art movements have come and gone through the years, most of which have
been intentional, reflecting messages of the times. However, one
movement stands out, for me, above all others. This movement was, until
recently, not a movement at all. Simply, it was a representation of the
limitations of technology at the time. I am referring, of course, to
8-Bit arguably became famous with the introduction of third generation
games consoles of the early 80s, like the NES. Technology at the time
dictated the level of graphics that were possible in video games, and
this resulted in blocky, simplistic images, of limited colours, which
dawned 8-Bit revolution.
I was introduced to the genius of 8-Bit gaming in the late 80s, on a crisp
Christmas morning. My life was to change forever, when I excitedly
opened my shiny new NES. I hooked her up to my TV, and there came the
birth of an obsession that has done nothing but gather momentum since.
Sitting in my kitchen, with a blocky Mario, jumping across my screen,
collecting coins and squashing walking mushrooms, I was in love. The NES
promised the world, and boy, did it deliver. The NES produced games with
the perfect balance of simplicity and depth. Super Mario Bros became the
biggest selling game and remained so until 2009.
graphics were simple and limited. They were colourful, blocky and
sometimes crude, but that did nothing but add to their charm.
What 8-Bit achieved, purely by accident, was to spark a retrospective
obsession with some of the most iconic images in modern entertainment.
Today, people have realised that the 80s was an awesome decade in
entertainment and fashion. There is something so wonderfully garish and
charming about everything the 80s represented, that people cannot get
enough of it.
80s imagery, and 8-bit in particular, have become iconic, chic and dare I
say, cool. We see it on t-shirts, in art and in music. In short, 8-Bit
Why do people love 8-Bit imagery? Perhaps it reminds them of simpler
times, when the world was uncomplicated and could be summed up in
simple, colorful terms, where Italian Plumbers rescued their girlfriends
from the clutches of giant turtles in bondage gear. 8-Bit is nostalgia.
8-Bit is simple pleasure. Life is complicated and the world is a complex
network of daily challenges – it shouldn't be. The world should be
8-Bit, simple, colorful and fun. That is what 8-Bit does and that's why
the world continues to love it, thirty years after its creation.
So, 8-Bit was an unintentional art movement, and I am very grateful for
this wonderful accident.
Today, there are artists who recreate these simple times in paintings,
collages and sculptures--artists who have realized the power of 8-Bit
imagery and brought it into the 21st Century. Art these days has a habit
of trying to be too clever and arguable demonstrating its lack of ideas
and desperation to shock. This doesn't have to be the case. Art should
be fun and be simply something cool to look at, without pretence. That's
why I love 8-Bit art. It doesn't pretend to be deep, or profound, it's
just rad images that make people happy, just like they did thirty years
8-Bit has even found its way into Street Art, with
Invader, the Bansky of 8-Bit, anonymously decorating walls and
buildings across the globe with 8-Bit images.
||photo credit: Like Totally 80s
When I was developing as an artist, I realized that 8-Bit was my past,
present and future. There simply isn't a type of imagery I prefer, so my
art should represent what I love.
I produce 8-Bit mosaic paintings of people, from the worlds of music, film
and TV and influenced by our video gaming history. Simple, colorful and
nothing but cool to look at, just the way art should be.
|8-Bit art by Tibs: Labyrinth's
Jareth the Goblin King, Frankenstein's Monster, & Star Wars
8-Bit is great and is here to stay.
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