What can possibly make you happier than accidentally finding out that if you Google image search “Atari Breakout” that you can actually play the game?
Pixelated recreations of famous works of art and pop-cultural icons that look like they belong in the OG gaming system, that’s what.
Artist Adam Lister makes 8-bit versions of everything from Hokusai’s “The Great Wave” to Darth Vader with watercolors, and the end result looks fluid and beautifully rigid; futuristic and like a nod to the ’80s all at the same time.
“I had been painting non-representational geometric pictures for a long time,” Lister told The Huffington Post. “Then one day, I was in the studio and I needed a change. So I took the same hard-edge painting approach I had been using for abstract work and used it to make an image everyone would recognize.”
Lister, who grew up in the ’80s playing video games, also admits that pixel-based images “were already a huge part of my imagination.”
Because of this, the images he chooses to recreate are ones that he feels closely connected to. “Sometimes they are childhood memories, sometimes they are just subjects that I like,” he said.
Lister’s watercolors, all start the same way. “I look at the original subject that I'm working with and I begin to break it down in my head,” he said. “I try to give the pure essence of an image. Not every detail, but enough visual information that people can decipher the painting.”
Lister starts with pencil, “blocking in some the bigger compositional elements,” and then allows his imagination to grow from there, finishing each piece with watercolors.
The time it takes to create one of his 8-bit wonders depends on the complexity and size of the painting, which can vary from 8-by-10 canvases to palm-sized miniatures.
“I like to get in the studio and work for 12 hours straight, alternating between painting and drawing,” he said.
It’s time that, bit by bit, totally pays off.
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