Late on a Friday night, Mexico City’s nearly 65,000 League of Legends players received their second clue as an unexplained facebook post. A single, white flower curled in the foreground in front of blurred figures walking in a rotunda. The community came alive, receiving hundreds of likes in just a few minutes as eventually, in one of the initial 70 commenters identified the square as the Insurgentes Metro stop. One step closer.
It is exactly this that the LAN team hoped to encourage with it’s mysterious facebook posts in January 2016 as the LAN team highlights the uncanny parallel between Jhin, the flamboyant artist champion, and Oscar Flores, the Mexican muralist and actor who voices him (though unlike Jhin, Oscar doesn’t moonlight as an assassin… to my knowledge, at least…).
6 days earlier…
Event mastermind Jonathan Barceló-Iñiguez has a tendency to look far beyond the operating hours of an event to understand the full narrative of an experience as it will be remembered by its’ audience. In this case, it involved a careful study of how the before, during, and after would be experienced through social media.
4 days earlier…
My first task was to generate some photos of Oscar himself. Fans entering the space would immediately see images and a short bio of Oscar, so we scheduled a pre-shoot to create the assets needed.
I wanted to capture the artist in his element, specifically creating on the pieces that would be displayed at the show. Oscar had already been hard at work working on four shirts and four pairs of shoes that matched his bright style with the game’s thematic elements. To get the shots we needed, Barceló and I set up in an apartment, brought in some food and beer, and hosted a comfortable work night where Oscar could work, the crew could gathered supplies, made plans, and get ahead on on content writing, and I could shoot the process.
The comfortable situation (and better control of the lighting) make these some of my favorite shots. Oscar immediately came in, dumped an entire back-pack’s worth of sharpies, highlighters, and bright paints and markets of every kind onto the floor, and set right to work stretching the t-shirt over a piece of cardboard holding it tight with clothes-pins.
Tonight, he would be working on a shirt that featured on of Jhin’s “character skins,” or alternate costumes. We leaned a large table-top up against a wall, and Oscar set back to work with is playful, but intense interpretations of Jhin.
As he worked, Oscar had a chat with Omar Miranda-Flores, known to the community as “Riot Brujo” about the inspiration for his art, and the way he came to understand and portray Jhin through both his voice acting and painting. This interview would end up featured on Riot’s post about the event. Meanwhile, the crew continued to organize supplies and make final plans for the event in a few, short days.
When most of the crew had left, we set up for the one staged-shot we needed: a portrait of the artist with intense dramatic lighting to match Jhin’s character art. Earlier in the week I’d ventured to Home Depot to pick up an LED work-light that, with a shroud, gave us the perfect effect.
Event day began for us at 6:00 as we were the first to arrive at the venue for set-up. My goal with these behind-the-scenes shots to capture the teamwork between the Riot team and their event-coordinating contractors.
By early afternoon, the space had been transformed into a morbid art show, a dark and mysterious tribute to Riot’s newest character.
The second room was focused toward Oscar’s work.
When everyone was ready, just before 2:00, Max released the final picture to the community, and minutes later fans were lined up to see the artist at work.
After weaving thorough his work (and taking selfies next to about every piece), fans got to hang out in the room with Oscar as he painted. Ever friendly, he answered endless questions about working with Rio and the various other characters he voices (including Bilbo Baggins and Scooby do).