Mixed-media artist Natalie Wong lives and works between Hong Kong And London, and is especially known for her vibrant style of working with paper that captures the interest and hearts of art and paper lovers everywhere. Wong’s main creative practice is divided between her personal fine art, private commission, and commercial projects, with her latest commercial collaborations including Nike, Adidas, Coca-Cola, KFC, Warner Brother, and more. Winner of the 2023 Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize, Wong’s already impressive portfolio working with some of the biggest brands and agencies around the world, is sure to get even heftier.
RetroPlay is a series of colorful and bold paper sculptures celebrating nostalgia and the simple joys of childhood gameplay
Wong recently unveiled her latest project RetroPlay, which draws inspiration from the resurging popularity of classic games. Intricately hand-sculpted from colored paper, Wong employs various paper-sculpting techniques to reimagine iconic game designs such as the Nintendo Gameboy, NES One console, and Sony’s PlayStation One.The sculptures have been created using a six-tone color palette, evoking vintage design references.
“Retro games have a two-fold appeal. Firstly, classic gameplay found with older games like Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong has become timeless experiences. Secondly, gameplay is emotionally associated with happy past experiences, triggering positive emotions for players.” Wong says about the inspiration behind the work. Wong elaborates on the theme, “When people play a game from their childhood or even one that follows the aesthetics of a familiar title, it amplifies pleasure in the brain. The reward pathways are more sensitive in children than in adults. When these childhood games are played as an adult, the pleasure response from the past adds to the current experience.”
Achieving success has become a part of our collective identity. This success identifier, triggered while playing childhood games further enhances the experience. Nostalgic play may also recall positive childhood experiences unrelated to gaming.
But the allure of retro gameplay extends beyond gaming nostalgia, according to Wong, “achieving success has become a part of our collective identity. This success identifier, triggered while playing childhood games further enhances the experience. Nostalgic play may also recall positive childhood experiences unrelated to gaming.” Attempting to explain the resurgence of classic gameplay, Wong theorises, “The global pandemic and the resulting isolation have driven people to seek comfort in older games. These games teach perseverance and resilience, as players have limited lives and must earn new ones through skilled gameplay. Patience and grit are valuable life lessons learned through gaming.”
With RetroPlay, Wong captures the essence of retro gaming while exploring its profound emotional impact on players. The hand-sculpted artworks pay tribute to classic consoles, reminding us of the enduring joy and significance of these vintage experiences. RetroPlay has also been released as a series of Limited Edition prints available to buy here.