If you’re a fan of art, then this week you might want to tune in to Tiny Con, hosted by Scott Campbell. You’ve probably never heard of Tiny Con, because it’s brand-new, all online, and, as the name would imply, very tiny.
But you’re almost definitely aware of Scott C., even if you didn’t know you were, because he’s a prolific watercolor artist whose work is heavily entangled in geek culture.
Originally a concept artist for LucasArts, the two places you’re most likely to know Scott from are either the smash hit video games Psychonauts and Brutal Legend (he was an art director for both), or from the smash Netflix show Umbrella Academy. His art style is a distinctively blocky, childlike, nostalgic kind of painting that lends itself well to flashback scenes.
And if you’re a geek who is a child at heart, you might want to check out some of Scott’s stylized merchandise, with pins for just about every fandom: from Star Wars to The Princess Bride, Dr. Who, and Labyrinth. Or better yet, save your money and check out Tiny Con for some giveaways!
Tiny Con is essentially a series of streams dedicated to the production of Scott’s art, combined with interviews he’s having with some of his collaborators. If you like seeing art made (for example, if you’re a big Bob Ross buff), then these free streams are definitely going to be your jam! The schedule of events is as follows:
One of the major reasons to keep an eye on Scott right now is that he reprised his role as an art director for Psychonauts 2, which was announced back in 2015 at the Game Awards, but experienced slow, stuttered development in its production. Now finished, it’s slated for release on August 25th of this year, over ten years after the original Psychonauts release.
You might notice, by the way, that on Friday evening, one of the guests coming onto Scott’s Tiny Con is none other than Tim Schafer, head of Double Fine Productions and the designer of the Psychonauts franchise. So we’re definitely excited to see what might be revealed about the production and design of Psychonauts 2, especially so close to its release!
The artists behind the fandoms we love are often overlooked (Alex Ross notwithstanding), especially when their roles amount to small bits of “background” flair, as Scott’s often are. But artists, particularly traditional painters, can bring both literal and figurative color to the our worlds, and without them, our fandoms would certainly have far less depth to them.
And, besides, we can’t help but love Scott’s Great Showdowns project, which reminds us, just a bit, of Unnecessary Debates. Because while Scott does paint traditional film antagonists (like Sarah Williams v. The Goblin King from Labyrinth, or Neo v. Mr. Smith in The Matrix), he also sometimes pits characters against completely inanimate objects… like Bruce Willis and the glass from Die Hard. And those objects are always inexplicably smiling, their cute little cartoon faces heart-warmingly adorable.
If you love traditional art media (like watercolor) and have time this week, consider tuning in to Tiny Con and seeing what Scott is up to! Once you have learned to spot his distinctive style, you’ll be surprised at how often you see his work pop up in various fandoms, and how broadly influential it has been.