The Sonic the Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Collection

WINTER 2016

COLLECTION FOREWORD We are proud to present a collection of limited edition artworks to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of one of the most iconic video game characters: Sonic the Hedgehog. Four of our critically acclaimed contemporary artists have come together to produce a body of fine art inspired by the legacy and history of Sonic the Hedgehog, with each piece accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, hand signed by Naoto Ohshima, one of the founding members and designers of the original Sonic franchise. The collection pays homage to one of the most influential characters to have dominated the video game industry over the last quarter of a century. Video games have weathered the test of time admirably, more relevant today than ever before, transcending age, gender and culture. No other digital medium has so successfully captured the imagination and inspired so many people. Driven by modern society’s obsession with media and role models, video game characters now stand alongside sports and film celebrities in popularity and influence. They have their own TV shows, movies, comic books,

music albums and theme parks, something unheard of only fifty years ago, at the start of the home computer revolution. Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game franchise created and produced by SEGA®. The protagonist of the series is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog named Sonic, whose peaceful life with his friends, Tails, Amy and Knuckles, is interrupted by the series’ main antagonist, Dr. Eggman, attempting to destroy Sonic and to acquire the powerful Chaos Emeralds. The first game in the series, released in 1991, was conceived by SEGA’s Sonic Team division and was a landmark success that inspired sequels and transformed SEGA into a leading video game company during the 16-bit era. This new collection celebrates the iconic design and cultural significance of one of the world’s greatest video game characters. Sonic has inspired and revolutionised video gaming, a medium as critically essential to modern culture, and as important and relevant, as traditional art centuries before. Timeless and classic yet always modern, Sonic will continue to innovate and inspire new generations for many years to come.

My children were huge fans of Sonic; I remember plenty of discussions about who would be Sonic and who would be Tails.

CRAIG DAVISON

BIOGRAPHY:

[B.1965, Sheffield] Craig Davison has enjoyed drawing for as long as he can remember and art was his favourite subject at school. In the late 80’s he worked as a cartoonist, working on pre-school comics, the style of which has helped inspire his instantly recognisable fine art pieces. Craig Davison began his artistic career at a computer games company as an animator and games designer, where he began sculpting reference figures for 3D animation. In 2007 he entered a contest

held by Washington Green. Craig finished in the top three. That was it, the life of an artist beckoned! Craig takes inspiration from many artists. Amongst them are: the comic book artist Mike Mignola; the simplistic still characters of Yoshitomo Nara; the energy of Goya and the superb illustrations of N.C. Wyeth. Craig also cites his childhood as the biggest source of inspiration for his work. He tries to capture the endless summer holidays spent out on his bike with friends, rescuing Mexican villages from bandits!

INSIGHT & INSPIRATION:

My children were huge fans of Sonic; I remember plenty of discussions about who would be Sonic and who would be Tails. I was very happy to be involved in this collaboration and excited at all the possibilities that Sonic’s world offers. I began my career in art as a cartoonist, and then worked in computer game animation in the early nineties, so this project suited me down to the ground. It was great to combine my cartooning background with oil painting. I used images of the first few Sonic

games as a starting point, as I wanted the ideas to come directly from the games, not from any previous illustrations. My ideas soon began to flow readily - if anything I had to limit the number of sketches I produced. The most challenging aspect was to make sure that I did Sonic justice. When I worked in videogames, Sonic was the benchmark of a great game; the main reason being that he was a well- designed, quirky character. That’s why, in my opinion, 25 years later the pioneering blue hedgehog is still so popular.

EYES ON THE PRIZE Limited Edition Canvas on Board | 30 x 12” | Edition of 125 | £450.00

BORN TO RUN Limited Edition Giclée on Paper | 16 x 10¾” | Edition of 250 | £250.00 Limited Edition Canvas on Board | 24 x 16” | Edition of 125 | £425.00 (Also available as part of the 25th Anniversary portfolio)

NOT THE BOSS OF ME! Limited Edition Canvas on Board | 28 x 17” | Edition of 125 | £550.00

The Sonic game is a brilliantly formulaic balance that will continue to win fans as long as Sonic is in action.

KEITH MAIDEN

BIOGRAPHY:

[B.1962, Wolverhampton] After turning down a chance to study at art college, figurative artist Keith Maiden rediscovered his passion and talent for painting three years ago. Born in Wolverhampton, Keith Maiden turned down the opportunity to attend art college at 16 in favour of earning a living to help his parents. He began his career as a shop fitter and factory worker, but it was on visiting a local printers to have his sketches photocopied that he was offered a job as a graphic designer. Keith went on to work as a designer for international retail brands. However, it was a mere three years ago, following a move from London to Shropshire that he picked up a pencil and sketchpad

for the first time in 20 years. Keith decided to sell his new work at a local market and word started to spread about his art, which earned him much success and the rest, as they say, is history. Keith’s works are built up in layers, seven or eight in total, which he starts by creating light areas in white acrylic, using a brush, pallet knife and his fingers. He then adds layer upon layer of graphite, acrylic, enamel and then pastel. Keith explains how his work is, “very raw, which is deliberate; I am not after perfection or realism. I paint from the heart, and strive for emotion and feeling in my work”. His technical ability and natural sensitivity show in his depiction of the feminine form, effortlessly creating depth above and beyond the surface.

