Tetsuya Nomura

'Aya Brea' from 'Parasite Eve 2'

Tetsuya Nomura is a famous Japanese illustrator, director, game designer and concept artist who has worked on many of the major games produced by Square Enix. His character designs tend to have the same wacky style as him, with many decorative belts and zippers with no function and rather ‘wild’ hairstyles.

With a degree in Graphic Design, Nomura first started work as a debugger for ‘Final Fantasy IV’ but moved up the ranks until he replaced seasoned artist Yoshitaka Amano as character designer for ‘Final Fantasy VII’. He then moved on to be the character designer for ‘Final Fantasy VII’ through to ‘Final Fantasy X’ (but not ‘Final Fantasy IX’ – worked on by Amano instead) as well as being the director, character designer and concept designer for all of the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ series (obviously excluding the Disney owned characters as they are trademarked), He was also the character designer and illustrator for the ‘Parasite Eve’ series. He even redrew his old character designs from ‘Final Fantasy VII’ and directed the computer-generated film ‘Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children’.

Other games he has worked on are ‘The Bouncer’ (a rather obscure game with a very small fan base) as a character designer, the character designer and creative producer for ‘The World Ends With You’, character designer for ‘Dissidia’ and ‘Dissidia 012’, and field graphics designer for ‘Chrono Trigger’. He is currently working on ‘Kingdom Hearts III’.

You can see a list of his works at:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0634602/

And a biography at:

http://flaregamer.com/b2article.php?p=81&more=1

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Identity (Race & Gender) – ‘Resident Evil 5’ and the racism debate Part 2

Many ridiculous things have been stated in these blogs and to be honest if you knew the game history and storyline, you wouldn’t think it was racist. This is just one of the many silly things is this: “After all, in RE4, you spend the game shooting equally out-of-their-mind Spaniards. But, then, the Spanish haven’t been so egregiously misrepresented as blacks through the ages, have they? Not even close.” This blogger apparently thinks it’s perfectly fine to kill ‘zombie’ Spaniards because they haven’t had it that bad in the press. Isn’t this a form of racism in itself? Spanish people haven’t had it as bad as African people have?

The British Board of Film Classification deemed ‘Resident Evil 5’ not to be racist. The head of communications, Sue Clark commented, “We do take racism very seriously, but in this case there is no issue around racism.”

‘Resident Evil 5’ went on to sell over 5.3 million copies worldwide since launch and is the best-selling ‘Resident Evil’ game in the series.

Some Blog entries defending ‘Resident Evil 5’ and wondering where the racial anger came from are:

*http://lawofthegame.blogspot.com/2007/08/resident-evil-5-racism-issue.html

*http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=2543

*http://www.destructoid.com/resident-evil-5-is-so-racist-the-idiocy-begins-37196.phtml

*http://www.joystiq.com/2007/08/01/african-womens-blog-upset-over-resident-evil-5/

Some Blog entries against ‘Resident Evil 5’ and condemning such supposed racism are:

* http://ybpguide.com/2007/08/02/black-blog-under-assualt-by-fanboys/

*http://microscopiq.com/2007/07/blackface-goes-hd/

There would be more but it seems that most of these blog entries were deleted as when attempting to visit them the page reads ‘Page not found’.

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Identity (Race & Gender) – ‘Resident Evil 5’ and the racism debate

'Resident Evil 5' cover art showing the playable characters of the game

‘Resident Evil’ is a game series developed and created by Capcom that to date has been ongoing for 15 years. The fandom spans across the globe and the games run on all of the major consoles with a total of 19 games to date and more on the way. With films, books, comics and other merchandise for the large fan-base a new game is always a good thing. The launch trailer at E3 for ‘Resident Evil 5’ however was a bit of a mixed bag; the fans where happy to have a new game, continuing the main plotline and getting to play one of the main series protagonists. Some people weren’t so happy, there was a stream of angry bloggers stating that the game was racist and offensive.

I myself didn’t think the game was racist in any way, and that’s not because I am a ‘fanboy’ (because according to these bloggers, the only people who play video games are “all young, immature, uneducated white males”) all I saw was a trailer for a game I have followed since it started with a main character from the very first game going to the heart of the game’s plot; where the virus that caused all of the disaster in the games originated – a plant in Africa.

To be continued in Part 2

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Gertrude Hermes

Welcome to the avocets, Gertrude Hermes

English artist Gertrude Hermes worked mainly on woodcuts that where inspired by plants, animals and nature in general. She worked on sculptures as well as architecture and has had her work in many main art galleries around England.

