With nothing planned on my schedule and nowhere to be, I decided to take a day off by visiting the arcade. There’s a local one in town, thankfully. After putting my Old Skools on with my forest green sweater, khaki pants, and my burgundy beanie, I’m out the door.
Finally at the arcade, I enter slowly to enjoy the sunshine outside; it’s bright enough to mess with my vision. Once inside I see an empty podium that what I assume is for employees. I walk past a sign that says,
“Welcome! Hours: 12pm – 8pm”
Great, I’m here now. Only one game is on my mind currently, Pac-Man. After looking around for a few minutes the game box is finally in my sights – and so is a young guy who is playing it. No worries, I’ll go up and play the one next to him. Thankfully it’s, Space Invaders.
The music begins playing and the game is started. I’m going hard too; trying to get that high score so I can get a free slice of pizza because you know, priorities.
As I continually reach higher levels, a voice besides me breaks the intensity.
A. You’re over here zooming through those levels. Who are you, a nerd or a pro?
F. I’m Francis, not really a pro, I just play this and Pac-Man a lot.
A. Sick to meet you. I go by Arcade. I spend a lot of time here thus the name. You from around the area?
F. Tight, likewise though my dude. Yeah I’m from here in Mansfield, best city in Ohio – sike.
A. I feel you fully, this place is butt. The real only good thing about it is the music scene, Geeksters [this arcade] & Relax, It’s Just Coffee! When it comes to music we got some great individuals like Chase Beaire, The Trio, The Touch, Black Elk and The Holy bible, and a few others. That’s just to name a few. Do you make music or anything?
F. Aye, I actually go to ‘Relax often. Great service and just all around cool people. Literally cannot say a bad thing about it there. Those bands and musicians are great though. I’m a fan of them all, the drummer in Black Elk is actually like my older brother and Chase is a business partner / best friend. I’ve worked with The Trio and their younger sibling Al Jenkins on some photos. The Touch is just great, Mahoney is so goofy but wildly talented. Do I make music though? Nah, it’s something that’s been on a back burner for me but never really did anything.
A. I agree with everything you just said. Regarding what you said towards the end though, I get that. If not music, do you do you do anything creative?
F. I am a photographer and just recently launched a blog for pop culture. I hope to be putting out clothes under a self titled brand but I’m unsure when that will happen. Until then I’m focused on photography and the blog. It’d be cool to have a magazine for the blog with like a monthly subscription or something.
A. That all sounds cool, I used to take photos but I don’t anymore. I just kind of hangout in the background conjuring a way to come back. You’re a photographer though? It’s nice seeing someone share that same interest. Do you have any type of process when taking a photo or finding that “perfect shot”?
F. I get that man, I’m sure if you had fans they’d be happy to see you again. I say go for it but when the timing is right. As for my photos, I created this wave and process called, “Arcade Vision”. You’re the type who I’d have on a the team. Anyway the process goes as follows. Inside an Arcade there are both a perfect mix of darkness and light from the game lights. Those same game lights are colorful, given said that it’s the trifecta in a sense. I have the mix of light, dark, and color. I blend them together in most of my photos somehow. Another part inside Arcade Vision is due to the fact that people come to the arcade to have fun and just be themselves. For that reason I made it a goal to stand out in the sense of only capturing people being themselves. Whenever I have a session, I guide the model in a direction and then from there I’ll just talk to them and make them feel like I’m their friend rather than only the photographer. Most begin to laugh or talk with their hands all while not realizing my camera is capturing it. When lights in an arcade are off for the night, there’s nothing but darkness. That allows me to focus on the darker side of life and its aspects. It opens a window for more melancholy vibe photos. Lastly on Arcade Vision, I say it’s a wave because waves never die. Although I no longer plaster the name everywhere, it hasn’t died. People go to the arcade to also feel youthful. The youth will also never die. Arcades are filled with games. Life is a game we ALL must play. I’m just capturing the vision.
A. Wow, where can I sign up?
F. I mean just stick close and be on the team my dude.
A. Noted, you mentioned a darker side of arcades, does that relate to you in any ways or is that for the wider audience? Also do you have any goals for the future?
F. Honestly it goes for both. I as well many others suffer from a dark mental side. I mean I personally suffer from depression, anxiety, insomnia, and maybe adhd; I could just be really hyper who loses focus sometimes. I don’t ever think I’ll do some stuff to myself but I’ve gotten to the point of strong suicidal thoughts. Believe me when I say it gets real. When you create something and embody it, that idea becomes you. Along with the stress and much more. It’s all worth it though. As for goals, by the end of 2017 I hope to have a physical magazine. I can’t stress that enough.
A. I apologize that you’ve gone and are going through dark times. Keep your head up, I mean shit use me if you have to. I’ll help out however I can! It’s inspiring that you’re so adamant on believing in your vision though. From what I’ve been seeing, that will take you far. Do you ever plan on reprising Arcade Vision as anything?
F. I think videos of some sort would be cool.
A. Sick, sick, sick. It’s been real talking to you man. I have one last question for you, do you have any inspirations for you work?
F. I agree for sure, you’re cool. As for inspirations, I’m heavily inspired by Tyler, The Creator, Kevin Abstract, KYLE, Lil Yachty, Andre 3000, KiD CuDi, Vince Staples and Pharrell Williams. All of those people promote believing in yourself, doing whatever the fuck you want, accepting your faults and running with them. Yachty just promotes positivity and he’s a funny ass dude, the shit he says has me dead. Same with Tyler. But yeah, those are some of my influences. I also am really inspired by Andy Warhol and how he used color palettes. He has a huge impact on me. Same with Salvador Dalí. His ability to tell stories in such a surreal way, some say his work are visuals of dreams and nightmares. Makes me think back to Arcade Vision; dreams being the light and nightmares being the dark.
A. That’s wild, you’ve really thought about this it seems. I gotta head out now though. Keep your head up and keep grinding.
F. Thank you heavily man. We will be in touch.
After realizing we both stopped playing the games. Wearing some Old Skool vans like mine and a hat by Supreme, Arcade heads out the door. I hope I never forget about Arcade, I feel like he’ll always have a connection with me. Now I play Pac-Man.
Gordon “Francis” Hanners.
Writer / Founder of Oh My Francis!