Reduce, reuse, artcycle

Transforming Obsolete Analog media formats into art

Albert Joaquin created Mega Mario out of 144 Nintendo cartridges. His show, Analog Eco opens at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective Thursday, Dec. 15

Albert Joaquin created Mega Mario out of 144 Nintendo cartridges. His show, Analog Eco opens at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective Thursday, Dec. 15

A Google search of obsolete media formats turns up some old favourites including 8-track and cassette tapes, but ask local “part-time” artist Albert Joaquin and he’ll tell you they still have a lot to offer.

Joaquin buys 8-tracks, 8mm film reels, VHS tapes and Nintendo cartridges that were destined for the dump and extends their lives — as art, often using them as both the canvas and the medium.

“I get a lot of it from eBay and estate sales,” says Joaquin. “People have boxes of this stuff and usually they just junk it. But I think there was a lot of thought that went into these things when they were manufactured and they’re still good for something. Plus there’s just an abundance of it out there.”

A cook by trade, Joaquin got interested in art about a year ago when he had some serious time on his hands. He was unemployed and seeking a new direction so he turned to art as a form of therapy.

“I was creatively frustrated,” says Joaquin. “I tried drawing, painting and sculpture, but I wanted to be good at something right away. I’ve always loved stencil art, so I decided to try a form of stencil with cassette tape.”

His first piece was a take on the Beatles’ famous Abbey Road album cover made out of cassette tape on a plain canvas. In his second, a portrait of Freddy Mercury, he decided to add some colour.

“I’m really into pop art and those in-your-face bright colours,” says Joaquin.

When he was gifted a box of old 8-tracks he glued 28 of them together to make a canvas, painted them red and created a stenciled portrait of Ben Folds out of the tape from the cartridges.

Joaquin moved into VHS tapes, then on to 8mm film reels, representing characters from his favourite films, including Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, Superman, and a series of monsters (Dracula, Woolfman, Frankenstein, etc) just in time for Halloween. The Batmobile and the DeLorean from Back to the Future are also subjects in his works.

A need to go bigger drove Joaquin to purchase a lot of old Nintendo cartridges on eBay and childhood memories of playing video games with his brother motivated him to do his biggest piece yet — Mega Mario. Mario is made up of 144 game cartridges (don’t worry, none were games worth playing, Joaquin assures me) and is larger than life. He takes up a floor-to-ceiling space in Joaquin’s front entry.

“I think this one really represents who I was as a child,” says Joaquin. “And I really love that pixelated look.”

Even though friends and family were encouraging Joaquin to share his art with the public via a gallery, for the better part of the year he wasn’t really interested. “I was mostly doing it to cover the walls of the apartment,” says Joaquin.

It wasn’t until he started running out of space on his walls that he started entertaining the idea of partnering with a gallery. The last straw was a dare from a co-worker and Joaquin had no choice to go public. He contacted The Fifty Fifty Art Collective and his debut show, Analog Eco, is opening this week. Mario will be in attendance. M

 

Analog Eco

The art of Albert Joaquin

The Fifty Fifty Art Collective

Opening Reception Thurs, Dec. 15, 7-9 p.m.

Show runs until Dec. 29

thefiftyfifty.net

art-a-la-bert.blogspot.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

The area surrounding the Chemainus Rotary Club’s bunker door is one of the new surfaces that will feature a mural. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Up to three new murals coming to Chemainus

Project will be coordinated between the Rotary Club and Festival of Murals Society

Most Read