Writing an Artist Statement

Posted by aBethke on Monday Oct 21, 2013 Under Randomness and Ramblings

I recently had to go through the exercise of writing an Artist Statement as part of a funding application I’m working on for a grant. I’ve never had to do this style of writing before and found the whole experience weird and a bit pretentious. Usually Andrew and I lament any time we have to write bios and find the ordeal painful and bizarre in that way that talking about yourself in the third person always can be. Artist statements as I quickly learned are an entirely different sort of beast. Anyways, I slogged through it after putting some thought into my game designs for Seraph and Brother Nature. Here’s what I came up with XD

Brother Nature
This project was a collaboration between myself and my mother and was developed over a weekend at the Mother, May I game jam hosted by the Dames Making Games organization. For this project we wanted to play with themes around creation and life, male vs female and organic vs constructed.

The concept for the game was that Mother Nature has many daughters but a single son. Usually the daughters spread life but Brother asks, ‘Mother, May I?’. Users play as Brother controlling seeds that they must navigate past various obstacles like stars and asteroids to bring rocky barren planets to life.

The art style and presentation of the assets to the user were particularly important in this game as they were the main reinforcement of the themes that we were exploring. The dead planets were presented in a very washed out grey to convey a sense of barrenness and death with revived planets conversely in vibrant colour and patterns.

The story concept for the game was largely taken from the fact that I was making this game with my mother for a game jam event hosted on Mother’s Day weekend and as such it seemed a very natural extension to make a game about Mother Nature and her son. Extending further from that idea we wanted the art style to really reflect the male vs female theme and that our character was the only son of Mother Nature and to that end we designed the revived planets with very inorganic fractal and geometric patterns in mind.

Play Brother Nature

Seraph
Based on the Experimental Gameplay Project winner “Star Fall”, Seraph is a game about a wish-born falling star soaring across a surreal landscape collecting dreams and avoiding terrible nightmares. As you hurtle through the sky faster and faster, slow down time to help navigate the crowded dreamscape. Keep your falling star burning as long as you can by gathering the blue-tinted Lucid Dreams to strike back and cleanse nightmares.

Seraph was a game with a simple core mechanic that tried to subtly look at themes of life/death, speed vs control and balance. Players start as a brilliant star full of life that quickly drains away if they do nothing. Touching dreams restores life to the star and increases the movement speed while hitting nightmares drains the star and slows it down. The player is presented with a basic problem of live and soar through the landscape at the cost of maneuverability or slow down enough to control your movement but at the same time move ever closer to dying. It was through this core mechanic that the player is forced to try to balance their actions.

The star itself is a metaphor for each of our lives. We start vibrant and pure, full of energy and as we progress through life we slowly drain away while doing what we can to find the balance between joy and adversity and striving to keep living for as long as we can. In life as in Seraph it is inevitably impossible to exist forever no matter how hard we struggle and Seraph tries to hint at this through its gameplay.

iOS – App Store
YouTube Trailer:

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