AuthorTopic: (How) do you think future art historians will describe pixel art?  (Read 4530 times)

Offline Kragagam

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Pixelism? I'm reading through a bunch of art history books I have at home; generally they're only up to the year 2000 (I'm not updated that way) and recently had a through about the way people in say 50-100 years will describe the things going on today, politics etc. which lead me to think about how the art writers will look upon the pixel art "movement" going on now?

Will we see pixelism as a major art movement described in the art books? Or will it be forgotten or thrown in with the video games in future descriptions?

What do you guys think?  ;D

Offline heyy13

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 151
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Considering the majority of talk around pixelart by non (and many practicing) pixel artists insist on lumping it with video games, retro, demo, dolling or scene art right now then i'm unconvinced we'll ever be able to legitimise it as a concurant, sometimes linked, yet seperate artistic movement. There have been efforts in the past to try to get it recognised as such but it's depressing how little progress has been made. I mean there's still debates about what constitutes pixel art. (Good example is what pixeljoint vs pixelation will accept) But then there's similar debates surrounding other 'movements' so i'm not sure that's an issue.

But yeah, it would be damn cool if Pixelart was legitimised as an artistic movement in the future. It would give me the fuzzies.

Offline HughSpectrum

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 283
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
I agree that the most well known examples will be referred to as retro art, and a lot of the more contemporary pixel works will probably be considered as deriving from computer art such as on Amiga and the like.

Offline heyy13

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 151
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Yup. Which is sad because that's such a flawed and limited argument. Most modern pixelart doesn't necessarily restrict itself to 'traditional' pallets like C64 or whatever and all of it should be considered on atleast equal standing with other forms of digital art. Personally i think it takes a complete buttload of skill to be able to properly use a limited pre-made pallet. But in the same way it takes differant yet no less skill to be able to carefully craft a pallet for a given piece from all the millions of available colours and forge that into art.

Limiting yourself does seem to be a theme in pixelart as a whole though. Wether throught colour, size, tool, perspective or something else. The self imposed limits are what make pixelart, pixelart.

I was going to say more but lost my train of thought... :D So i'll go sit in the corner.  :-[

Offline Helm

  • Moderator
  • 0110
  • *
  • Posts: 5159
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Asides-Bsides
The presence of skill doesn't make an art form historically significant. Pixel art is a largely irrelevant-to-the-art-world subset of what is now considered retro digital art and it won't be mentioned in any art history books in any length, it's too involved with video-games. And I'm not lamenting for that fact, I don't see why it's important to be legitimized in the art world.

Offline heyy13

  • 0010
  • *
  • Posts: 151
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
True, but i'd argue that pixelart does influence other genres of art (mostly digital but not necessarily, i mean flicking through the off-topic creativity thread shows that to me)/pop-culture, which is what makes something historically significant. Wether it's important for it to be legitimised is debatable, but I think it would be cool if it was. :P

Offline ptoing

  • 0101
  • ****
  • Posts: 3063
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • variegated quadrangle arranger
    • the_ptoing
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2191.htm
    • View Profile
    • Perpetually inactive website
pop culture as such is not what makes things historically relevant. Many of the art movements were not very popular culture as such, some of them were decidedly against the status quo of the culture at the time. The whole pop culture/meme self referencing bullshit we have going on atm is at best a sad excuse of a culture, where the ideas do not reach much further, than "lol, woot, nostalgia 8 bit". And something like this does not deserve much more than a sidenote imo (And still someone is gonna write a doctors degree on shit like memes one day I am sure)

I think one way for pixelart to get a bit more spotlight would be if someone who would establish himself as an fine artist or something like a really well renowned illustrator would incorporate pixelart into his work.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline Cure

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 565
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2621.htm
    • facebook.com/logantannerart
    • View Profile
Well to be fair someone with a doctorate (Richard Dawkins) coined 'meme' and pioneered the whole memetics thing, so a doctoral thesis in the field of memetics isn't that crazy. 'Meme' is a unit of cultural information, just as gene is a unit of genetic information, and isn't restricted purely to pictures of silly cats. Though the meaning of the term is certainly being restricted by its widespread use in internet culture.

I agree that one way to get art-world cred is to have an inside man, someone established within that sphere who could then introduce the medium into that environment. Some people are toying with the idea of videogames themselves being seen as art, and that line of thought could open a door for pixel art, perhaps. Right now the most popular examples of any pixel aesthetic are by far the 'retro' 8-bit stuff, which appeal to the Power Rangers-loving nostalgia crowd, and not necessarily to art critics and the ilk. The large majority of artists use pixel art to create videogames, or videogame-looking things like sprites and mockups (unless they're into emoticons or dolls, which are even less relevant to the art world), so there doesn't seem to be a big push in the direction of fine art legitimacy. Most art 'movements' have a focused ideology that has something it wants to express to the viewer, and the movements can span many different mediums, but share a common philosophy. What is it that 'pixelism' has to say?

Offline Kragagam

  • 0001
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
One would argue even though it is not a major part of the art scene it derived from one of the most successful industries at the moment. Maybe it'll get a short column at least? :P

I don't know feels a bit frustrating that it won't get the attention it deserves. To me it is just as important as abstract expressionism or any of those -ism's. Maybe I'm not biased  ::)

Offline Cure

  • 0011
  • **
  • Posts: 565
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • http://pixeljoint.com/p/2621.htm
    • facebook.com/logantannerart
    • View Profile
Abstract expressionism isn't a medium though, but a philosophy. Abstract expressionism could be expressed in pixel art if one so desired. It was important for the entire art world, because it switched the emphasis from product to process. It's a reaction against movements that predate it. I don't think pixel art is effecting the entire art world in any significant way, I don't think it's a philosophy, and I don't think it's a reaction against previous art movements (in itself, anyway).

So I don't see any reason why pixel art should sit alongside abstract expressionism or surrealism or any of the other movements. Because I think it's a medium and not a movement. There exists in the art world a sort of hierarchy of media, weaker than it once was perhaps but no less prevalent. Painting and sculpture are generally at the top, and the newer media (printmaking and photography, for example) have been catching up. It'd be nice to see pixel art rise in the list, so that it's no longer simply a novel or nostalgic mode of expression, but these things take time. Currently, as some have already noted, it's probably too tied to its practical application in videogames (and other digital media: forum smilies, etc.) to get its butt off the internet and into the gallery (or the art history books, anyway).
« Last Edit: July 18, 2011, 05:55:53 pm by Cure »