Emily Sullivan











Emily Sullivan

Dominick and Elizabeth Labino Art and Technology Award - Nominee


Memories of Summer's End

Description of Work

Memories of Summer's End - Game Boy game - Not for Sale

Artist's Statement

Summer’s End is a Game Boy game that explores the fragility of memory. The player is a timid child who experiences the excitement and wonder of their family’s favorite vacation spot, where different events take on fantastical and exaggerated proportions. An aspect of memory loss explored in the game is the way memories once clear to us, disintegrate over time. Memories we do not access frequently are lost, and minor details are forgotten.

Each level of the game is a portion of the characters’ vacation; the quests within each level push forward the concept of memory loss. By observing character interactions, the player is reminded that memory can be unreliable; environments shift and deteriorate, and details are forgotten in conversations with the characters. The game begins to take on a fantastical nature when the wildlife aids the player through their quests. The Game Boy is a symbol of cultural nostalgia for my generation, and, by designing the game for this device, the concept of memory and nostalgia is made tangible. Our memories are altered easily and unconsciously, so at times we are unable to distinguish our memories from the reality of what took place, and this game is an examination of that idea.

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My body of work often focuses on ordinary things that are combined with fantasy elements. My artwork takes on many forms, including digital paintings, poster designs, animations, and interactive media and games. Style plays an important role in each of my pieces, setting the tone of the narrative that is presented.

Stylistically, I am influenced by Pop Art, Art Nouveau, and psychedelic design. I use Pop Art and psychedelic design’s vibrant colors in my pieces to communicate the tone of the work. For example, the bright pinks, blues, and purples in my digital painting, Watching / Being Watched, create a feeling of tension and unease. My illustrations also emulate the flowing, calligraphic lines of the Art Nouveau movement and of the psychedelic graphic design of the 60s. This style is used in my digital painting, The Lynx, to illustrate light reflecting off of the water, and in my poster design, Grimes Concert Poster, in the singer’s hair.

In Tranquil Fields, an animated environment, the pixelated style reflects early video game art and thus induces a sense of nostalgia. The warm color scheme in this animation signifies the end of the day, and suggests that a time we remember fondly, has come to an end. Watching / Being Watched features a cityscape that addresses self-doubt and anxiety. This composition uses a dark color palette and images of eyes plastered on every surface of the environment, all directed towards the viewer. The online narrative, Living in Repetition, places the viewer in a never-ending cycle of daily chores. A graphic style and muted color palette shows both the comfort and dread in this routine.

Through color and style, I offer context to the narratives within my work. While the subjects of my work may seem mundane, I like to show that appreciable moments can still be found within those narratives by exaggerating and adding otherworldly elements to them.

Artist's Portfolio Site

Artist's Instagram Site

If you wish to purchase any of these pieces, please contact the gallery director, Jacqueline Nathan (jnathan@bgsu.edu.)

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