(EDIT – 7/17/18 9:40AM) – I woke up this morning to find that Art All Night has been mired in tragedy.  A shooting broke out around 3AM at an event that is known for peace, happiness, and the love for the arts.  This isn’t something that happened a thousand miles away.  It happened in my backyard.  I was there last night but left about two hours before the shooting occurred.  I think all of my friends (who are a huge part of the Trenton community) are safe and for that I am incredibly happy – even with all of the sadness in my heart right now.  I hope all of the victims of this tragedy are able to pull through.  This is my second year doing a piece on the Pop Culture art of Art All Night and, for the most part, I am leaving this article intact.  I completed it about 10:30PM last night and it posted originally at 8:00AM.  Waking up to this news I thought of taking the article down until I read the words of bud Tony Goggles who said, “Art All Night is over, but share amazing things from AAN all day please.”  There’s going to be negative, he said, so let’s post more positive.  His words make total sense.  So here is my article.  Art All Night is an amazing event.  A phenomenal event.  An event that brings friends, family, and the community together.  I’m not going to let senseless gun violence downplay the work of individuals who spent days, weeks, and months preparing for the event.  People pour their heart into their artwork.  Their music.  Into the festival itself.  People volunteer their time to make sure this event is the best event Trenton has to offer.  Please don’t be offended in anything you may read here, this is just a small article trying to show the love.  If you are reading this now please share this post.  Please show the world how great Trenton and Art All Night really is.  – Ryan McLelland

I can’t believe an entire year has flown by and Art All Night has already arrived.  Along with Punk Rock Flea Market and Pork Roll Fest, AAN is one of the biggest events thrown in the Trenton area.  You may have to fight quite a mob of incredible hair colors and badass tattoos to see the fantastic artwork or your new favorite band, but it always so worth it.

Don’t know what Art All Night?  I’ll crib from AAN’s website http://www.artallnighttrenton.org about what the event is about:

Now moving into it’s 12th year, Art All Night-Trenton is a 24-hour (literally) art and entertainment event in Trenton, NJ! An opportunity for four-year-old refrigerator artists, spirited novices and seasoned professionals to display one piece of art in a gallery like setting and for the public to enjoy that art in a dramatic renovated urban space. In 2017, over 1,500 artists of all ages, skill levels and mediums submitted work and more than 30,000 people attended! Enjoy live music on indoor and outdoor stages, interactive art, our International Film Festival, lectures about using art to revitalize cities, meaningful kids art activities, interesting food, and plenty of artful surprises!

That is…a lot of exclamation marks.  Guess they are excited.

Me?  There’s one thing that gets me excited at Art All Night and that is all of the fantastic pop culture pieces.  I mean I love me some art, but you throw in ANYTHING based on comic books, gaming, music, and movies it’ll usually throw a big ol’ smile on my face. This year? There is some fantastic pop culture pieces.

The easy winner of this year’s Art All Night is this piece titled ‘Batfiction’ by Andreas Nicolaou. A coupling of Pulp Fiction and the Batman 66 television show, this piece speaks to me on so many levels. I’m a Batman fan and I count Pulp Fiction as one of the best movies ever made. This piece? Just perfect. Gorgeous. Fantastic. At $200 I thought it was a steal and was shocked that it hadn’t sold when I snapped this photo. You can find more of Andreas artwork at http://nerdchamber.com.

Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite action movie of ALL time is John Wick, where Keanu Reeves plays a badass former assassin who decides to murder everyone who may be linked to the killing of his dog.  If you’ve never seen it I can’t recommend it higher.  The second I saw that this piece, titled ‘heres Johhny’, was done by William Coward I was immediately brought back to his stunning Joker piece he did for AAN last year.  Just like that Joker piece, this bad ass John Wick is not for sale – which is probably making someone damn sad.  And, just like last year, I don’t have an e-mail or website for Bill in case you want to commission him.

This 3-D Metroid piece is titled ‘Samus Origin’ and is truly a stunning piece of art.  There are so many layers to Nazar Loun’s piece that I really couldn’t properly capture it all with my tiny little camera.  It truly is a piece that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

I did snap a couple different shots to try and show the different dimensions.  Lots of different looks for everyone’s favorite Nintendo bounty hunter including lots of Metroids, lots of Samus in her gear, and a Zero Suit Samus right in the middle.  There’s even a tiny Metroid II cartridge in the bottom left corner.  Makes me want to bust out my 3DS and finish Metroid: Samus Returns.  You can view more of Nazar’s work at http://www.twocolors.weebly.com.

