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Jim Davies: Pac-Man Art: The Creation of Ghost Plans

This page shows how the painting Ghost Plans was created. This work was commissioned by N. Matich, who works in logistics. He wanted a painting that had something to do with Pac-Man and logistics. Since my work focuses on Ghost Culture, I made it from the point of view of the ghosts. First I designed the following concept sketch.

The idea was that Shadow (aka Blinky), the lead ghost, is musing on how Pac-Man can be captured given different maze geography. Different geography requires a different number of ghosts. Mr. Matich approved this sketch, and I began work on the actual canvas.

First I pencil in the basics. The composition had to change for the canvas, because of the aspect ratio of the canvas we selected.

After I'm satisfied with the sketch, I paint in the black outlines.

Here it is with the black complete.

Some color...

And the final product. When I have leftover paint, I put it on the cinderblocks that make up the bookshelf to the right of my easel. You can see the paint accumulate there as I've worked through this painting.

Note that Shadow is always going to the right. This is because rightward motion, in the film and performing arts, signifies right, or good motion. Since this is from the ghost's point of view, Shadow should be facing right. Pac-Man, naturally, faces left. He only faces right in the final plan, because he's attempting to escape Shadow. I learned this after I began the series, so not all of the paintings reflect this thinking.

Pokey, the orange one, only appears in the first plan. And, like the idiot Pokey is, he's facing (and therefore moving in) the wrong direction. Shadow appears in all the plans, as Shadow is 1. the most effective ghost, and 2. doing the planning.

You might be wondering about the wisdom of the final plan. Doesn't Pac-Man have a means of escape? Well, in the game, the ghosts are faster on straight-aways, and slow on turning. So if Pac-Man manages to turn before Shadow catches up to him, he might escape. The only difference between the third and fourth plan is that the third involves a turn, and the fourth does not. Assuming there are no turns, the fourth plan would be successful.

The canvas is about six feet tall.

JimDavies (jim@jimdavies.org) Last modified: Tue Aug 27 18:56:25 EDT 2002