ANIMIZE Magazine Volume 1 Issue 6 June 2016 - Page 33

Growing up as a collector of trading cards, the Nüdtendo project began in that form. ‘The goal was to put them in shadow boxes and create a pixel grid on a gallery wall. Just fill the wall with characters.’ When the idea of playing cards was suggested, Roberts saw how well the series lent itself to the idea. ‘From the very beginning I wanted the playing cards to be a special limited edition. But then as I started making them, leaving the character as is just standing there with the suit just didn’t look good. It looked sloppy and messy. So I took Mega Man and tried to create a traditional face card. However when I cut him off at the waist, it looked interesting, it looked about what a normal card would look like, but it actually removed the nudity. So it removed the whole point of the series. In order to maintain the integrity of the series I had to find a way of making sure these characters kept their dongs. Mega Man is the first one that I did, and when I completed it I thought the design is beautiful but now I had to make 52 of these.’

The project has taken him longer than he ever expected, estimating that from the initial idea to the finished deck of cards took three and a half years. ‘A lot of them have elements that weren’t part of the original paintings. Every single one of them has a different design except for the really big guys. So you’re getting something completely different from the original trading cards.’ Aedan’s desire to create a fully realised product lead him to develop suits (mushrooms, barrels, meteoroids and rupees) drawn from Nintendo games. His commitment to detail continued through the printing process with his insistence on using of gold leaf.

His attention to detail has paid off with what he describes as an overwhelmingly positive response. ‘There are a few people who don’t get it, or ask why are they naked. When I show them off at conventions and art shows and galleries, you will see the random parent who cover the kid’s eyes and run away. But I purposefully made this series where the nudity was the most important thing and I tried to make sure that nothing was sexualised. If you want to see a naked Mario fucking a Bowser, there is plenty of that online already. This is showing that nudity doesn’t have to be sexual. It’s just natural. Every single guy in the series is flaccid. And they are all tiny little bump dongs, little cupid dongs.’

Now that the Nüdtendo series is finished, Roberts aims to realise his goal showing them all on a single gallery wall. In the meantime he returns to his Inner Demons series, which he admits is a life-long project. ‘It’s a language to me that speaks to everybody, because everyone suffers from their own inner demons. If one painting doesn’t speak to you because it’s not something you suffer from, there will be another one in my series that you will attach some amount of your own emotion to. That’s going to be my focus for a little while, because I’m actually having a lot of fun with it.’

For more on Aedan's work visit www.aedanroberts.com