I remember first playing Sonic the Hedgehog when I was 28 years old…and loving it! Little did I know back then, that fast-forward more years than I care to admit, and I would have a 21 year old son who also loves playing it to this very day. I was the envy of all my friends when I undertook this project. Let’s face it…there aren’t too many jobs that would allow for an assignment as fun and cool as this one! Every bit of the research, planning and sketching phase was enjoyable; so much so that I feel reluctant even to refer to this as ‘work’. I wasn’t sure initially that my style of work INSIGHT & INSPIRATION:

would do Sonic justice, but I’m thrilled with the end result. I tried to stay true to the characterisation of Sonic, with a few subtle twists to incorporate various symbols and elements from the game. I think these pieces work well because they’ve given Sonic and his friends an edgier look, making it feel very contemporary and current. The Sonic game is a brilliantly formulaic balance that will continue to win fans as long as Sonic is in action. It has the good guys, the bad guys, and everyone secretly wants to be one of the characters! It’s visually stunning, whilst being exciting and challenging in equal measure. The ultimate recipe for success.

SHADOW’S HAND Limited Edition Canvas on Board | 24 x 19” | Edition of 125 | £535.00

THIS IS HOW I ROLL Limited Edition Giclée on Paper | 15¾ x 10¾” | Edition of 250 | £250.00 Limited Edition Canvas on Board | 24 x 20” | Edition of 125 | £550.00 (Also available as part of the 25th Anniversary portfolio)

I soon found that my dripped painterly style lends itself to the speed and rapid movement that his character exudes. “

PAUL KENTON

BIOGRAPHY:

[B.1968, Derby] A pivotal moment in the young Paul Kenton’s life was a move from his birthplace in Derby to the West Country when he was eight years old. As a teenager he learnt to surf on the wild beaches of North Devon. Now settled in Ilfracombe with his Brazilian partner, Alexandra and two young daughters, Paul still surfs when he’s not in the studio or enjoying the hectic pandemonium of family life. Paul showed an interest in painting from an early age; while others wanted to be doctors or pilots he clearly remembers telling a friend that he wanted to be an artist. This was cemented when, at the tender age of twelve, he won a national colouring competition - winning a prized set

of paints. He continued to draw and paint all through school becoming proficient in watercolour but was disappointed not to be awarded a place at art college due to his English grades. In 1995, supported by a grant from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, he took the plunge and started to paint full-time and began exhibiting. Working in acrylic and oils he took inspiration from his worldwide travels; the cityscapes, cafes, harbours, bridges and seascapes. Paul’s style has evolved into a free- flowing fusion of various media, capturing the essence of the location, creating an atmosphere with free shapes, dripped lines and colour.

This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Sonic the Hedgehog, everyone’s favourite famous gaming icon who remains as relevant today as he was 25 years ago!   When asked to be part of this collaborative project to celebrate the blue speedster’s 25th anniversary, ideas were instantly flowing. How was I going to capture the essence of Sonic and his character through my style of art?  Pen in hand, I was compelled to start sketching and note-taking straight away. To me, the INSIGHT & INSPIRATION:

significance of associating both the classic pixilated Sonic and the modern Sonic of today was paramount. I aimed to portray the development of the character over the years and to emphasise how the iconic demeanour has stayed renowned. I soon found that my dripped painterly style lends itself to the speed and rapid movement that his character exudes. Splashes of pigment, fluid lines and bold colour add to the energy within the composition and, I hope, do justice to the legend that is Sonic!

WATCH OUT Limited Edition Giclée on Paper | 17½ x 10½” | Edition of 250 | £250.00 Limited Edition Boxed Canvas | 36 x 27” | Edition of 125 | £795.00 (Also available as part of the 25th Anniversary portfolio)

Working on such an iconic brand, with such a well-loved character, has been a great thrill. “

ROBERT OXLEY

BIOGRAPHY:

[B.1972, Stockport] Living in Stockport, Greater Manchester, Robert Oxley is a self-taught artist specialising in low brow pop surrealism. For as long as he can remember, Robert Oxley has loved painting. He learnt early on that he could impress others with his art when one of his drawings was published in a book called ‘Getting Ready For School’ which was sent to nursery children all over the world. As he grew a little older, his work was influenced by his love of horror movies and rock music, and he would spend all his time drawing monsters and copying album covers. Robert developed a passion for wildlife, birds and natural history and, longing to be a zookeeper, he began to make and paint I remember back in 1991 when Sonic came out when I was 20 years old, some friends of mine were big gamers and bought the Mega Drive along with a Sonic the Hedgehog game. I remember playing it for hours and hours, so much so that I once had a dream where I was Sonic and I was leaping over the ocean, bouncing high over obstacles, while Pearl Jam’s song Deep played… I still to this day can’t listen to that song without thinking about Sonic the Hedgehog. I was super excited to be part of this collaboration, and at once had a vision of how I wanted to represent Sonic in my style. I found my only constraint was having to rein in my technique a little to keep the form of Sonic true to his character, without distorting his appearance. Being known for depictions of creatures from the animal kingdom, I felt my style really fits for Sonic. His character portrait, with his gaze facing forward, was a basis for me to give Sonic a surreal look whilst enabling me to retain the crucial theme of fun in my work. INSIGHT & INSPIRATION:

