The Sonic Stadium spent last Wednesday night enjoying a spot of high society, quaffing champagne, dining on hors d’oeuvres and indulging in the opening night of the Castle Art Gallery’s Sonic the Hedgehog 25th anniversary art exhibition. And, while we were initially apprehensive of what we might find, we left the gallery discovering some fantastic and inspiring art featuring our favourite hedgehog.
Amongst the many licensing partners SEGA have lined up to support the quarter-century celebrations are Washington Green, purveyors of fine contemporary art from across the globe. In total, nine acclaimed artists have produced twenty-five pieces of art across a multitude of media, comprised of everything from traditional oil paintings, to metal work and miniatures.
I was immediately drawn to a piece by Craig Davison; a huge oil painting depicting Sonic, stood in the foreground of a menacing wedge of antagonists. Another piece of showed Sonic mid-battle, both dynamic and dark, and reminiscent of a theme that echoed the SatAM universe. Contained in several windowed boxes were minimalistic scenes created by Nic Joly, which by intention or coincidence gave nods to elements synonymous to many eras of Sonic. Mounted in black, a hand-carved depiction of the infamous Sonic coat of arms, complete with Banderole and Roman numerals, stood proud at the back of the room like some huge Heraldic achievement.
The evening was an affirmation that video games are an art form; whether it is in the music, the mechanics or the imagery; modern or retro. None of the artists presenting at the exhibition could be associated with past contributions to the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, in either an official or fan capacity – and yet each piece seemed to capture some element of Sonic in some way, shape or form. Surely a testament to their talents.
Each piece looked incredibly striking, and we were just blown away by some of the creativity and workmanship that went into many of these pieces. Alongside the clay sculpture, the 3D metal displays by Frederic Daty were among the most impressive. One of our favourites, funnily enough, was a set by Robert Oxley that saw Sonic and Amy’s faces dripping with running paint.
Talking to the creators yielded tales that I’ve heard time and time again; while not fanatics by any means, each, like just about everyone on the street, had some experience of Sonic, whether fleeting or many years ago, and that surely makes Sonic the Hedgehog a unique icon.
Ultimately, this was a unique celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary that felt a little more grown-up and modern than any of the others that have taken place this year. And while not at pocket money prices by any means (with typical costs upwards of £250 per print), what you are buying is a quality investment, and a memento that marks a milestone not only in Sonic the Hedgehog history, but recognition that this character has significance in our cultural progression.
Numbered prints and canvases are being offered for a select few pieces, and can be purchased through the many Castle Galleries across the country. You can find your local Castle Fine Art Gallery via their official website here. But for the exhibition itself, you can make your way down to the Mayfair, London gallery where the Sonic pieces are open to viewing by the public right now.
Castle Fine Art Gallery
42 South Molton Street
London W1K 5RR
Nearest London Underground Station: Bond Street
Take a look at our gallery of these pieces below, along with some videos that we shot on location via our Facebook Page: