Yeah, my first post, I had thought Helm was disappointed with upscaling since he mentioned he was disappointed, so I was focusing on typical problems you face when upscaling art and need to make it more readable. The results he showed in his upscaled image displayed typical qualities you get when you don't spend the extra effort to cleanup and clarify the underlying forms that you are intending to visualize in the low-res image. Or when you have multiple values/spaces competing for your attention, it gets confusing how to build off of it, so I was showing that you can remove that layer of abstraction and rebuild it.
After I realized my mistake, my second post basically was to point out that this activity is similar to using different sized brushes. I'll try to go into more detail as to why, but realize that I am not trying to discredit the activity- I'm just trying to observe/interpret the process in a unified artistic way (one that is not reliant on a style/medium). I appreciate the pixel-art nature of it though.
This activity here is to maintain the sense that there is a 2x2 pixel grid in the upscaled image. This means the grid should still be traceable after further modification of the pixels within the spaces that make up the 2x2 pixel grid.
So an effect of such activity will be a softening/blurring of the grid/space without removing sense of it completely.
This is not much different from when an artist uses a larger brush size and then goes back in and uses a smaller brush size. This is the main point I'm adding to the discussion. You are essentially giving attention to the space the color constructs and modifying the properties within it. Whenever you go from a broader brush to a finer brush, typically you are exploring the details within the broader spaces that were created.
So if framed in that way I think it is easy to see that this kind of process is used in all sorts of art, perhaps every art. The thing here is that it is being influenced by a grid, so the process naturally promotes the characteristics of an underlying grid rather than a more fluid space where the spaces within it have no unified shape.