This is a piece of digital artwork called "Halls of Viscera." Look familiar? The "halls" and "viscera" are big hints. Ok, fine: it's Diablo. Well, sort of.
"Halls of Viscera" is one piece from an upcoming exhibition of Canadian artist Alex McLeod's work that will go up next month in Montreal. All of the work I've seen so far is striking in an eclectic, Dada-esque sort of way. And a number of the new images he's showing are modeled off his favorite games like Diablo and the old Sierra On-Line adventure game Lighthouse: The Dark Being. The specific references are just a little hard to pick up on at first.
When I asked McLeod about his specific inspiration for "Halls of Viscera," for instance, he sent me three images from the Diablo games:
Ok, so maybe the last one makes a certain kind of sense. But I like how McLeod took some ideas from Blizzard's classic series and then ran with them in some crazy directions, to the point where it's impossible to identify a specific point in an image like "Halls of Viscera" that's actually referencing the source material.
McLeod showed me a few early drafts of another image in his new series, "Starsky," that was also inspired by Diablo:
"It's just an archetypal hall's end, where something happens, so I outfitted it with a sculpture of the planets, almost like it was a shrine like the ones in Diablo," McLeod explained in an email.
"Diablo is mainly a jumping point," he added. "I do have a bunch of the original objects, but I've really tried to [avoid] using them in favor of making something from nothing, if that makes sense."
Maybe avoiding specific visual motifs from one game or another is how work like McLeod's makes the leap from "fan art" to straight up art. Seeing the final image again after he explained some of its backstory, however, still leaves me feeling like I'm back in the Pandemonium Fortress from the end of Diablo II—albeit in a different form:
McLeod's new exhibition, Myth, opens on September 6th at the Galerie Trois Points in Montreal. You can check out more of McLeod's work at his website.