As a marketing campaign for its new art show, Vinyl Thoughts, local Munny-esque toy makers whose last exhibition reached capacity almost immediately, launched a scavenger hunt. The quest? Find two guys dressed like Mario and Luigi painting a Nintendo mural in Deep Ellum.
"Somebody snapped a picture and put it on Reddit right as we started on Monday," said Kid NES, who is wearing a gas mask, but is otherwise dressed like WaLuigi, Luigi's bizzarro world nemesis. Word spread instantly.
Back in the eight-bit era a true scavenger hunt could have worked, but in this snappy digital realm all it takes is a shout-out on a blog or Twitter and, Bam! Photos, maps, and hyperlinks to all parties involved arrive in seconds. Still, it got our attention, and by the sounds of people driving by, we were not alone. "Oh fucking Mario! I love you! I love you, Mario!" a clutch of women shouted from the windows of a passing Ford Taurus.
The mural is called "The Next Level" and it spans the West-facing wall of Quixotic World. In it, each pixel is blown up so that spray-paint Mario himself is lifesized. "This is how big the plant would be, and this is the right size for the tubes," says Kid NES, while gesturing at the familiar, friendly portals that might lead Mario to a coin cave, but will almost certainly lure him into the mouth of a piranha plant. "We're here to trap them," says Kid NES, re-assuming his WaLuigi persona.
It's so much fun to look at that you really wish you could jump inside, or at least onto one of the turtles.
Kid NES has a plumber's helper in Wario (Graffiti writer name is Eder), and together the two quirkily drag giant ladders across the sidewalk and spray finishing touches on Spinys. It's the second large wall conquered by the duo; the first is a on the side of Pro Rehearsal Studio off of Commonwealth and features a screen shot of a Gutsdozer and Mega Man face-off from Mega Man 2.
Nintendo art is all that interests Kid NES, while Eder isn't so into the whole structure thing. "I'm a graffiti writer, not a street artist; when we get to work together on a giant project like this it's great because it bridges the gap between those two worlds. They're usually so divided."
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For more information on the upcoming Vinyl Thoughts show, visit their website. To watch a time-lapse video of Kid NES and Eder's Mega Man 2 wall, check out the video below.