dioramas for imaginary zoos. At around 12 years old, he accepted a challenge from his grandfather to draw all the birds in an illustrated book of birds they both loved, and was a little surprised when his grandfather then arranged an exhibition of them at his work! Using acrylic on canvas, the approach to Robert’s work is all about being in the moment, the act of making the work and giving himself over to the process and the chemistry which he has nurtured over the years. He wants the work to look as if it was made quickly and loosely but on inspection every brushstroke is considered and painted meticulously; something which appears loose and free but in fact is complex which is what nature is all about. Working on such an iconic brand, with such a well-loved character, has been a great thrill. Staying true to the SEGA legacy, and being so keenly aware of the legions of passionate fans that I want to love my work, were the only faltering moments I experienced during the creative process. Realising Sonic in my own style, and seeing the image reveal itself to me as I worked, has been a real treat. Sonic has a hugely loyal fan base worldwide; new characters and constant reinvention have kept Sonic alive and brought in new fans of every generation. He’s now such an established figure in pop culture, and the games are as playable and immersive as ever. I mean, who doesn’t want to run fast and collect gold rings? Having an 11 year old son enables me to have family fun time playing Sonic, we actually have competitions over Christmas which is a constant source of competitive hilarity!

SONIC Limited Edition Boxed Canvas | 36 x 36” | Edition of 125 | £995.00

SPEED OF SOUND Limited Edition Giclée on Paper | 10 x 18” | Edition of 250 | £250.00 Limited Edition Boxed Canvas | 22 x 44” | Edition of 125 | £850.00 (Also available as part of the 25th Anniversary portfolio)

STILL UNSTOPPABLE THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY PORTFOLIO This portfolio has been carefully curated to represent the very best of Sonic the Hedgehog through four very distinct artistic interpretations from some of the UK’s most popular contemporary artists. Comprised of four titles that capture the movement and energy of Sonic, this portfolio acts as a visual time capsule in both paying homage to his heritage and showing the forward-thinking direction of the brand. Showing Sonic in his instantly recognisable iconic poses, the artists have succeeded in bridging his evolution from 2D to 3D and illustrating the many facets of his personality, showing Sonic as triumphant, mischievous and doggedly determined. The images selected work in harmony to bring to life the character that has held the interest and attention of the videogaming community for the last 25 years, and shows no sign of slowing down… Each limited Giclée on paper edition is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, hand signed by Naoto Ohshima, whose international gaming industry pedigree includes the notable accolade of being a founding designer of the Sonic franchise. Beautifully presented in a branded portfolio, offset with a foiled logo in silver – the traditional hallmark of a 25th anniversary – this is the ultimate commemorative collection.

BORN TO RUN / CRAIG DAVISON

THIS IS HOW I ROLL / KEITH MAIDEN

SPEED OF SOUND / ROBERT OXLEY

WATCH OUT / PAUL KENTON

STILL UNSTOPPABLE THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY PORTFOLIO

Unframed Giclée on Paper | 10¾ x 15¾” (x4 avg paper size) | £495.00 Framed Giclée on Paper | 21 x 28” (x4 avg framed size) | £950.00

NAOTO OHSHIMA

BIOGRAPHY:

Naoto Ohshima is a Japanese game creator and character designer born on February 26th, 1964, and best known for his design of Sonic the Hedgehog, Dr. Eggman and Amy Rose. Ohshima graduated from the Faculty of Design at Kyoto Seika University in 1986 and worked for St. Thomas advertising agency before joining SEGA ® in May 1987. After leaving the Sonic Team, Ohshima, together with ex-SEGA producer and project manager Yoji Ishii, established an independent game company, Artoon, in 1999, which was later merged into parent company AQ Interactive, Inc., of which Ohshima became the director and operating officer in 2008.

Ohshima went on to become the Executive Vice President of Arzest Corporation, founded in 2010, which he established together with Yoji Ishii.

Production History • Phantasy Star™ – Enemy character design • Phantasy Star™ 2 – Graphic design • Sonic the Hedgehog • Sonic CD – Director

• Chaotix™ – Game design • NiGHTS into Dreams™… – Director • Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams™ – Director

The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2016. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.

© SEGA. SEGA, the SEGA logo and SONIC THE HEDGEHOG are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SEGA Holdings Co., Ltd. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. SEGA is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are property of their respective owners.

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