Hermes first studied art at Beckenham School of Art but her interest in woodcuts and carving started during her time at Leon Underwood’s School of Painting and Sculpture during the mid 20s.

Between 1924 to the 1930s she focused mainly on woodcuts and founded the English Wood Engraving Society in 1925 with various other artists.

Her work was used to illustrate many books over her career, such as ‘The Complete Angler’ by Izaak Walton, ‘The Natural History of Seldom’ by Gilbert White that was unpublished, T.S. Eliot’s ‘Animula’ and the ‘Penguin Illustrated Classics’ series.

Notable architectural works are her mural for the British Pavilion at the World Fair in Paris that she worked on with her husband Blair Hughes-Stanton and a fountain carved from stone as well as a mosaic floor for the foyer of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.

Her love of nature as inspiration also followed through to her sculptures, her chosen materials ranging from bronze to wood and stone. Some of her smaller animal works also had practical functions as weather vanes, doorknockers, letterboxes and car mascots. Besides animals she also produced various sculptured portraits of musicians, writers and politicians. Two examples are the painter Prunella Clough and the poet Kathleen Raine. In all she created over fifty works.

You can read more about Gertrude Hermes at http://www.artfortune.com/gertrude-hermes/artistbiographies-129443/

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Barbara Kruger

Installation at New York’s Guild Hall, Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger is an American conceptual artist; her work is mainly black and white photographs collaged together with typed captions with red, black of white text bars that generally state something ironic to do with various topics such as religion, stereotypes and greed.

She first developed a liking to graphic design when she attended Syracuse University in 1964 and after a year she began studying at Parsons School of Design in New York. In 1966 she started working at Condé Nast Publications where she worked her way up the ladder from entry-level designer for Mademoiselle magazine to head designer in about a year. She then worked on layouts, book cover designs and picture editing for various publications.

Feeling her artwork wasn’t getting her feelings across well enough she moved on to teaching at the University of California for four years.

In 1977 she started taking and manipulating black and white photographs, adding her own captions. However in 1979 she moved from taking and manipulating her own photographs to use found images, usually from American media, but still adding her own captions to get various points across either about the government or American culture.

She has produced at least 43 catchy captioned artworks, some of which have been sold on bags, key rings, T-shirts and other merchandise that Kruger herself governs.

You can read through her full biography at http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/feminist/Barbara-Kruger.html

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Sho-u Tajima

Galerians A Head, Sho-u Tajima

Anime character designer and manga illustrator Sho-u Tajima has worked on many projects over the years, most often seemingly obscure but end up with quite a following. His character designs for the CGI OVA film ‘Galerians: Rion’ where compiled in the book ‘Galerians A Head’ and are beautifully drawn rather soft styled illustrations which is a stark contrast to his manga illustrations that are all hard lines black ink solid tone.

He has worked on a variety of projects over the years such as ‘Multiple Personality Detective Psycho’ a manga about a detective that has a psychotic split personality, another manga entitled ‘Madara’, ‘Bitch’s Life’ an erotic art book that he worked on with various other artists, and he produced character art for the anime ‘Kai Doh Maru’.

His work was also featured in the blockbuster film ‘Kill Bill’, the short but captivating animated sequence ‘Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren’ (by far one of the best parts of the film in my opinion).

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Beatrix Potter

Hunca Munca, The Tale of Two Bad Mice, Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was the illustrator and author of some of the most famous British children’s books to date. She illustrated all 23 of her ‘The tale of’ children’s books; the most famous of which would be ‘The tale of Peter Rabbit’ which she self published after having been turned down by six publishers as the pictures weren’t in colour (colour being rather popular at the time but made for rather expensive books. A good thing for the publishers but it meant that poorer children wouldn’t be able to read her story). Her stories were of the antics of various house pets and wildlife that she spent most of her childhood studying and drawing first-hand. While cutesy, her tales have no real moral or lesson to teach; they have been described as “pretty close to a series of immoral tales” by Humphrey Carpenter which is true in most ways as her tales tend to be misadventures of naughty animals, focusing mainly on the mishaps and not on the consequences or punishment. Most people can say that they know at least one of Beatrix Potter’s characters or stories, the illustrations are so beautifully drawn and stay with you right trough to your adult life. My favorite was always ‘The Tale of Two Bad Mice’. I suggest visiting the official Beatrix Potter website at http://www.peterrabbit.com/home.asp because there is so much more fascinating information on her that I can’t cover with this blog.

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