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ESA's Gallagher Talks Into The Pixel, Games As Art

Games are art "without a doubt," ESA president Michael Gallagher tells Gamasutra at the recent SXSW show, discussing the Into the Pixel art exhibit that the association co-curates.
Michael Gallagher, president of the Electronic Software Association, recently chatted with Gamasutra about the Into The Pixel art exhibit that his organization co-curates with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. "We’re excited to bring Into the Pixel here to South by Southwest, because this is one of the premier art shows in the country." In recent years, games are finding a place at the festival alongside independent movies, music and other interactive content. "Video games are art," says Gallagher. "Without a doubt...look at the creative energy. It belongs here with film, it belongs here with music." In expressing his delight about bringing the exposition to SXSW, Gallagher also speaks about the nature of art in games: it’s the first thing people see. "I think graphics are one of the powerful components that draw people in," Gallagher tells Gamasutra, saying that Into the Pixel is a visual manifestation, providing a single snapshot of what is a very fluid, ongoing, and moving art form. And on Sunday night, attendees of the SXSW Interactive conference were invited to a showcase hosted by ConceptArt.org and game outsourcing studio Massive Black that gave them another window into that moving form. Inside a multi-level venue, an audience of designers, creatives, entrepreneurs, hipsters, and web professionals watched in awe as game industry concept artists worked with Photoshop, creating masterpieces in real-time, and projected onto giant screens as music came from large outdoor speakers and drinks flowed. To get an outside perspective on Into the Pixel, and the greater role that games as art is filling during South by Southwest, Gamasutra questions one of the attendees peering intently at the exhibit. "It all starts as an idea in your mind," says Adam Ward, who does design work in Nashville, Tennessee. "Fine art, game art, it all starts as a concept.” [Photo credit: Christine Cahill]

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