This summer, gamers have gotta go fast if they want to enjoy the rare retro-inspired creations of Adam Shub, also known as Squarepainter. Recognized for his pixel paintings that bring classic video game scenes and characters to life, Shub has found a way to merge fine art and pop culture in the style of a modern-day Andy Warhol. His handcrafted works featuring iconic characters from Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Streets of Rage, Mega Man, and more are the star attractions at the latest show from Trigonal Gallery <- Enter to see the complete list of works).
Trigonal, an innovative gallery showcasing emerging artists and revolutionary digital works, is proud to present Shub’s newest and most notable pieces in this exhibition. Artworks now available on Artsy include the Street Fighter-Hadoken, Streets of Rage Showdown and You Are a Tetris Master, based on the NES game’s cutscene where Nintendo’s most beloved characters congratulate the winner. Serious art collectors and game enthusiasts should particularly note the exhibition’s crown jewel, Legend of the Dragon Ninja. Portrayed on a 24 x 48-inch canvas are a montage of cut scenes from NES’s Ninja Gaiden, the first prominent NES game in history to have cinematic cutscenes. Shub’s tribute to landmark gameplay is a groundbreaker in its own right, a prize for those seeking to add pop culture to their high art repertoire.
The physical show titled GAME ON: The Pixel Paintings of Adam Shub, opens to the general public July 14th and runs until August 9th at Strictly CBD in Jersey City, New Jersey. Strictly CBD, founded by Jeffrey Devine, is one of New Jersey’s most pioneering CBD and hemp retail stores.
“I want to craft the best possible art I can and share it with anyone who loves retro games,” Shub says. “Getting more involved in the retro gaming scene has inspired me to capture the moments from video games that we all remember.”
Gamers may be familiar with Shub from the cult favorite YouTube series Living in 8 Bits, and his collaborations with the online community Retroware TV. What many may not realize is the painstaking effort the artist puts into his creations; he hand-grids every pixel onto the canvas and can spend months on a detailed scene. His favorite game of all time is Earthbound for the SNES system, and he often produces parodies or mashups inspired by the series’ universe that don’t actually exist within the games themselves.
Shub’s talent for making the nostalgic new extends to his music career as the bassist for the rock group Rex Viper Band. “My band’s music is 80s covers mixed with video game music, so [each craft informs the other] very much,” he comments. “All the other guys in the band come from the gaming scene too, so there’s a whole lot of different inspirations going into our songs. With almost every song we’ve put out, I’ve been inspired to create a piece from it.”
With an indie gaming boom paying homage to retro titles and nostalgic game culture boosted by last year’s quarantine conditions, the time is now right to celebrate artists like Shub who are giving these pop symbols the power to cut across industries and generations for a strong, positive message. We all want to save the world and have fun doing it. Game on.
Ready for the next level? Trigonal’s Adam Shub show runs July 14-August 9 at Strictly CBD (394 Communipaw Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey 07304) and is available digitally on Artsy. Learn more at https://www.artsy.net/trigonal or @TrigonalGallery on social media.