo employee. These pieces were salvaged from a Redmond building before its demolition in 2010. Additionally, the exhibition showcased artwork from The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse by the late artist Dan McGowan, who was praised for his meticulous attention to detail.
For Japanese origin art, the exhibition presented Nintendo Power “Top” lists attributed to an artist named Orange Nakamura. Reese clarified that the artist often worked under a pseudonym, adding an air of mystery to their identity. Another significant artwork was Howard and Nester, created by Shuji Imai, the first artist to illustrate the well-known characters. Imai’s unique technique involved directly drawing the English alphabet onto the pages.
The exhibition also featured a Super Mario Bros. 3 clay model, demonstrating the early use of polymer clay as a medium for creating solid pieces. Additionally, visitors had the chance to see the original Mario Mascot costume, an iconic item from Nintendo’s history.
The Art of Nintendo Power exhibition provided a nostalgic journey for gaming enthusiasts, showcasing the creativity and craftsmanship behind beloved characters and games. It highlighted the dedication of Interactive Art Collection in preserving and sharing the history of the gaming industry.