Nintendo Generation: Vancouver Art Exhibit Taps Into Gen Y Nostalgia

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NINTENDO GENERATION
"Glass Joe" is part of "The Nintendo Exhibition" at the East Van Studios in Vancouver. (Michael Miller) | Michael Miller

If Andy Warhol could paint a soup can and call it art, why can't Michael Miller paint Super Mario and hang him in a gallery?

The Abbotsford-raised artist has mounted "The Nintendo Generation," an exhibit that taps into Gen Y nostalgia with 50 artworks depicting popular game characters from the '80s and '90s.

Miller, who goes by the artist name "Mikey," grew up playing Nintendo games such as Super Mario Bros. and felt a deep nostalgia any time he turned on his 8-bit system.

"All through my years, it was a form of escapism," he tells The Huffington Post B.C. "I've just found that a lot of people from this sort of Nintendo generation can relate to that."

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Miller, 23, worked on his project for about a year. He played the games and captured the images by taking a magnifying glass to the characters.

He then separated colours into different layers, make stencils and trace them on to canvasses using spray paint -- all while listening to the "Mega Man 3" soundtrack to immerse himself in the art.

The exhibit features characters from games such as Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, Earthbound and Dr. Mario.

But "The Nintendo Generation" at the East Van Studios which runs until Oct. 27 has more than just art. Miller has also assembled a "'90s living room" installation at the gallery, complete with NES system, coffee table, cathode ray tube TV and a server handing out Jumbo Freezies.

So just like kids did 20 years ago, you too can get jacked up on sugar and play all day.

"I wanted to really comment on taste, touch, tactile and visual and just give a whole environment of what this whole 'Nintendo generation' was about," Miller says.

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