Portfolio - April 2010 - Unleashed: The Art of Naughty Dog

When you mention the name Naughty Dog, what comes to mind is a range of imagery—from the cartoon look of Crash Bandicoot and anime look of Jak and Daxter, to the painterly style and graphically detailed look of the widely popular Uncharted and Uncharted 2. The talent of the artists behind those highly acclaimed titles is as diversified in genre and medium as the aesthetics of the game art they create. Collectively, they produce amazing works admired throughout the computer game industry. Individually, they are artisans, pursuing their own passion outside of the work arena with the same intensity and creativity they illustrate daily at their desk.

Now, the public has the opportunity to see the scope of their talent that transcends the video game arena, as a number of these Naughty Dog colleagues display their art at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects’ on-campus gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibit features approximately 30 pieces, which range from traditional and digital sculpture, to photography, to matte paintings, and more.

“Naughty Dog obviously has been around for many years and has always been a top game studio. The quality and caliber of the work they are doing as a team just gets higher and higher,” says Gnomon founder Alex Alvarez. “Now we get to see their personal art, who they are as individuals.” The gallery artwork is strictly personal work, he adds, though many continue to do fantasy art that has a fantastical, sci-fi feel and vibe—some more so than others.

Gnomon opened its gallery a few years ago, enabling a number of talented folks—many who lecture and teach at the school or work on DVDs for The Gnomon Workshop—to display their works. Most galleries in Los Angeles focus on fine art, leaving the entertainment artists with few available venues. “To me, the artists we know who are focused on games and entertainment are among the most talented in the world, and I think many others feel the same way,” says Alvarez. “That is why we decided to put this gallery together.”

Former student Melissa Altobello, now at Naughty Dog, had approached Alvarez about featuring pieces from her colleagues at the school. “I think it is inspiring for the students to see this caliber of artwork that the professionals are doing. It gives them a target and shows them why they are at the school,” he says.