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How a bunch of ‘Adventure Time’ fans pulled off the greatest art exhibit ever
Mix a group of pro World of Warcraft artists with Adventure Time fandom and the results are amazing.
What do you get when you combine Adventure Time, World of Warcraft, a bunch of professional video game artists who really like sci-fi and Plan 9 from Outer Space?
Only the coolest art exhibit ever.
Plan 9 From Lumpy Space is the name of this awesome art show, which opened Feb. 7 at the new Santa Ana art gallery Photonic Playground. The exhibit features art from the White Out Art Collective, a group of professional video game industry artists, many of whom work for Blizzard.
“It’s like we’re all dreaming the show together. The longer it runs the deeper those threads weave until we have trouble separating reality from Ooo.”
When they’re not creating designs for World of Warcraft, the group bonds over their love of art. Founder Kevin Maginnis told the Daily Dot that though the group began among his Blizzard coworkers, “I try to open it to any talent level and profession. Not just artists by trade by artists by hobby.”
The Photonic Playground aims to bring digital art into real-life spaces, and they couldn’t have picked a better subject than the theme of mixing Adventure Time fanart with science fiction and fantasy landscapes. The show was their most popular ever, so successful they’re doing an encore showing on March 7.
It’s easy to see why. The exhibit featured art and fanart that fused the fun-loving, often scary world of Adventure Time with a range of sci-fi ideas and crossovers ranging from the whimsical to the frightening:
Maginnis shared his piece for the exhibit with the Daily Dot—an amazing sci-fi crossover between Adventure Time and hardcore dystopia Judge Dredd.
Maginnis is a self-described artist, game vet, father, and husband. But after this week the Internet may know him as one of the most badass Adventure Time fans around. Not only did Maginnis organize the exhibit, but he showed up at the opening event wearing the world’s greatest battle jacket—a leather number emblazoned with fearsome Adventure Time nemesis, the Rat King. The Rat King appears in the episode “Little Brother,” and quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares—as you can see from the finished product.
Maginnis originally got the idea for the jacket while attending an ’80s hairband party. “The rat king was such a metal design, made with living rats, spewing magic vomit fog and those rad magical teeth were killer!” he told us. He shared his detailed progress in handpainting and stenciling the leather jacket on Reddit‘s Adventure Time subreddit. You can see the whole process there.
Maginnis said that Adventure Time had become incredibly important to his whole family.
I’ve been watching AT before our first kid was born. The show for me is this beautiful, fully realized but open universe where anything can happen. As you watch the show you grow with it, it’s like we’re all dreaming it together. The characters that appear become part of the tapestry of our collective experience. The longer the show runs the deeper those threads weave until we have trouble separating reality from Ooo. Not the reality of our personal lives but the suggested former reality, pre-Mushroom War of Finn’s universe.
After our daughter was born and old enough to start watching Adventure time it became one of my favorite traditions. It’s an empowering and imaginative show. It doesn’t shy from harder subjects and treats women with respect. Our house is covered with Adventure time boomboxes, nesting dolls, stuffed animals, prints and so on. My fault mostly:)
Sounds like a pretty great vice to have.
The Photonic Playground is only open once a month, in conjunction with the monthly Santa Ana Art Walk. But don’t be sad if you missed it—Plan 9 from Lumpy Space will be back next month for a final show. And Maginnis says White Out will be partnering with the gallery on a new show in the fall.
We have no idea how they’ll top Finn and Jake fighting aliens in space, but we can’t wait to see the results.
Art by Kevin Maginnis
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.