Long Beach artist Dave Van Patten’s work is arguably one of the most prolific throughout the city: his surreal, sinewy figures and style can be found in children’s books, on coffeeshop walls, in publications, on cider bottles, on CD covers, in music videos…
And now, a video game.
Well, a video game music video.
After creating the colorful cover of Long Beach folk singer Alicia Murphy’s Towns, Cities and Little Ditties album, ideas began to spur.
”The little world [of the cover] is packed to the brim with homage for Monty Python and playful 60s surrealism along with a good handful of subtle, subversive themes—some stuff is even a little disturbing,” Van Patten said. “The fun part was disguising this complex world in a playful, innocent album cover.”
The depth of the cover led to Murphy coming up with idea of animating the images for a music video for the song “Tilt of the Earth” and reached out to another Long Beach artist/game programmer/animator/guru Gabotron (aka Gabriel Gaete) to bring the project to life. Eventually, the concept of a static music video shifted toward an interactive one, where users can playfully explore Van Patten’s world while Murphy’s music played.
”To give the game the depth it needed, Van Patten drew a whole new dimension of the quirky world we created for this project,” Murphy wrote in a blog post. “His buildings dance, psychedelic windows sparkle, and broccoli grows big enough to feed the whole world. Dave’s surreal style and unique perspective has become a powerful artistic force in Long Beach, not just through his many art exhibits, but through his public projects, such as a portrait series of Long Beach locals for the Long Beach Folk Revival, murals on walls and electrical boxes throughout the city, and album art for multiple Long Beach bands.”
It’s appropriate that users can explore the odd world while the song plays; after all, “Tilt of the Earth” is about facing life problems rather than turning one’s back—an impossibility in the game as you can’t be a passive explorer while exploring.
As for the future, Van Patten and Gabotron’s partnership looks promising.
“Gabotron and I have agreed to team up for similar future projects of Long Beach and Los Angeles bands,” Van Patten said.