Last year around this time, I was a month into developing CUTS and too focused to do much of anything else. This year, I literally dozed off and missed the opportunity to partake in PAX Seattle AGAIN, which apparently, sold out in about three minutes. As I drove by sneering at the lanyards and fogged glasses of the triumphant, it made me remember an artist I met back in April at the Beyond Thunderdome Vol.3 event. Surrounded by streetwear brands and hiphop decor, we spotted Amanda Pool who was sitting at a table displaying her bead art and several different knickknacks.
There were key-chain pendants shaped like the cases of classic video games, beaded replications of old school cartoons and symbols, pins and buttons that decorated shelves with nostalgia– and had all been modified into shape, size, and design by Amanda. While most of it is simply brilliant by the nature of its niche, Amanda’s practice of what is known as Perler Beading portray images from a Nintendo and Celebrity catalog to a vivid T.
The words Final Fantasy have been in my blood since VII dropped in ’97. I fell in love with that forward progression through the modern releases, and then the regression into playing games released before my time. Finishing Crono Cross only to play Chrono Trigger. Out of the PS and into the ZSNES. Zombies Ate My Neighbors and Earthbound. Hell, I’ve dug into Emuparadise and downloaded shit I’ve never heard of and had a great time…
That was the feeling I got walking up and seeing some of the pieces Amanda had on display. It really glanced into the pathways of an age I rarely visit. A passion I only celebrate when DOTA is in town, or PAX is afoot. From the subjects she recreates, it is apparent the artwork comes from a deeply rooted appreciation of the gaming arts and culture.
No matter how unorthodox the skill might seem, or how laced with obscurity the the craft may be- art is introduced to us in various forms. There is a testament to the patience and endurance it takes to manipulate such tiny objects into a grand portrait. To be a master in such a niche artform is pretty cool if you ask me.