Pixel art, an arrangement of pixels that form a larger image, has had a resurgence with the growth of blockchain technology and digital art. A pixel is the smallest element of a digital image. The term “pixel” is a combination of the words “picture” and “element.”

Pixel art began in the 1970s during the rise of computers, animation, and video games. Due to technological restrictions, the graphics were low resolution. Contemporary pixel art recalls this era by continuing this distinctive and nostalgic look, even though it is possible to achieve a much more sleek aesthetic.

Today, pixel art is used to create illustrations and animations. Here are a few innovative examples of pixel work on Exchange Art:

  1. MEK, The Capital, Arrived

MEK imagines a pixelated capital city on a hill, with grey buildings, greenery, and a flowing river. This city is at once futuristic and antique due to MEK’s use of pixels.

MEK, The Capital, Arrived

2. Zen0, A Bioluminescent Place

Zen0 creates low resolution pixel art with as few pixels as possible in an aesthetic that is reminiscent of classic video games. In the aptly named series, Pixel Places, Zen0 depicts the protagonist, Monster Friend, journeying through worlds. I’m particularly impressed with A Bioluminescent Place, which shows Monster Friend snorkeling while the bioluminescent creatures and vegetation softly glow.

3. Marculino PNG, The Son of Emoji

In this piece, Maculino PNG reinterprets Surrealist artist Rene Magritte’s iconic painting, Le fils de l'homme (The Son of Man). The artist replaces Magritte’s symbol of the apple, which was placed in front of the man’s face, obscuring his identity, with a crying laughing emoji, instantly bringing Magritte into the internet age.

Marculino, The Son of Emoji

4. Rafaqin, Wisdom Fountain

Rafaqin recreates a video game aesthetic with Wisdom Fountain. The main character has an exclamation mark flashing in a bubble over his head, while he stares at his upcoming task - an open book floating over a lake. Such a fun, fantastical piece!

Rafaqin, Wisdom Fountain

5. Suns, Morag

Suns is an art studio created by rgb0x00 focused on making pixel artworks. In this piece, rgb0x00 forms a bright, new world. The extreme dimensions of the work emphasize the landscape, with the stars shimmering overhead.

Suns, Moraq

6. Mint Rain, Wolves at the Gate

This piece, which was created as part of the most recent drop by the artist collective, The 7 Swords, combines pixel art, animation, and music. This audio visual piece is enhanced by the techno music composed by the artist.

Mint Rain, Wolves at the Gate

7. Adam Ape, Voxel Monke #042

Adam Ape created the instantly iconic Voxel Monke series celebrating the classic monke silhouette. Instead of using pixels, Adam Ape uses voxels, which are 3D pixels. Voxel Monke #042 is incredibly dynamic, with the skeleton monke wearing a crown of roses and dancing, the psychedelic background swirling endlessly.

Adam Ape, Voxel Monke #042
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