From the rainbow flag to the exquisitely flamboyant costumes, Pride parades are ever a spectacular sight, and artist Martin Lathbury has certainly captured that vibrancy in his Pokemon artwork.
The 27-year-old artist from London has taken some of the beloved anime and gaming characters and given them an LGBT+ twist, in homage to the capital’s Pride parade this month.
The creations took Martin an hour each to make, tracing from the sprites of the Pokemon from the original Nintendo games.
“I think artwork like this shows that there are other parts of pop culture that have influenced LGBT+ people growing up,” Martin told the Press Association. “Pokemon has this amazing queer undertone to it – can I get a ‘yas’ for Team Rocket?”
“Growing up as a kid who was questioning their own sexuality, it was a very confusing time,” Martin said. “You’re forced into these gender and sexuality constructs from the moment you’re born that you don’t feel necessarily represent who you are.
“Pink is for girls, blue is for boys. Girls play with Barbies, boys play with Action Man.
“The great thing about Pokemon is that it didn’t have a preconceived expectation of who it was for – at least it didn’t feel that way – it felt like it was for everyone, no matter who you are.”
“I am probably most proud of the Dragonite one,” said Martin of his work. “Because it was inspired by the wonderful outfits and people I have seen at Pride before, and because it took the most time to create to ensure the clothes matched the original style of the sprite.”
“I chose Pokemon as a love letter to the LGBT+ gaming community, and to Nintendo and the Pokemon Company,” said Martin. “It was the first fandom I felt most safe in, after that it was Harry Potter.
“There are definitely other animes and fandoms I’m thinking about for the future.”
Martin has previously made pixel art of Overwatch characters and suggests he could revisit it.
“Either that or make one of Harry Potter playing Quidditch on a flying rainbow unicorn,” said Martin.
“That’s the great thing about art – and pixel art specifically,” said Martin. “It’s a neverending playground to make whatever you want.
“And if people like it, that’s more than anyone can ask for I think.”
If you’d like to see more of Martin’s handiwork, check out his Instagram page.