The Last Of Us Inspires Creepy/Gorgeous Fungus-Infested Art

By David Wharton | Updated

NatureLast year Naughty Dog followed up its hit Uncharted series by giving players a new twist on the tired old “zombie apocalypse” with The Last of Us. In the critically acclaimed game it wasn’t the living dead who were staggering around trying to eat the unlucky survivors; it was victims infected by a mutated strain of a very real fungus. In The Last of Us, that fungus has spread to humans, unleashing a breed of zombie that’s every bit as terrifying as the traditional undead. Now the game’s unsettling visuals have infected an art show tribute to Naughty Dog. (The top image is “Nature, Human” by Anthony Wu.)

If you’re within easy driving range of Alhambra, California, you can head to Gallery Nucleus to check out A Tribute to Naughty Dog: 30th Anniversary. Nucleus is hosting the show for six more days. The art on exhibit includes plenty of works inspired by The Last of Us, but also tributes to Naughty Dog’s other popular series, including Uncharted, Crash Bandicoot, and Jak and Daxter. Aside from the Last of Us stuff we’re featuring here, you can see tons more at Gallery Nucleus’ website, as well as production artwork from the games themselves. Many of the prints are also available for purchase on the site.

“Clicker Nouveau” by Jillian HansenClickerNouveau

You might have found yourself involuntarily cringing at pictures of the parasitic Cordyceps fungus bursting from the corpses of ants or spiders, or suppressing a shudder at the notion of the fungus effectively turning the host into a zombie, compelled by its attacker to climb to the highest point it can reach so the fungal spores can have plenty of room to spread their wings. That fungus has inspired some gorgeous images by the participating artists, as well as some that manage to be beautiful while simultaneously making your skin crawl. There’s just something viscerally disturbing about the human form being overtaken by fungal growths. Frankly, it gives me the heebie jeebies.

“Ellie” by Mingjue Helen ChenEllie

If you’re not a gamer (and The Last of Us is good enough that you should make an exception), you’ll still be able to experience the story in a different form: there’s a movie adaptation in the works from Sam Raimi.

“Ellie’s Dear Deer” by Jose Emroca FloresEllieDear

“Hellebore, Milkweed, Hare (This Won’t Last Very Long)” by Teagan WhiteHare

“King and Lionheart” by Alice X. ZhangKing

“Friends Till the End” by Janice ChuFriends

“Joel and Ellie” by Catherine UngerJoelEllie

“Collected Curiosity #130614 / 01 to 04” by Andrew KolbCollected

“Ellie and Riley” by Mindy LeeEllieRiley