I’m not quite sure what else I can say about artist Vinita Mathur.  She is one of my favorite artists and her piece from AAN last year still swims around in my dreams.  This year Vinita decided to bring us the stunning warrior known as Lara Croft with her piece ‘Tomb Raider.’  Lara looks a little worse for wear in this painting but Vinita draws me right in with the eyes.  My god this woman can paint.  I highly recommend you head over to Vinita’s website http://viniart.gallery and check out her mastery of the brush.  Just don’t buy my favorite piece – unless you are buying it for me.  Love you, Vinita!

If Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with, then you really can’t fuck with artist Dez FlyKickz.  Her wonderful piece ‘Sole of WU’ features Wu’s logo crafted with four pairs of men’s Nike sneakers.  The results?  Well they speak for themselves, don’t they?  You can check out lots of Dez’s work at https://www.instagram.com/flykickz but be forewarned – you may spend just as much time looking at Dez herself then you do at her artwork.

I can’t find much on artist Hiawatha Cuffee but I do love me this Mobb Deep piece titled ‘The Infamous.”  Prodigy would have been damn proud of this piece and looking at this made me throw on Shook Ones to listen to right now while I’m writing.  You can contact Hiawatha at wattycuffee417@gmail.com.

This is a teapot.  Let me repeat that.  THIS IS A TEAPOT.  A DEADPOOL TEAPOT.  Usually I just throw a mug of water in the microwave for my Green Tea but I would always use this ‘Deadpool Teapot’ if I owned this badboy.  This was crafter by Dan Kerr who is super foolish to sell this piece, unless he made two and still owns one at home.  Dan can be contacted at dankerr14@hotmail.com.

Couple trippy pieces this year and this Bart Simpson piece titled ‘Acid Rain’ really trips me the fuck out. Like I want some shrooms and want a double feature of The Simpsons Movie and Pink Floyd: The Wall. So thanks Chris Garcia for tripping me the hell out. You can find Chris at https://twitter.com/thatdanksinatra.

Then there’s this Super Mario piece with Shy Guy’s all smoked out and mushrooms and stars and shit. I don’t know what the fuck is going on but what I do know is that this is one Super Mario game I’d love to play at 2AM. The piece is called ‘Stardust’ and was painted by ‘Anonymous.’ I bet it was my mom.

There was also this Mario/Pokemon mashup titled ‘Pokemnon Battle’ by Jeremy DiStephano. This is actually a pretty damn creative piece and honestly made me think that Nintendo could really make this game a reality. Here Mario throws out a Fire Yoshi Pokemon while Bowser is fighting with a King Boo. Seriously, I want to play this game.

This is a seriously spot on recreation of Marvel’s Jungle Action #23 from artist Takira (I would add her last name here but my photo cut off so I’m kinda pissed). Simply titled ‘Black Panther’, Takira brings us her version of a classic John Byrne cover. You can find a few more of her pieces over at her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lomeinshrimp – if someone can get me her last name it would be vastly appreciated.

If you know your Fire Emblem (or your Super Smash Bros.), then you are very familiar with Marth.  This is a ‘Marth Action Figure’ created by John Lewis from just paper, tape, and cloth.  I love this to pieces and would have loved to hang this up on my wall.

RJ Ramrod KILLED it with this Doctor Who piece titled ‘Last Son of Gallifrey.’  I’m totally in love with it even though I am not a Doctor Who fan.  Is it finally okay to say I’m not a Doctor Who fan?  I like Daleks, though.  Wish there was a just whole show of them exterminating.

Going to wrap this up with a little Jimi.  While I’m pretty sure the Jimi Hendrix quote is “Good and evil lay side by side,” artist Samantha Peralta called her Jimi piece ‘Good and Bad Lay Side by Side.’  This piece is absolutely wonderful, a bit trippy as well, and really captures Jimi beautifully.  I honestly couldn’t believe it was only $65 and, even more, that the piece hadn’t sold yet.  I may need to pick this up to hang in my mancave.  It is a stunning work.  You can contact Samantha at sstrokes_@gmail.com.

That’s my look at just some of the Pop Culture pieces of Art All Night Trenton 2018.  There are THOUSANDS of amazing pieces to see so I suggest getting out, hearing some great music, meet some new friends, and find look at some wonderful pieces of art before the event is over.  Until next year!!!!!!!!!!!! (How’s that for some exclamation marks?)

Learn more about Art All Night Trenton at: http://www.artallnighttrenton.org.

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