THE PACIFIC PINBALL MUSEUM ART DEPARTMENT
As part of the Pacific Pinball Museum's mission to preserve pinball art for future generations, a team of extremely talented professional artists has come together to reproduce some of the finest works in pinball history.
In August of 2012, the Pacific Pinball Museum's muralists received a matching grant from the East Bay Community Foundation, a permanent endowment of charitable funds dedicated to improving the human condition in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
L to R: Eric J. Kos, Dan Fontes, Larry Zartarian, Doug MacFarland and Ed Cassel
The Pacific Pinball Museum is fortunate to have professional, full-time artist Dan Fontes on the Board of Directors, who spearheaded this project and brought artists Ed Cassel and Eric J. Kos into the fold. The group worked to reproduce a selection of elements from pinball art (designed by Fontes) across the top half our vintage room's walls (see above).
In the planning stages of the first ever Pacific Pinball Exposition (PPE) in 2007, as it became clear that more than 300 antique machines would be assembled for the public to play at San Rafael’s Marin County Civic Center, Dan Fontes came up with an excellent use of the 20’ high walls of the interior of the Exposition Hall. He suggested doing a mural of a pinball backglass and within weeks completed an 8-foot by 10-foot canvas of Gottlieb's Majorettes. The game Majorettes recalls an optimistic moment in America’s history when the future was bright with promise. College students are taking the field with squeaky clean faces and freshly pressed uniforms to cheer on the home team.
Dan Fontes' Houseboat Basement studio, 2007
Working in the cramped basement of his houseboat in Sausalito, painting over a canvas that had previously been used as a backdrop for former Governor Jerry Brown’s inaugural in Oakland (from 1999), Dan painted a massive reproduction of the 1965 Gottlieb backglass called Majorettes. Because the houseboat had only 5' 7" of height the mural had to be painted on it's side and rolled on both ends like a scroll-just three feet at a time, left to dry, rolled out again and painted over again and again until finished. Since most pinball events included very little, if any, pinball related artworks, this might be a way to secure the reputation of the new Pacific Pinball Exposition as one of the serious shows. Even the Chicago Exposition, a show that had been around almost 25 years and the home of pinball manufacturing, had little in the way of artwork on display. Most, if not all, attendees to Pacific Pinball Expo #1 did not recognize that Majorettes had been painted by hand, perhaps mistaking it for a digital Mylar reproduction. A few insiders stood in wonder gazing up at the mural. Between 2007 and 2008, well known Bay Area mural painter and illustrator Ed Cassel joined in to create marvels such as 2001 and Double Up. And so it began.
Ed Cassel painting Double Up...and later working on 2001.
After the success of the first mural and with Ed and Dan working on more murals, it was decided to make Pinball Art the main theme of the 2nd Annual PPE.
Hanging of Dan Fontes' Skyraiders at the 2008 PPE
In 2008 at the 2nd PPE, Dan Fontes made an announcement on Saturday that if anyone would step up to the plate and buy any of the murals for sale, he would donate the entire proceeds to the museum. One person, Steve Tsubota, rose to the occasion and purchased Majorettes for $7,500 and then turned around and donated the mural to the museum.
Steve Tsubota at California Extreme, 2006
The ten canvases presented here represent weeks of meticulous work with small brushes. Some of the larger pieces like Scuba, Sky Raiders, Wonderland and Mermaid have taken months of 10-hour days to create.
Murals from the 2008 PPE
Dan Fontes works on Mermaids
In 2010 Eric Kos joined the mural team creating a 10' x 10' reproduction of El Dorado one of Gottlieb's most legendary titles.
Eric Kos' first mural El Dorado hangs next to it's namesake at the PPM.
Also in 2010, Ed Cassel organized a show of all the murals at Oakland's world-renowned monthly Art Murmur event. Hundreds of people were treated to an incredible opening at the Uptown Body & Fender Art Gallery and were blown away by the huge canvases on display. The murals hung for two months before being moved to the 2010 PPE.
Postcard for PPM's Oakland Art Murmur mural exhibition: Backglass Fantasy Paintings
Ed Cassel reflecting on Scuba.
The new pinball backglass murals for 2010 included Williams' Skyway, Gottlieb's Joker and Gottlieb's Out of Sight.
Dan Fontes' Skyway as a work in progress.
Ed Cassel and Dan Fontes in front of Joker as a work in progress.
Eric Kos with his latest mural in Progress, Gottlieb's 1975 Out Of Sight.
STAY TUNED FOR A MAJOR MURAL UPDATE HERE.
Latest additions to the mural collection include:
Zip, Golden Gate and Star Jet by Dan Fontes
Domino and Space Ship by Ed Cassel
Jungle Princess and Card Whiz by Eric J. Kos (with Jeannie Rodriguez)
Sea Ray and Slick Chick by d'Arci Rhine (with Rosie Morales)
Murals in progress include:
Flipper by Dan Fontes
Double Barrel by Ed Cassel
Genie by Eric J. Kos (with Jeannie Rodriguez)
Captain Fantastic by d'Arci Rhine (with Rosie Morales)
Most of the murals in the pinball museum's collection are for sale with proceeds benefiting the artist and the museum.
One of the primary purposes of our Museum is to introduce people to the incredible world of coin op art and in particular, pinball art. Our gallery curator Melissa Harmon produced a fantastic show about Art Galleries and Museums that have displayed Pinball as fine art.
Pinball Art: Fine Art
Exhibitions and Artworks at the Pacific Pinball Museum, 2010
Poster, 1972 Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Pin Ball Game Scoreboards
Poster, 1974 Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Canada
Tilt! Pinball Machines 1931-1958
Flip! Flash! Pin Ball Art Catalog, 1982 Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL
Figure as Subject Catalog,1986 Whitney Museum of Art, New York, NY
The Transparent Pinball Machine Michael Schiess, 2008 Re-themed artist’s pinball machine
Hellacopters: Air Raid Serenades Dirty Donny, 2009 Re-themed artist’s pinball machine
Illuminated Sculpture Transparent Pin: Michael Schiess Curator: Christian Schiess Catalog, 2009 Bedford Gallery, Concord, CA
Dirty Donny Wade Krause Tanio KlyceDan Kramer
Re-themed artist’s pinball machine, 2009
Punball: Only One Earth William Wiley Jim Dietrick At the Electric Works, San Francisco, CA, 2008
Funland Exhibition, 2009 Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Luther’s Vendetta Brian Holderman, 2009 Re-themed artist’s pinball machine
Mike Budai, 2009 Re-themed artist’s pinball machine
Broads, Boobs and Buckles
The Pinball Art of Dave Christensen Kristi Engle Gallery, Highland Park, CA, 2009
Fashion in Pinball Melissa Harmon, 2010 Book in Progress
What’s It All Mean: William T. Wiley in Retrospect William Wiley Re-themed artist’s pinball machine Smithsonian Institution, 2010
Pinball: From Bagatelle to Twilight Zone Pacific Pinball Museum San Francisco Airport Museum Brochure, 2009-2010 San Francisco International Airport, SF, CA